According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in the United States. When there is not adequate elimination of bowel waste, fecal matter can clog “pockets” in the colon and build up along the walls of the colon. This toxic residue is then absorbed into the blood and lymphatic vessels attached to the intestinal wall. This can lead to a condition commonly known as “auto-intoxication”.
VITAL STEPS TO HEALTHY BOWEL FUNCTION
Restore Good Bacteria: (acidophilus) a “friendly” lactic acid organism which promotes the growth of favorable flora in the intestinal tract. Good bacteria aids digestion, reduces toxins in the intestines, produces B vitamins for energy and stress, builds our immune system, and is necessary for colon health.
We need about 85% of the “friendly” or “good” bacteria to enjoy healthy intestinal function. Destroy the good bacteria and you’ll destroy digestion, energy, immune function, and healthy bowel elimination.
To restore good bacteria, make it a habit to eat fermented foods: sauerkraut, organic yogurt, sour poi, kim chi, natto, miso, etc. Remember that heat and sugar will destroy the live organisms. For some, a probiotic supplement may be necessary.
High Fiber Diet: Fiber (found in fruit, vegetables, beans, and grains) assists the colon in two ways. First, insoluble fiber has great water retention properties, making it a natural laxative. Because of the water absorption abilities of the colon, this type of fiber aids in the formation of waste and in the speed in which it is processed through the body. The second type of fiber, called soluble fiber, forms a “gel” as it is broken down in the colon by bacteria. This gel aids in the elimination of wastes and helps keep the cell walls of the colon in good working order.
The USDA, American Cancer Society, and the United States Department of Agriculture suggest at least 20 to 45 grams per day for an adult. Much research exists showing the correlation with higher fiber diets contributing to lower incidence of colon cancer.
Adequate Water: The longer the stools remain in the body, the drier they get, causing a hard stool and constipation. Water and fiber work together to facilitate “transit” time. Because the colon needs adequate water to do its job, dehydration will have a very detrimental impact on healthy bowel elimination.
Proper Nutrition: The colon is a muscle which works through “peristalsis”. This is a symmetrical contraction of muscles which propagates in a wave down a muscular “tube” and propels contents through the digestive tract. In order to work properly, muscles need minerals. A lack of minerals leads to “cramping”. For the colon, it can lead to spasms of the colon and inability to work properly.
Exercise: Exercise not only gets your body moving, it gets your “waste” moving! Exercise stimulates peristalsis. Research is showing that exercise can cut your risk for colon cancer significantly.
Proper Digestion: If you eat food and it does not digest, it rots! Undigested, rotting food will put an additional burden on healthy bowel function.
Develop Healthy Habits: Relax, go when you have to go (don’t hold it), and develop a lifestyle conducive to healthy bowel management.
Cleanse Colon if Necessary: Anyone who has a history of constipation or bowel problems may benefit from “colon cleansing”. There are special herbs that can be used for this process; however, “colon cleansing” should be done with care. Be sure to consult with your health care practitioner.