By Ryan Harrison, MA, BCIH
Though it often doesn't receive the health-promoting attention it deserves, the colon (also known as the large intestine) is an important part of the body. It is vital to proper digestion, especially to moving waste out in a timely manner so that it does not compromise your health.
But what you may not be aware of is that your colon can get clogged with accumulated matter. When this happens, you can experience any number of issues from gas and occasional constipation to small, infrequent and incomplete bowel movements. Over time, this accumulated matter can lead to even more serious health issues. A colon cleanse is an effective way to help encourage the body's natural detoxification process.
But how does the colon get to that point?
The sad truth is that the Standard American Diet is not very colon friendly. And if you're like most people, purchasing and eating food often happens without even a single thought about where the food actually comes from, how it's made, what might be in it, and how it might affect your health. This trend in food unconsciousness plays a large role in the health of your colon.
Fiber and Colon Health
One of the biggest concerns in colon care is that all too often our diets are chronically low in fiber, which is vital to good bowel health. Even though it has been shown that a diet high in fiber may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and several different kinds of cancers, modern food production processes strip most of the fiber from the foods we eat, to the point that the average American gets far less dietary fiber on a daily basis than even the low amounts recommended by the FDA. An all natural cleanse is a great way to add fiber to your diet.
Mix fiber powder with your favorite fruits in a breakfast smoothie.
The culprit here is refined flour and grain products-pretty much anything made with white flour or white rice. These are stripped of their natural, health-promoting fiber content in an effort to extend shelf life. The result? These highly processed foods turn into something like glue that, once it reaches your intestines, can have a hard time moving completely through the system.
Fortunately we can help the colon cleanse itself.
The best way to make sure that your digestive system is clean and working optimally is to have a steady intake of sufficient amounts of dietary fiber. Current recommendations are to aim for approximately 20-40 mg of fiber each day. This will help keep the intestines clean and clear and able to move food and waste through quickly, so that it doesn't have a chance to get “stuck” and start causing problems in your body.
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Fiber. (2009). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved February 8, 2011, from
Griffin, R. M. (n.d.). Fiber for heart, cholesterol, and digestive health. WebMD, Retrieved February 8, 2011, from