It’s no wonder you often feel bloated and sluggish after inhaling a high-fat meal on the run; usually, those types of convenience foods offer little in the way of nutrients but more than enough of the “bad stuff.” Foods that are high in fat, calorie-dense and chemically preserved settle in the colon where they wreak havoc on the digestive tract, causing many physical discomforts such as constipation, headache and fatigue.
The good news is that you can begin to take charge of your colon health now. The reason for choosing colon-friendly foods is to help your body quickly rid food toxins that accumulate at the cellular level and to keep the digestive tract working properly. Aside from constipation, headache and fatigue, a clogged colon can cause bad breath, a metallic aftertaste in your mouth and mood swings.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and raw vegetables each day is the easiest way to cleanse your colon and promote overall colon function. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of insoluble fiber that the body cannot digest. Insoluble fiber absorbs water from inside the body creating a bulk that virtually sweeps out the lining of the colon. High-fiber fruits include apples, bananas, apricots and pears. Vegetables that promote a healthy colon are sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Grains and Legumes
The consumption of whole grain bread, rice and oats is another key element to colon cleansing. Be sure to read the food label carefully, though; the first ingredient should specify “whole grain” versus “enriched” or “bleached.” In addition to whole grains, incorporate a variety of beans into your diet. Chickpeas offer a low-fat, high-fiber topping to salads, while kidney beans are a healthy addition to vegetable soup.
Although many dairy products exacerbate bloating and constipation, yogurt is actually a colon-friendly food. Active or live-culture yogurt contains lactobacteria, an organism that helps to keep the colon healthy. It also contains acidophilus, which causes the colon to produce smaller quantities of bile acid. This decreased production of bile acid helps to lower cholesterol levels. If you are a person who cannot tolerate yogurt, add a probiotic supplement to your diet.
Aside from incorporating foods into your diet that will help cleanse your colon, one of the most important things you can do is increase your water intake. High-fiber foods absorb a lot of water. If you do not drink enough water on a daily basis, your stools will become hard and difficult to pass. Be sure to drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water each day. Try adding a lemon wedge to your glass of water if you’re accustomed to drinking flavored liquids.