- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Colon Cleansing the Natural Way
One scary colon fact: Colon cancer is the second most deadly cancer. Another scary fact: The colon can be the source of many medical maladies—among them—a sluggish metabolism, defective digestive system that can give you stomachaches and constipation, poor immune system that make you susceptible to colds and flu. But that’s not all—bad breath, poor skin, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids are all possibilities. Astounding but true—the colon can be a blessing or a bane. You can determine that—a clean colon can restore metabolism, increase nutrient absorption, prevent digestive problems, and give you good skin and fresh breath.
So the solution to a healthier, more vitalized you is a clean colon. A healthy colon plays host to some 400 varieties of bacteria. In the good versus bad bacteria equation, the colon should have at least 85% good bacteria, otherwise called probiotics. Two common good ones are acidophilus and lactobacillus. However, chemicals and preservatives from food, environmental pollutants, unhealthy lifestyles (smoking and drinking) and certain medications can tip the scale the other way round. Bad bacteria proliferate and wreck medical havoc in your body. To restore colon health, you can clean it either by visiting a medical professional to clean your colon—usually colonic hydrotherapy, also called colon irrigation but if you prefer a safer, less intrusive method—opt for natural alternatives.
According to scientists at the University College Cork, Ireland; probiotics can prevent or even treat human diseases. The role of probiotics is especially important in colon health—probiotics can restore the ratio of good bacteria and boost the immune system. Certain foods offer probiotics and you can easily incorporate them into your diet. Look for yogurt, Kefir, Yakult Probiotic Drink, fermented soy (tempeh—commonly used in Asian dishes), Miso, fermented vegetables as in Kimchi and sauerkraut, onions, garlic and bananas. Include these foods in your diet.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices have a long history of use for medicinal purposes due to their anti-bacterial, antimicrobial properties. These bacteria-fighting properties lend themselves to good use when consumed—they fight bad bacteria and cleanse out toxins. If you’re looking for herbs and spices to help you keep your colon clean, it is easy to use them in your food preparation. Common examples include ginger, cayenne pepper, fennel, garlic, onion and the aloe leaf. A star performer is Psyllium, a plant high in a fiber called mucilage, which can absorb water and trigger contractions of the colon, making it easier to eliminate waste. Psyllium is a common ingredient in high fiber cereal and it can be used as tea or supplements. Another worthwhile herb is Cascara Sagrada, an ancient Native American remedy. Cascara Sagrada contains anthraquinones, a natural laxative and it also works to tone the muscle tone of colon.
If you want to spring clean your colon, what better way than to include fiber in your diet. Fiber acts like brooms, sweeping the colon clean of toxins and pathogens. According to Mayo Clinic, a high fiber diet can also lower risks of hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and the development of small pouches in your colon, otherwise called diverticular disease.
Include high-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, vegetables such as celery, chard, broccoli, carrots, spinach and arugula. Vegetable soup is a great way to include a variety of vegetables, even legumes.
Why fast, since it is not exactly a fun thing to do? Holistic experts believe that fasting gives your body a chance to rest from performing heavy digestive duties, giving the body a chance to eliminate toxins and generate new cells. There are various ways to go about this: full fast (only water), liquid fast (juice and soup or only just juice) or abstinence from stimulants or certain groups of foods. Gabriel Cousens, M.D., the author of Conscious Eating advocates fasting, “Today’s world is unbelievably toxic, and fasting is the most profound way to detoxify the body.”
Juice fast is often recommended over a total fast (just water). Cousens further adds, “Juice fasting has the advantage of adding vital minerals and nutrients, which lend added energy for complementary activities such as yoga, meditation and walking.”
Juice a variety of organic fruits and vegetables and drink it during the duration of the fast. Fruits are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. Certain vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, carrots, spinach and arugula are high in fiber and make good juice partners with fruits.
Not a lovely word if you love the couch, like I do. But exercise is another crucial factor in this whole colon cleansing thing. Why? During exercise, the lymphatic system is being flushed and the cells are flooded with health-giving oxygen. Consider walking, aerobics, stretching or any kind of light exercise during this cleansing period.
So, if you’re ready to have a clean colon and a clean slate of health, consider the above options. As always, consult your physician before going on a fast.