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What's Good for Your Heart Is Good for Your Colon

You know it’s important to take good care of your heart. After all, a healthy heart is at the very core of good health and well-being. But did you know that when you take care of your heart, you’re taking care of your colon too? Several lifestyle changes that are recommended to keep your ticker in tip-top shape are also beneficial for your colon! Here are some healthy habits you can adopt to lower your risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being obese places you at a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and diabetes. It also increases your risk of developing colon cancer and dying from it. An easy way to determine your healthy weight range is by calculating your BMI. A normal BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30.0 and above is considered obese.

Limit Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, high triglycerides and heart failure. It also greatly increases your risk of colon cancer. Those who drink 1 to 3 alcoholic beverages a day increase their risk of colon cancer by 21 percent. For those who consume four or more beverages a day, their risk is increased by 52 percent. To maintain a healthy heart and colon, men should limit themselves to two drinks per day, and women should limit themselves to one.

Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes can lead to a multitude of health problems, including heart disease and several cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease, twice as likely to suffer a stroke, and at much greater risk to suffer a heart attack. Smokers are also at increased risk for colon cancer and death from colon cancer. Luckily, the body begins healing itself almost as soon as you quit smoking. The sooner you quit, the better!

Occasionally Take Aspirin

Doctors sometimes prescribe an aspirin regimen to help prevent heart attacks and coronary artery disease in high risk patients. But nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, have been shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer as well. As with any medication, you should always consult your doctor before beginning an aspirin regimen. Routine use can lead to other health problems, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, so a doctor’s supervision is crucial.

Exercise Regularly

Without a doubt, physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your body. Exercise increases muscle strength, helps preserve bone density, lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduces your risk of some cancers. In fact, some studies have shown that regular exercise reduces your risk of colon cancer by 25 percent. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week can make a huge difference in your overall health (Source: Health.com).

Heart disease remains the number one killer of American men and women, while colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. Luckily, you can reduce your risk both by making these simple lifestyle changes! It may be challenging at first, but it won’t be long before these healthier habits become second nature to you. You can take great encouragement in knowing that your body is reaping twice the reward!