Over the past few years, there has been a surge of studies regarding the significance of gut health and its role in lifelong wellness. More and more physicians and wellness experts are now passionately touting the importance of the gut microbiome and the health of the colon, in particular. Gotta keep things moving!
Why is Colon Health So Important?
The colon (also known as the large intestine) plays a critical role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste removal. It’s also packed with more than 100 trillion microorganisms that selectively colonize the gut and participate in the maintenance and promotion of a healthy digestive system and a well-balanced immune system.
Your colon absorbs the nutrients from your food by squeezing the water out and leaving behind a combination of indigestible fiber, bacteria and other microorganisms that then pass through during a bowel movement. A clean, healthy colon efficiently eliminates opportunistic microbes, keeping your immune system supported and your digestive health in top condition.
However, if you aren’t regular with your bowel movements or if you have digestive issues, this system begins to malfunction. The rise in toxins from our modern diet and lifestyle (including the pharmaceuticals in our food and water supply) build up in the colon and get reabsorbed, clogging and polluting the entire system.
Over time, our colons get tired from doing so much work! If we want to keep our health as we age, we need to take care of our intestinal system. The colon sure does love a spring cleaning, but do we really have to resort to a long list of procedures to do so?
Colon Cleansing: Accessories Not Necessary
When it comes to colon health, there are a variety of ways to achieve a clean colon. From hydrotherapy to coffee enemas, you can now find complicated apparatuses and expensive spas offering colon cleanses of all sorts. Flushing out the bowels is quite trendy these days! Luckily, as with many of the wondrous processes of the human body, you don’t need any rubber tubing to make your way towards a cleaner colon. While colon hydrotherapy and colonics definitely do have their place, your body has a natural cleansing system.... all you have to do is take care of it!
So before you pull out your enema bag, here are 5 foods to focus on for a naturally clean colon:
1. Avocados - Rich in vitamin C, avocados are a great option for both digestion and detoxification when it comes to daily colon health and maintenance. Avocados are unique in that they have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not absorb water, thus it passes through the digestive system as is. This promotes healthy bowel movements and keeps the colon clean.
2. Apples - High in fiber and a powerful force to be reckoned with when it comes regularity and digestive health, apples also contain quercetin, a cancer-fighting flavonoid. Apples and apple cider vinegar are also rich in pectin (a gel-like soluble fiber) which can flush out toxins from the colon and help remove heavy metals from the body.
3. Dark Greens - Leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll and are loaded with antioxidants that can have a powerful detoxifying effect on both the colon and the liver. Chlorophyllic greens work at the molecular level to improve mucosal lining of the GI tract so it can soothe your stomach, trap the bad guys, and keep your system running optimally. Some excellent greens to start with are spirulina, spinach, collard greens, and swiss chard.
4. Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods - In the world of your gut microbiome, bacteria rules the roost. The state of your gut flora can directly influence the state of your colon (and immune system), so building strong probiotic colonies within your gut is your body’s best method of daily defense. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut can replenish the good bacteria within your gut. These beneficial bacteria crowd out the less beneficial bacteria while providing energy to the cells of the colon, synthesizing vitamins from your food, and stimulating the immune system.
Unfortunately, our gut flora is damaged every day due to dietary choices, environmental factors and the overuse of antibiotics in our food and medical supply. That’s why it’s so important to supplement with an effective probiotic like Prescript-Assist and eat plenty of prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods.
Prebiotics feed the natural probiotics in our body; they are kind of like the fertilizer for a garden. Some prebiotic foods you can start with are dandelion greens, garlic, leek and onion (all raw), as well as bananas and whole grains. Steel-cut oats are a good choice, as they are the less refined oat variety.
5. Water - Yes, all natural H20! It’s one of the most important things we can consume to immediately improve our current state of health. A healthy body is a hydrated body and that goes for the colon, too! When we don't drink enough water, irregular bowel movements can build up and create major issues, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. You can even add lemon or pink himalayan sea salt to help with detoxification.
No matter what foods you eat (or types of cleanses you pursue), the state of your gut flora can determine whether or not even the healthiest food is absorbed by the body. Your gut microbiome and the vast network of microorganisms that comprise it are truly the keeper of the keys when it comes to how your food affects your body and mind. So keep that colon clean!