The colon is a channel of elimination in your body, and it works hard everyday to get rid of bacteria, toxins and other waste material. Colons are responsible for processing an average of 3 pints of liquid stool each day into a manageable amount of solid stool, which is then passed on to the rectum for evacuation.
A healthy person should be able to pass stool without straining or difficulty at least once a day. Unfortunately, this is not the norm for many. Instead, a lot of people go through life with difficult, painful bowel health issues ranging from inconvenient ones such as constipation, diverticulitis and hemorrhoids, to debilitating, life threatening ones like colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
As you get into your 50s and beyond, it is important to take care of your colon health as that is a typical age where colon health risks increase. Because of this, many doctors recommend regular colonoscopies to screen disease.
However, colonoscopies are not only expensive, they come with risks like infection, perforation of the bowel, and complications from anesthesia.
Ironically, colitis or Crohn’s may also develop from contamination and contact with the sterilants used on the endoscope. Additionally, colonoscopies not only wipe out the good bacteria in your gut, they actually do not improve mortality rates from colon disease.
Others in the alternative health community recommend colon cleanses, but this also comes with risks like dehydration, bowel perforation and electrolyte imbalance, which can be dangerous. Colon cleanses also ignore the fact that your body is very effective at cleaning itself out if given the right conditions and materials to do so.
So what can you do to improve your colon health?
The first and biggest thing is to examine your diet. A diet high in protein and fat and low in fiber and liquid will damage your system over time.
Dietary recommendations for colon health include high fiber foods and lots of water. Plant foods are ideal for this, but even more so, eating a diet that consists of a high percentage of raw fruit and vegetables naturally gives you an advantage. Fresh produce combines the powerhouse of fiber plus water to sweep through your body and help your elimination go smoothly.
Drinking 32 oz of fresh clean water every morning upon awakening will make a big difference. Cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking will also reap your colon big benefits.
The next biggest thing you can do to take care of your colon is to exercise. Obesity greatly increases your risk for disease of the colon. Keeping fit and maintaining an ideal weight will keep your system in tip top shape.
As an alternative to colonoscopies, consider getting a sigmoidoscopy done once sometime between the age of 55 and 65 to screen for potential problems. Sigmoidoscopy is a great alternative to a colonoscopy. It is cheaper, done without sedation and carries a much lower risk of harm than a colonoscopy does.
Healthy elimination is a critical key to overall health. Take good care of your colon now and it could save you decades of pain and damage.