Colon cleansing is an important component to your overall health. The reason is that over time, your colon (large intestine) can become “clogged” due to poor food choices and chronic stress imposed upon the digestive organs. Eventually the intestines will fail to function properly, resulting in constipation, impaired nutrient absorption, and toxic build up in the body.
Constipation is a big problem in North America. Having worked with thousands of individuals who believe that passing a bowel movement once every few days is normal, it should be remembered that 2-3 bowel movements per day is considered healthy.
Constipation (and poor intestinal health) arises from years of abusing your digestive system through poor food choices and not listening to your body when it needs to eliminate. Chronic intake of “non-foods” that irritate your digestive and intestinal system such as coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, and other processed foods eventually causes them to function at a sub-optimal level.
If constipation persists, then the walls of the intestines can be impacted with undigested foods and fecal matter, leading to impaired nutrient absorption and auto-intoxication. Auto-intoxication is a frightening, yet very common, problem that comes about because the body is unable to eliminate its own waste. As a result, toxins (from fecal matter) are released back into the body, imposing further toxic stress on many bodily systems including the main organs of detoxification – the liver and kidneys!
So the need to cleanse your intestines should now seem a bit more obvious. By cleansing your colon you will help restore their proper function, improve your bowel movement, and minimize the toxic load in your body. As a result, your health will drastically improve.
Ideally, you should cleanse your colon (and the rest of their body) at least once per year. There are many supplements on the market that promote intestinal cleansing; however, unless you address the cause of the problem – your dietary choices, then you are fighting a losing battle.
The most powerful and long term solution to colon cleansing is through the foods you eat.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways to cleanse your intestines (and improve their function) naturally:
1. Remove the irritating foods (coffee, alcohol, refined sugar, and processed foods) as they cause inflammation in the colon and hinder proper nutrient absorption.
2. Drink plenty of water. Drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces each day. You can also further the cleansing process by enjoying detoxifying herbal teas such as dandelion root, nettle, and peppermint. Dandelion root and nettle teas are great detoxifiers of the liver – the main detox organ that works closely with the intestines to eliminate waste – and peppermint tea is known for its ability to improve digestion and soothe the digestive/intestinal tract.
3. Eat more fiber. The goal is to hit 35 grams of fiber per day. But really, are you going to count? Probably not. Therefore, simply eating more whole foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds) will greatly assist you. The goal is to get both soluble and insoluble fiber. Ground flaxseeds are a great source of balanced fiber and a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Get more essential fatty acids (omega-3s). They will provide the lubrication required to allow your colon to pass along the waste smoothly and effortlessly and reduce any inflammation caused by stressing foods. Great sources include flaxseed, fish, and hempseed oils.
5. The most important supplement for your intestines is a good probiotic (ie. good bacteria). Probiotics are critical to helping restore the normal bacterial balance in the colon. In so doing, they assist in digestion, improve your bowel movements, and help keep nasty colon-damaging yeasts at bay.
6. Another beneficial tool to cleansing your intestines is exercise. Regular exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, is a great way to stimulate intestinal motility and increase your body’s sweat response. Since sweating is another avenue through which the body detoxifies, any form of exercise that causes you to sweat will be beneficial at reducing the toxic load in your body.
By Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN