Caring For Your Digestive Tract and Preventing Disease

yogurt with berriesLifestyle choices and the foods you eat directly impact your digestive health. By adopting a healthier approach, you’ll reduce your risk for gastrointestinal cancers. For people in the midst of cancer care, a healthy lifestyle supports recovery and eases the journey by increasing energy and positivity.

Follow these 10 steps to promote good GI health:

  1. Drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system flowing.
  2. Exercise regularly to speed up digestion and stimulate muscles in the GI tract.
  3. Skip bad habits such as smoking, excessive caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Eat a diet rich in insoluble and soluble fiber for better digestion and disease prevention.
  5. Eat mindfully on a regular schedule and slowly to properly digest nutrients.
  6. Limit high-fat foods, which slow down digestion and promote constipation.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stomach acid and esophagus discomfort.
  8. Try probiotics such as low-fat yogurt or doctor-recommended supplements.
  9. Monitor the toilet for changes in bowel movements.
  10. De-stress with meditation, talk therapy, yoga and other techniques.

Screenings for Early Detection

Routine screenings ensure cancers are caught early, when treatment is most effective. Don’t forget to schedule your colonoscopy to screen for abnormalities in the colon and rectum.

What about Genetics?

If your family has a history of gastrointestinal cancer, consult with a genetic counselor to determine your risk factors and what you can do to prevent cancer. At Monmouth, our Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry Program offers a multispecialty team approach to the assessment of family risk, genetic counseling and testing, and the treatment of polyps and cancer. The registry’s main role is to educate high-risk patients with a family history of colorectal cancer about the disease, placing an emphasis on the importance of lifelong surveillance through appropriate testing. Patients enrolled in the registry remain under the care of their referring physicians.