This article is shared with permission from our friends at dietoflife.com.
The colon (also known as the large intestine) is the final stop in the food’s journey through the digestive tract. The colon absorbs fluid from indigestible food residue and produces solid waste for elimination.
But this organ does much more than just act as your body’s garbage shoot. The colon is also important for fluid, electrolytes (salts) and fatty-acid absorption. These can be important for systemic health. The human gastrointestinal tract house constitutes about seventy percent of the immune system that protects us and keeps us healthy.
Our gut flora is a guardian of our health.
Gut flora refers to the number of beneficial bacteria that the colon holds. These bacteria aid digestion, manufacture nutrients, protect against food-borne pathogens, and even appear to play a role in regulating your body weight.
Tips for Getting and Keeping a Healthy Colon
Eat more fiber
Think of it as a broom that sweeps away everything in your digestive system — fiber is the lone nutrient that isn’t digested and helps the bowels contract. In short, more fiber = an emptier colon.
Flax seeds and oats are super-sources of fiber — both the soluble and the insoluble kind. Fruits (namely strawberries and apples), veggies, whole grains, and beans are good sources too, though.
Aim for about 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. You’ll need to up your fruit and veggie intake significantly (5 servings a day) and pack on the whole grains (coming in at 6), but the good news is those things are all delicious, healthy, and help with weight loss, too.
Drink a lot of water
Nice, refreshing, plain water will make everything in your body function better. Instead of drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water, look at the color of your urine. If it is pale yellow or near-clear you’re doing a great job; if it’s darker than that, start drinking more!
Alcohol and caffeinated beverages don’t count to your overall liquid intake — they just dehydrate you. For this and other reasons (empty calories, etc.), it’s just best to avoid them.
Drinking more can help alleviate constipation, too. Liquids are known to bulk up stools and, obviously, add fluid to your colon, flushing everything out.
Consume more fermented foods
Believe it or not, there are bacteria in fermented foods that are very, very good for you and your colon. Without them, toxins don’t degrade, and disease-causing micro-organisms can set up house in your digestive system. Basically, they give the cells in your colon the energy to do their job.
Yogurt, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut are four examples of fermented foods. Kefir and kombucha tea provide the good stuff through drink, too.
Go green. With your diet, at least. Not only does chlorophyll give plants their green color, but it cleanses and soothes tissue in the digestive tract as well. In addition to providing fiber, greens can repair your intestines, too!
Alfalfa, wheatgrass, brussel sprouts, spinach, peas, and barley grass are all good sources of chlorophyll.
When you’re trying to keep your colon healthy, exercise is a huge part of the equation. By increasing blood flow and circulation through exercise, your colon (and entire gastrointestinal system) gets more oxygen. This may help ward off colon cancer and other diseases. Your fitness routine doesn’t need to be extreme. Stretching, doing yoga or walking for 10-15 minutes a day is sufficient to help keep your colon healthy.
Although a colonoscopy is by no means a fun experience, it’s essential in the prevention and early detection of colon cancer. For individuals over age 50, a colonoscopy is a necessary step in maintaining colon health. Also, ask your doctor about a colonoscopy if you are experiencing on-going diarrhea or constipation, as these can be signs of colon and intestinal problems. A colonoscopy can aid in proper diagnosis of your condition.
The recipe below is made with ingredients that are rich in fiber and other nutrients that will keep your colon feeling fresh.
Apples are a great starting base. They’re full of soluble fiber that helps keep you feeling fuller longer and helps with loose stools. Apples also contain insoluble fiber that adds bulk in stool and relieves constipation to keep things moving (which is what you want in a cleanse).
Why flax seeds?
They’re full of amazing fiber which helps delay gastric emptying and improves intestinal absorption of nutrients. They help us pass our food and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Flax also contains compounds that provide antioxidant protection. As well as helping your colon, the flax in this recipe will be killing two birds with one stone by protecting your heart and preventing cardiovascular diseases due to the heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are full of fiber that contributes to a healthy digestive tract. They’re full of nutrients and vitamins that your body will absorb while cleansing away the toxins. They also happen to keep you fuller longer, which helps with weight loss. Much like flax seeds, chia seeds are full of Omega-3 fatty acids that keep your heart pumping strong.
The health benefits of honey are too numerous to be named, but here are some of the most important ones.
Honey can be a powerful immune system booster. Its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve your digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease.
Honey is a great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies. It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar.
It also possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumor properties.
Apple-Honey Colon Cleanse Drink
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: None
1 tsp raw honey (for sweetness)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds (ground is easier to digest than whole)
1 cup water
Blend all ingredients together except the chia.
Pour contents of blender into preferred drinking class and stir in the chia.
Keep stirring the drink until the chia seeds have started expanding (approx. 5 minutes).
Drink and enjoy.