…but at least you don’t have to look at these pictures. So to prove my devotion to my own and your healthy living, this article is about that deep dark place most of us would like to avoid considering completely, our colon. And oh the places I’ve gone to research it. The insanity started back in 1979 when Dr. Norman Walker published Colon Health, a book that has endured throughout the years and is still one of the best sources of information on the importance of keeping this part of your digestive tract in tact. (The cover even has a cool picture of The Silver Surfer with hair.) Among a wealth of important information on how the colon functions, why it is imperative to keep it healthy and how to do that, Dr. Walker discusses what he calls “colon irrigation”. That’s right boys and girls, the Doc means colonics. Don’t worry, I’m not going to focus much on this aspect of colon health because… well, it’s disgusting. But if you’re in the first phases of a real life change in diet, consider a colon cleanse—which usually will include colonics and/or enemas. About 12 years ago when I was a new vegetarian I bit the bullet, opened my mind and did one. And although there was trauma, the benefits were undeniable. (I’d like to officially apologize to my parents for having to read that) You’ve spent years filling your body with toxic materials and it’s time to get that stuff out. But do your research and do it right. So here’s the low-down on the down low:
Your large intestine consists of the caecum, the colon and the rectum. It is responsible for the re-absorption of many nutrients and water, and ensures normal defecation (that means pooping). The colon is the site where most of the absorption of water, salts and vitamins takes place. Some food components, such as dietary fiber and oligosaccharides, which escape digestion in the upper parts of the digestive tract, are exposed to bacterial digestion in the colon. The colonic microflora, (which are good bacterial microorganisms) not only digest otherwise indigestible food components, they also synthesize a variety of significant vitamins which are utilized by the human body like Vitamin K (essential for blood clotting), Vitamin B12 (prevents harmful anemia) Thiamin (B1) and riboflavin (B2) (metabolic processes/energy, nervous system functioning and lower homocysteine levels implicated in heart disease). These microflora also ferment otherwise indigestible food components to short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which provide fuel for the cells of the colon and help with the absorption of water and salts. Microflora like Lactobacilli, and Bifidobacteria help boost immunity overall and increase our resistance to various infections like Candida, Salmonella and E-coli. Research has even shown that a happy colon plays a part in lowering cholesterol.
What you essentially need to understand about colon health is that if the colon isn’t functioning correctly—which really means it’s not cleansed—the rest of the organs can’t cleans their waste. Some experts assert that there is really only one disease–autointoxication or malnutrition. That means it’s all about the diet. A bad diet doesn’t digest well, and ultimately creates feces that are sticky, hard and difficult to get out (I know, I know). Therefore it builds up along the colon wall and, Presto!; you’re filled with decaying toxins and poisonous gas. The system backs up and the body gets sick. It’s like a sewer backing up in New York City. No matter how efficiently everything else runs, it’s all coming to a stop.
If you have doubts just look up some of the pictures of waste matter eliminated during colon cleanses (I dare you). Also consider that according to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths with more than 153,000 new cases and more than 52,000 deaths expected this year. Infections, antibiotics and excessive stress also impact the health of the colon so once again it’s all about balance.
In the end (no pun intended) colon health is all about a holistic, healthy lifestyle. Keep your weight down, don’t drink alcohol excessively, don’t smoke, meditate or find some way to alleviate stress, exercise, drink plenty of water and for God’s sake eat right. A healthy colon requires fiber, calcium, Vitamin D (sunlight), B (folic acid) and the rest of them. First off stop with the processed food and cut way back or eliminate red meat. M.D. Anderson suggests at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day for colon health and I’d suggest even more. Juicing and blending can really assist in getting that daily requirement but remember fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-cancer, immune-system-strengthening properties and they are fibrous and assist in digestion. For more fiber eat your oats, legumes, whole grains and wheat bran. Yogurt and fermented milk products, which contain live Lactobacilli, promote healthy microflora and you can also take microflora supplements. Finally, if you’re over 50, get screened. Because of an increase in colorectal screenings over the past years, new colorectal cancer cases have been decreasing steadily. It’s you’re butt, better take care of it.