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Fiber for Colon Health

Written by Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, originally published April 8, 2019 Fiber is a necessary part of healthy digestion. While many supplements exist on market, the best way to get your daily fiber intake is through a healthy and well-balanced diet containing fiber-rich foods and consumption of adequate water to keep your bowels regular. Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber Are you confused about soluble and insoluble fiber and which you should add to your diet? This is a common question and there’s a simple explanation: In basic terms, SOLUBLE fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel (think oatmeal), helping slow digestion. INSOLUBLE fiber doesn’t dissolve in water (brown rice, whole wheat and bran, nuts) – it increases the bulkiness of stool passing through and makes it easier to pass. Soluble fiber reduces your body’s absorption of cholesterol and sugars and can help reduce bad cholesterol and diabetes. By slowing digestion, it can also help diarrhea, keep you full longer and even help you lose weight. Solublefiber can also increase gas production. Insoluble fibers help with constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissure and diverticulosis. Most foods contain both types but may be higher in one vs. the other. In general, a 25-35 gram daily fiber diet is recommended – 6 grams should be insoluble fiber. Most fiber supplements are highest in soluble fiber, including Psyllium which is 70% soluble. Read the labels. This is also why most supplements produce gassiness. On the other hand, chia and flax seed contain mainly insoluble fiber. Here are some tips to help you incorporate fiber into your daily diet: A well-balanced diet with both kinds of fibers...

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Written by Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, originally published March 26, 2019 Colonoscopy is a procedure where your doctor passes a small tube with a camera at it’s tip into your colon to screen for colorectal cancer or for diagnostic purposes if you’re having symptoms. The preparation requires you to empty the colon completely so your doctor can see the inner lining of the colon during the exam. Otherwise, residue in the colon may obscure your doctor’s view of the colon and rectum during the exam. Prior to the procedure your doctor will provide detailed colonoscopy preparation instructions. These instructions typically include one or more of the following: Follow a special diet. Three or four days before your colonoscopy your doctormay request you to stick to a diet of clean foods. These foods include seedless fruits, lean meats, eggs, white bread and pasta to minimize the amount of residue in the colon. The day before your colonoscopy your doctor may ask you to refrain from eating any solid foods and to stick to a clear liquid only This liquid diet begins in the morning and continues all day into the evening. You may drink liquids like coffee (without cream), tea, water, juices (without pulp), and electrolyte beverages (e.g. Gatoradeâ, Poweraidâ, Pedialyteâ) at this time. Clear broth and jello are also allowed. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t see through it, you can’t drink it! After midnight, you are generally asked to stop drinking or eating anything until after your procedure the following day. The morning of your colonoscopy. You may brush your teeth. However, unless specifically instructed by your...

What You Need to Know About Lynch Syndrome

Written by Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, originally published March 22, 2019 Lynch syndrome (aka hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) is the most common hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. If colorectal cancer genes run in your family, you or your children, siblings and parents may all be at high risk for developing colorectal and various associated cancers. So, should you talk to your health care provider about genetic testing for Lynch? What is Hereditary Colon Cancer? Globally, one out of 6 deaths are caused by cancer. Some cancers are hereditary, others related to lifestyle (i.e. tobacco), and many we don’t know the cause of. Some are inevitable, while others are potentially preventable. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the US in men and women combined and is rising in younger patients with many being diagnosed long before they reach cancer screening age. But for most patients, colorectal cancer is preventable through colorectal cancer screening (colonoscopy) – and globally the incidence of colorectal cancer is actually decreasing due to colorectal cancer screening protocols. The majority of colorectal cancers are sporadic – meaning they occur in people who have no family history of colorectal cancer – while 5% are due to an inherited cancer syndrome that is passed down generation to generation through genes. You may have Lynch if you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and: You are younger than 50 years You have personally been diagnosed with 2 colorectal cancers, or colorectal cancer and uterine, ovarian, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, kidney, ureter, bile duct, or brain cancer You have a first degree relative (parent, sibling, child) diagnosed at age...

Coffee’s Effects on Cancer – Benefit or Risk?

There has been lots of controversy lately on the health benefits and risks of coffee drinking. There are many studies that have shown a link between coffee drinking and good health, including reduced risk of cancers (including colon cancer), gout, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. There has also recently been recent controversy regarding Acrylamide in coffee. This is a cancer-causing chemical found in very small amounts in coffee. It forms during the roasting process and is virtually unavoidable. It also exists in many other foods we eat every day, such as bread, and is even in many of the personal care products we use. In March of 2018, a California judge ruled under Prop65 to have coffee sellers label their coffee with a cancer warning. The legislation is on hold pending coffee companies being asked to provide counter statements. Why I’m Not Concerned About Acrylamide in Coffee There’s plenty of evidence that coffee does not cause cancer and is even protective Coffee has been roasted and enjoyed for hundreds of years The levels of acrylamide shown to cause problems (in animal studies) are thousands of times higher than what the average person consumes Humans metabolize the chemical differently from animals, and we may be exposed to lower amounts. So, for now, coffee lovers drink up! The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) states 3-5 cups of coffee each day can be included in a healthy lifestyle. Now, if you’re not a coffee lover, don’t go crazy trying to drink more! We don’t really know that these health associations are actually caused by coffee or other factors. While...
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