- The excesses of modern life can leave you feeling bloated and in need of a natural colon cleanse, but is it possible to detox simply by changing your diet?
- We’ve done the research to find the best foods to cleanse your colon.
Your colon is an incredible organ whose function is to remove dietary toxins from your body. But with colon cancer on the rise among young people, our modern lifestyle may be contributing to poor colon health.
Let's learn about the function of the colon
Otherwise known as the large intestine, your colon is an essential part of your digestive system. As you chew your food, enzymes in your saliva help to break it into smaller pieces that fit into your esophagus. Muscular action propels the food into your stomach where your stomach acid further breaks down the food, and strong muscles churn it into liquid. Food moves into the small intestine where your blood picks up nutrients and vitamins and carries them to other parts of your body. Anything leftover moves into your colon, where water is absorbed from it. Whatever is left moves to your rectum for release when you next have a bowel motion.
The action in your colon, known as peristalsis, can take around 36 hours. But some experts believe that your colon can become clogged up and that’s where a colon cleanse comes in.
How to look after your colon
Before you consider invasive colon cleansing regimes, there are some simple lifestyle modifications you can make to improve the health of your colon and lower your cancer risk:
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water to avoid constipation
- Limit alcohol. Excess alcohol has a toxic effect on the colon
- Exercise. Moving your body is essential for regular bowel movements
- Limit red meat. Red meat consumption, especially processed meat, is linked to colon cancer
- Eat vegetables. A high fiber diet is essential to keep your digestive system healthy
How do you know when your colon needs cleansing?
When considering a colon cleanse, one of the essential things to bear in mind is to keep it as simple and as natural as possible. Sometimes, you may need more of a boost, but if you have time, try modifying your diet before trying something drastic as a colonic irrigation. But how will you know when it’s time to make a change? You may suffer one or more of the following:
- Brain fog
- Lack of energy
- Lack of appetite
- Bad breath
- Sleep problems
- Aching muscles
The best foods for colon cleansing
Food can be a natural colon cleanser. Use food as your medicine and try to follow a healthy diet before you get any negative symptoms. That way colon cleansing won’t be necessary. But if you’re having trouble having bowel movements and your health is suffering, look to some healthy foods to get you feeling your best again. It’s especially important to add fiber to your diet, as fiber adds bulk to your stools, helps maintain regular bowel movements, and is essential for your colon health.
Whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, barley, and brown rice are some of the best sources of dietary fiber. What’s more, they contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which may well play a role in your digestive tract health.
Leafy greens, including cabbage and kale contain high levels of fiber, which helps to keep your colon clear. They should be included in any healthy diet. On top of that, broccoli and spinach are rich in antioxidants, which can also promote bowel health.
Aside from the large amounts of fiber and other nutrients found in their peel, apples also contain pectin , which helps to strengthen your colon lining and remove toxins. Other fruits with high levels of pectin include pears, oranges, and lemons.
Consuming fiber-rich chia seeds is a simple way to improve your colon health. Simply mix a tablespoon of chia seeds with six tablespoons of water and leave them for five minutes. Once the seeds have swollen up, add them to smoothies, cereals, or salads.
Rich in potassium which helps keep your gut healthy, avocados are some of the most delicious foods to consume to cleanse your digestive tract.
Beans are naturally high in phytochemicals and antioxidants, and they should be a staple in any meat-free diet since they are filling, nutritious, and full of protein. They may help prevent colon cancer, with one study linking high levels of dried bean consumption to a decreased risk of colon problems.
Some studies show a link between garlic intake and colorectal cancer. Try grating it and adding it to soups and stews, or combine it with olive oil and vinegar for a delicious salad dressing.
Add it to your water to help you stay hydrated. Lemons contain high levels of polyphenols which may treat digestion issues, and could actually have anti-aging effects on your intestines.
Consuming plenty of fiber is a sure-fire way to keep your colon healthy. Some foods are better than others when it comes to increasing fiber in your diet. Consider upping your intake of beans, greens, whole grains, and fresh fruit to protect your colon, but don’t forget water. Stay hydrated and keep your movements regular by drinking enough water daily. Don’t forget, though — it’s not possible to improve your digestive health by increasing consumption alone: Remember to limit your intake of red meat and processed foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.