The colon is the most important organ in the digestive system, therefore, it is essential to take care of our diet to avoid conditions such as Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis or gastroenteritis.

These are the 5 most harmful foods for the colon

Food has a direct impact on the health of the colon. So much so that at least 47% of colorectal cancers in Spain are related to diet, among other factors such as lack of physical exercise and high body weight, according to data from the American Institute for Cancer Research collected in the book Diet and cancer: what your diet can and cannot do, written by dietitian-nutritionist Julio Basulto and Juanjo Cáceres.

The colon is an organ that regulates a function as important as bowel movements. Specific, is responsible for extracting the water from the stool to make them compact and avoid fluid loss. Afterwards, the rectum functions as a storage reservoir for excreta and prevents fecal incontinence from occurring, a dysfunction that affects some four million people in Spain.

What you consume and how often will largely determine good or bad health of the large intestine. In fact, some studies suggest that up to 70% of cases could be avoided with a balanced diet and a lifestyle that includes physical exercise, in combination with early diagnosis, preventive treatment and follow-up.

In this sense, Juan Manuel Sánchez-Migallón, dietician-nutritionist and spokesperson for the Official College of Dietitians-Nutritionists of Catalonia, explains that nor there are foods that cause more damage to the colon than others, but eating patterns that, when following them during a period of our life, are associated with a greater frequency of appearance of diseases that affect or are located in the intestine.

In addition, people who are suffering from some type of disease in the colon usually follow a diet other than the healthy one recommended to the general population. This is what the expert indicates, because in conditions such as Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, or gastroenteritis, it is recommended to follow a diet with low fiber content, “while the dietary recommendation, in relation to fiber, for the healthy population is to prioritize whole foods over refined ones ”.

Processed meat

However, there is real concern about the effect of processed meats on the body. This type of food goes through a Transformation proccess with different techniques to improve the flavor or to preserve it for a longer time, as in the case of sausages such as chorizo, frankfurters or precooked such as creams, soups or prepared meats.

Transformations that, as pointed out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – an independent agency linked to the World Health Organization (WHO) -, have made these foods enter the black list: that of carcinogenic products. As the WHO pointed out in a report in 2015, the consumption of 50 grams of processed meat increases the chances of suffering from colon or stomach cancer by 18%, which could translate into some 34,000 deaths a year worldwide.

Red meat

This type of meat has a high content of myoglobin, a pigment that is very rich in iron. It is a food that can be beef -veal, cow, ox-, game -such as deer, venison, wild boar-, or viscera -liver, kidneys-, and it has a high percentage of fats -also saturated-, therefore that its habitual consumption is not very advisable. Ideally, the two weekly servings should not be exceeded.

And it is that, as it collects Diet and cancer: what your diet can and cannot do, the high consumption of red meat can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer, among other diseases.

As pointed out by Sánchez-Migallón, lhe exact causes of conditions like colorectal cancer are unknown in most cases, but “there are risk factors that predispose to its appearance: diet, obesity, alcohol and tobacco consumption, previous colorectal cancer, genetic factors and predisposing diseases ”.

Fried and fast food

The consumption of fried foods and fast food is not advisable, especially for people who suffer from any dysfunction or pathology in the colon. They are products with a high fat content that contain harmful substances generated during its production, such as acrylamide or products derived from the oxidation and thermal degradation of fats. This is the case of foods such as french fries, hamburgers or pizza, although, again, it all depends on the frequency of consumption.

In Spain, between 10% and 15% of people suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a functional disorder that can cause bloating, abdominal discomfort or changes in bowel movements. For these people, the consumption of these and other foods such as those mentioned above can cause gas and discomfort, as pointed out by Dr. Acensión Marcos, a member of the board of directors of the Spanish Nutrition Society.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners

These types of products are not beneficial to health. Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners can lead to digestive problems, such as gases, or contribute to the appearance of other types of problems such as obesity, a risk factor for diseases such as colon cancer.

The desserts or sodas are high in refined sugar, and they are products in which researchers have found a direct link between their consumption and the appearance of dysfunctions or pathologies in the large intestine.

ultra-processed foods

According to NOVA, a food classification system based on its degree of processing, an ultra-processed is “one that is made from processed ingredients and does not contain fresh ingredients or ingredients that can be identified in their final presentation.” And they are composed mostly of starch, sugars, oils or salt, in addition to a wide variety of industrial additives such as preservatives, stabilizers and emulsifiers, among others.

With these foods it must be taken into account that the higher the degree of processing, the less satiety they generate and, therefore, they produce a greater glycemic response, as concluded by research published in Food and Function. Among them are refined cereals such as white bread, pastries, sugary dairy products such as smoothies or yogurts and snacks such as toasted nuts, as well as others mentioned above, such as pizzas, sweets or processed meats.

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