Are you experiencing issues such as diarrhea or constipation? Then it may be time to take a look at your colon health. Even if you are not suffering from any gastrointestinal issues, taking care of your colon is still extremely important. This 5-foot organ is responsible for expelling waste from your body and absorbing nutrients into your body. When this process is not running flawlessly, your body can start absorbing toxins from the impacted fecal matter, which can lead to a whole range of other problems.
Because the standard diet in the US lacks probiotics, water, and fiber, many Americans are at risk for poor colon health and a buildup of waste material. This build-up creates a thriving environment for toxins, which leads to complications and disease. Poor colon health creates many health problems that Americans face every day such as fatigue, bloating, and even difficulty losing weight. When you improve your colon health, then you will improve the health of your entire body!
Why Colon Health Is Important
When your colon is healthy, there is less of a chance to have toxins entering your bloodstream. You may be surprised to learn that an average American carries 10-15 pounds of impacted fecal matter in their colon. This can happen despite not having any allergies and being at a healthy weight! An unhealthy colon can put you at risk for gastrointestinal diseases, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and even fatigue.
How to Maintain Good Colon Health
Maintaining good colon health is affected by what you put inside your body as well as some of your daily or yearly routines. While some tips below may seem obvious, there may be areas in which you are lacking. Below are the basic steps to maintain a healthy colon.
Eat Fiber-Rich Foods
Eating fiber keeps your digestive tract moving efficiently, and helps your intestines stay clean, decreasing your risk of diverticular disease. Be sure to eat about 25-35 grams of fiber daily to give your colon the amount it needs to thrive. High-fiber foods include prunes, bananas, raspberries, broccoli, beans, and celery. Fiber-rich whole grains include rice and whole wheat breakfast cereals.
Get Enough Vitamin D
If you haven't been spending much time outside in the sun, add a couple of walks to your daily routine. Spending just 15-20 minutes outside provides your body with sufficient sun exposure. You can also get Vitamin D from your foods. Vitamin D rich foods include bread, fatty fish, dairy, and cereal.
Take the Right Supplements
If you struggle to get enough fiber and Vitamin D from your foods alone, look into trying out supplements. To normalize digestion supplement your body with digestive enzymes after each meal. Papaya and pineapple enzymes are a great way to supplement your body.
Let It Go Right Away
Sometimes we have to hold our bowel movements for a period of time, but try not to let it happen too often. If you hold it in for too long, your body could release toxins from the fecal matter in your body. When these toxins are released in your body, you become prone to diseases like diverticulosis or irritable bowel syndrome. Keep your colon healthy and clean with regular bowel movements.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for not only your entire body but your colon specifically. Not taking enough water can lead to a buildup of toxins in your body, which can increase your risk of fatigue, IBS, gas, constipation, and bloating.
Move Your Body Regularly
Working out increases the blood flowing through your body, and in return, your colon gets an increase of oxygen. If the thought of exercising makes you feel overwhelmed, don't be discouraged. It only takes 15 minutes of movement to increase the blood flow and circulation throughout your body. This could include a brisk walk, stretching or yoga. Find a way to get moving that relaxes you and that you enjoy doing!
Schedule a Colon Cleanse
Colon cleanses are more popular than ever right now and for good reason. They are believed to flush out the toxins sitting in your body along with waste that is trapped inside your colon. If you struggle with constipation, a colon cleanse could be your ticket to regular bowel movements again. There is a variety of herb and vitamin infusions available, so you can cater your cleanse to your needs. While there are at home kits available, it is recommended to see a doctor before performing one on yourself.
Get Checked Out by Your Doctor
A colonoscopy is probably the last thing on your list of things you desire doing in your life, but they are important in the early detection of colon cancer. If you are over 50, it is recommended that you get a colonoscopy to maintain colon health. No matter what age you are if you are experiencing frequent diarrhea or constipation ask your doctor about having a colonoscopy to get a proper diagnosis.
Signs of a Healthy Colon
While some signs of a healthy colon may seem obvious, such as diarrhea, gas or bloating, some signs are harder to pinpoint as a colon issue. Below are signs you have a well-functioning, healthy colon.
If you struggle with acne, then you have probably tried every topical cleanser and cream on the market. But did you know that gut health and skin are connected? Having clear skin is actually a sign of a healthy colon. If you are having symptoms of bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation along with your breakouts, then it may be time to look into improving the health of your colon.
Daily Bowel Movements
You should experience bowel movements daily. Ideally, you should be having one large bowel movement in the morning and then a smaller one later on in the day. If you struggle with constipation or irregular bowel movements, this could be a sign that your colon health isn't where you want it to be.
Good or Mild Smelling Breath
If you have regular dental cleanings, healthy teeth, and gums, and do not suffer from dry mouth, then your bad breath may have something to do with your colon. Having bad breath can be a sign that there is something going on with your digestive tract, so if your dentist hasn't found a cause for your bad breath, it may be time to see a doctor for a colonoscopy.
No Mucus, Partially Digested Food, or Blood in Stools
This may not sound appealing, but it is important to pay close attention to your stools, as this will be one of the easiest ways to evaluate your colon health. Just because you aren't having diarrhea or constipation doesn't mean that everything is okay. If your stool contains mucus, partially digested food, or blood then call your doctor.
Eliminating Between 18 and 24 Hours
You should have a bowel movement around 18-24 hours after eating. To test this, start by eating beets. When you see that your fecal matter has a red tint to it, count the time between your bowel movement and the time you ate the beets.
Effortless Bowel Movements
Are you spending long amounts of time in the bathroom when you need to go number two? Believe it or not, this is not normal nor is it a sign of good colon health. Your bowel movements should not cause you a great deal of effort. You should be able to extract your bowel movements regularly and with ease.
Soft and Well-Formed Stools
The shape of your stool can tell you a lot about the health of your colon. Think of what your colon is shaped like; it is a long, tube-shaped organ. Your stool should look similar. Ideally, your stool should be soft rather than hard, and in a log or sausage shape. If your stool seems like it is taking a great deal of effort and is hard as a rock, or on the other end of the spectrum, is soft and in small pieces, then it is time to call your doctor.
Your colon health can affect many areas of your entire body. If your colon is in poor health, you may experience fatigue, difficulty losing weight, allergies, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation. To keep your colon healthy and thriving, it is important to take supplements and foods high in fiber, Vitamin D, and digestive enzymes.
Daily practices such as drinking a sufficient amount of water and exercising regularly are also important to maintaining good colon health. Ideally, you should eliminate your feces rather than holding it in. If you struggle from any symptoms associated with poor colon health, it's beneficial to get a colon cleanse or see your doctor for an endoscopy. A healthy colon will leave you with clear skin, mild breath, and healthy bowel movements.
While talking about the colon and associated subjects isn't always comfortable, it's necessary for your overall health. If you have concerns, consult your doctor to determine a course of action.