author/s: Dr Javier Nebreda Duran


How to look after our digestive system

Our digestive system is a complex, extremely well fitted machine that needs to be cared for. Despite its complexity, our digestive system requires a certain routine to function better. This means to eat properly and at the same time each day, to follow a balanced diet, to go to the toilet at regular times and on a daily basis, etc.

In general, the more we stick to a routine, the better off our digestive system will function. Other factors that help in their health are:

    1. Diet. The ideal diet is a balanced, Mediterranean style diet. A low fat diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits improved the functioning of the intestine and prevents the formation and growth of digestive tumours such as colon cancer.

    2. Physical exercise. Moderate physical exercise improves intestinal function, favouring digestion and emptying of the bowels, preventing in this way the development of functional pathologies (irritable intestine syndrome, etc.) and organic functions (inflammatory disease, tumours, etc.).

    3. Quit smoking. Tobacco has an influence on the formation of many tipes of cancer. It also plays a role in the development of cancer of the oesophagus, stomach or colon. For example, in cancer of the colon, men who are smokers have a 34% more possibility to develop this type of cancer and smoker females a 43%.

    4. Drink alcohol with moderation.


What is the most appropriate diet I should follow to prevent colorectal cancer?

You should:

    1. Reduce the daily intake of animal fats, favouring the intake of unsaturated fats such as olive oil or fish. · Include fruits and vegetables in daily meals.

    2. Keep alcohol intake moderate (1 litre of wine per week).

    3. Limit as much as you can the intake of foods conserved in salt or smoked foods.


What are the recommendations concerning life style?

    1. Exercise regularly, because exercising helps prevent the development of colorectal cancer. Avoid tobacco because it predisposes to develop colorectal cancer.

    2. This is just another noxious effect that this drug has on health.

    3. Avoid excess body weight and obesity.