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Archive for colon cleanse

Healthy Body Systems: Intestinal System – Colon

If we consider that the Intestinal System is actually a major component of the Digestive System since its function is to “consume” the nutrients found in the food we eat and deliver them to the bloodstream for delivery to the rest of the body, then the Large Intestine, which we call the Colon, actually carry out the water reclamation and waste disposal function of the body.

The colon is also called the large intestine, begins in the lower right part of the abdomen, and is divided into four parts: the ascending colon which travels up the right side of the abdomen, the transverse colon that runs across the abdomen, the descending colon that travels down the left side of the abdomen, and the sigmoid colon that curves to align the colon with the rectum to allow waste to leave the body.

The colon removes water, salt, and some nutrients from the stool and has muscles that line the colon’s walls, squeezing its contents along. Like a balloon, as this muscle is overfilled and evacuated for some time, it begins to “dimple”. These dimples are called diverticula and are pockets where foreign mater can collect, become inflamed, and cause disease. Therefore, regular bowel movements are necessary; ideally, you should have a bowel movement about 45 minutes after each meal.

To keep your bowel healthy, you need fiber, water, and regular bowel movements. There are two types of fiber that are necessary – soluble and insoluble.

I call the soluble fiber “sponges”.  They wipe down the colon walls, absorb toxins, and help remove liquid waste.  We refer to herbs that perform these actions as mucilage – herbs like slippery elm, glucomannan, and marshmallow.

The insoluble fiber I call “brooms”. This type of fiber “sweeps” heavier waste and scrubs colon walls to remove the more solid waste material from the colon as the muscle linings move all the waste along. Herbs that help perform these functions generally contain more cellulose/structure, like acacia, psyllium, and cascara sagrada.

A healthy colon will also have billions of probiotics (friendly bacteria) lining its walls, living in a healthy balance with the body.

As for a healthy colon diet:

  • Increase your fiber intake. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Consider apples, pears, raspberries, bananas, oranges, and cooked peas, corn, broccoli, and artichoke. Add whole grains and legumes: Consider whole wheat flour, barley, quinoa, wild rice, oatmeal, and beans.
  • limit red meat consumption. Try to stay under 100 grams of red meat, and under 50 grams of processed meats.
  • keep sugar intake at a minimum because of its inflammatory potential.
  • control your weight

Last year our blogs covered the topic of cleansing for each body system. I would reiterate here that an annual bowel/colon detox could be helpful in keeping the colon functioning well. (Refer to last year’s colon cleansing blog.)

Colon issues can be very uncomfortable, and also very deadly. Keep it healthy.  Add “intestinal” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!

–  Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

How Should I Cleanse the Colon?

The colon is the waste container for the body.  The digestive system dumps its waste here, the lymphatic system dumps its waster here, and the circulatory system dumps its waste here. Since we discussed in our last blog that the colon works to reclaim any nutrients left in the waste, it stands to reason that we should keep the colon as clean as possible.  It requires constant care to keep it disease-free. Daily bowel movements help, but a more focused cleansing should be a regular part of our cleansing regimen.  I look for ingredients in my monthly cleansing regimen that will ensure the colon is addressed in each of them.

I am often asked how often we should have a bowel movement. I am reminded of an old doctor who in the 1970s was the first person I remember asking me how often I had a bowel movement.  He told me he asked that question of every patient he ever saw.  Answers he received spanned the numbers form “once a month” to “twelve times a day” – and each person thought that was normal because we usually think that our number is “normal for us”. But he reminded me of a newborn baby who has a meal and about 45 minutes later has a dirty diaper. He said that if we had perfect body systems then we would usually follow that routine. But he said he wasn’t concerned as long as his patients had at least “daily regularity”. But the fewer bowel movements you have, the greater is your need for routine colon cleansing.

It’s interesting to me that as soon as we potty train a child, we begin to try to make its bowel habits “convenient”; we’re at the store when little Johnny says “I need to go to the bathroom.” And we say, “can you hold it? We’ll be home in just a few minutes.” Actually, few of us go to the bathroom just when the urge first hits us. So old fecal material dries and starts sticking to the colon walls.

Remember the water reclamation function of the colon.  If there is excess fecal material in the colon, as it tries to draw off the excess water, it also draws off the bacterial and disease that may also be present and recirculates these substances throughout your body as well – we re-toxify ourselves!!!

Also, consider a balloon that is filled with air, emptied, refilled, and on and on.  It will eventually produce dimples on the wall.  In our colons, these dimples are called diverticula.  They are the perfect place for seeds, etc. to collect and get infected and produce diverticulitis.  Remember “it is” simply means “inflammation of.”

So, in addition to regular bowel movements, I look for products specifically formulated to cleanse the colon. These products not only aid in the evacuation of wastes but may also contain ingredients that can re-tone (tonify) the bowel. They can both cleanse and strengthen the bowel at the same time.

Keep moving and keep your bowel moving too.  It will not only keep you comfortable, but it will help keep your whole body healthier.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.