Now that spring cleaning time is here, consider taking a scrub brush to what's inside you as well as what's around you. Today's subject is your colon, also known as your large intestine (or large bowel). This is the locale where the food you have consumed, and which has been digested in your small intestine, is further broken down by bacteria (to include the healthy removal of moisture) in preparation for leaving your body.
The Gut Is Where It's AtYou might have heard this before, but your gut – and your colon is a central part – is the foundation of a healthy body, per mindbodygreen.com. That is, a huge factor in how you feel and how well you function day to day is determined by your gut, where digestive issues and food sensitivities can affect your health. This includes leaving you susceptible to every virus or infection that comes your say. This is where stuffing stuff into your mouth indiscriminately – without regard to which nutrients and vitamins you are skimping on or what toxins you might be ingesting – can result in a sluggish digestive system in need of a major cleansing, an act that when left to your body's own devices can often make your life miserable. Think stomach flu, constipation, or an ugly bout with diarrhea. Got your attention now?
Fuel Yourself with the Proper FoodsEither that or fool yourself with the improper foods. A healthy diet is one of the keys to colon health In order for your colon to be healthy, you need to put the right foods in, says Cleveland Clinic colorectal surgeon Dr. Michael Valente, quoted at Reader's Digest. Not only does the colon draw water out of your digested food to send back out and hydrate your body, it also stores and then aids in ridding your body of waste. In other words, let's keep it (the colon) clean, right?
8 Foods That Do Well in Cleansing Your Colon
- Whole grains. Go for the ones that have been minimally processed, such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats, per Reader's Digest. These are loaded with fiber, which are great for cleaning the colon. Think fiber all the time – nutritional supplements can be a big help in this area.
- Cayenne. This spice not only brings the heat for your meals, it's also useful in loosening mucus accumulation in your body and boosting your immune system. Cayenne can also stave off the symptoms of indigestion.
- Dark, leafy greens. These include spinach, kale, and chard. All contain high levels the kinds of minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants that help protect the body – to include your gut – from toxins. They are best served cooked to make them more easily digested.
- Oatmeal. This popular breakfast food not only contains a large amount of fiber, it's also loaded with calcium and vitamin D – all of which are suitable for keeping your digestive system humming while avoiding constipation, per healthline.com. Keep in mind, though, that foods rich in fiber and calcium can induce various types of gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea or bloating. So, take it slow when adding this type of food to your diet.
- Psyllium husk. A little of this potent seed goes a long way in cleansing the colon, per mindbodygreen.com. In other words, go easy on them when introducing them to your diet. Chia seeds also work well in this regard.
- Prebiotics. Apples, yams, sweet potatoes, bananas, and almonds are among the foods rich in prebiotics, which are fibers that gut microbes feed on, per mindbodygreen.com, even enjoying a nice cup of green tea with probiotics is an option too. Probiotics foods, which are fermented, are loaded with beneficial bacteria and can also help in the colon cleansing.
- Avocados. This great-tasting source of guacamole can benefit you both in terms of digestion and detoxification. Because avocados are abundant in both soluble and insoluble fibers and healthy fats, they can promote healthy bowel movements and cleanse the colon. Per naturalon.com, the soluble fiber part absorbs water and binds with other substances in the colon to help keep things moving along. Avocados monounsaturated fats studies show reduces the risk of heart disease too.
- Lentils. This anti-inflammatory food is also rich in fiber, properties which also describe beans and legumes – all of which are adept at cleansing the colon, per naturalon.com.