Colon cleansing may not be a popular subject of discussion in some social circles, but that doesn’t mean its practice should be dismissed or ignored. Of course, one may wonder why it should become necessary to purge the plumbing at all when the body has been performing this activity on its own for years. The answer to that question is to eliminate toxins, which can build up from chronic exposure to synthetic chemicals, food additives, and environmental pollutants. While there are numerous colonics on the market to provide overnight irrigation, a fast-acting enema isn’t necessarily the best solution. In fact, the best approach to safely detoxifying the body is a sensible colon cleansing diet.
A simple way to understand how toxicity can be eliminated by diet is to think of the small and large intestine (colon) as a septic system that relies on bacterial flora to do the work. At least 100 strains of bacteria reside in the intestines that can either decompose waste or contribute to it. In a healthy person, the percentage of “good” bacteria outnumbers the amount of not-so-good bacteria, the kind that produce endotoxins. If this ratio becomes unbalanced in favor of toxin-producing bacteria, then digestion becomes impaired and the risk for a diseased colon increases. Aside from gas and constipation, clues that toxins are building up in the body include persistent acne, allergies, autoimmune disease, and chronic inflammation.
A colon cleansing diet that incorporates probiotics can help to keep intestinal bacteria in healthy balance. Probiotics are supplements that provide beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacillus acidophilus and members of the Bifidobacterium family. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are natural sugars that are classified as probiotic and prebiotic. Both types of supplements increase levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the colon, which research shows may help to prevent cancer. Of particular benefit is butyric acid, which is the primary source of energy for metabolism in the colon.
Fiber is essential to any colon cleansing diet. For one thing, it absorbs water and acts like a broom, sweeping out the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, fermentation of fiber also increases production of butyric as well as acetate and proprionate acids. In addition, adequate fiber intake reduces colon pH, which also contributes to deterring colon disease.
Many colon cleansing diet enthusiasts recommend supplementing with certain herbs too. For instance, Cascara sagrada contains anthraquinone aglycons, which stimulate peristalsis (contractions) of the large intestine. Psyllium Plantago ovata also moves things along by decreasing transit time from the intestines to the colon. In fact, it is a common ingredient in many commercial laxatives.
It’s also important to increase water intake and consumption of vegetables, preferably raw. However, it may be even more important to know what to exclude from the menu while on a colon cleansing diet. This includes red meat, alcohol, caffeine, and all forms of refined flours and sugars.