Alternative Approaches: Facts and Tips for a Healthy Large Intestine
Facts and Tips for a Healthy Large Intestine
The entire process of digestion takes between 12 to 36 hours.
The primary function of the large intestine is to reabsorb water and minerals from waste material before it is excreted.
The colon reabsorbs about 2 1/2 pints of water every day.
The intestinal tract is populated by about 100 different kinds of bacteria.
Some of these bacteria synthesize essential vitamins such as B vitamins and vitamin K, and others that protect the body against toxic microorganisms.
Healthy individuals should have at least one bowel movement a day.
Symptoms of colon toxicity include constipation, flatulence, headaches, irritability, abdominal distress, diarrhea, bad breath, fatigue, and nausea.
Diseases related to poor colon function include: diverticulosis, diverticulitis, hypertension, varicose veins, appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, breast cancer.
Constipation can often be prevented by daily exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating a high fiber diet.
One teaspoon of psyllium husks daily can help with constipation.
Eating 7-13 servings each day of fresh vegetables and fruits especially those high in fiber such as carrots, apples, and cabbage and drinking 6 glasses of pure water a day can help constipation.
Beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus populate the intestinal tract. These beneficial bacteria maintain a healthy internal environment by preventing the overgrowth of problem causing bacteria such as Candida albicans fungus.
Foods rich in Lactobacillus Acidophilus include yogurt with live active cultures, miso soup, naturally fermented and unpasteurized pickles.
Taking Lactobacillus Acidophilus supplements daily can help replenish beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Ingredients in soft drinks, drugs, and foods adulterated with refined white sugar, flour, and preservatives destroy the beneficial flora in the colon.
It can take up to one year to reestablish beneficial bacteria in the colon.
Daily exercise and abdominal massage help improve intestinal function and stimulates the movement of waste.
High fiber foods move wastes quickly through the large intestines, plenty of water flushes out toxins through the kidneys, and lots of fresh leafy green vegetables keeps the liver working efficiently to detoxify the bloodstream.
Eat plenty of high fiber foods. A fiber rich diet speeds the removal of wastes from the body, and helps to naturally cleanse the intestinal tract.
Whole grains and beans are rich sources of fiber, providing bulk that helps to naturally cleanse the intestinal tract.
Vegetable and fruits are good sources of fiber and beta-carotene.
Foods that are good sources of beta-carotene include dark leafy greens and deep yellow orange vegetable and fruits.
The deeper green or yellow orange the fruit or vegetable is the richer in beta-carotene it is.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds that stimulate enzymes which play a role in the body's natural process of detoxification.
Herbs for the large intestine include: marshmallow root, slippery elm, aloe vera juice, oats, flax seeds, psyllium seeds, dandelion root, licorice root, yellow dock, cascara sagrada, buckhorn. Ginger tea is excellent for stimulating digestive movement. It also reduces the accumulation of toxins in the digestive tract. Sip hot ginger tea after a meal as a digestive aid. Ginger increases circulation, has antimicrobial properties, and is good for treating respiratory problems, digestive ailments, and cramping.
Herbal bitters tonics are used for improving sluggish digestion and associated problems such as indigestion, flatulence, and constipation. Bitters tonics can be taken daily and are helpful for improving the digestion of large meals containing protein and fats. Good herbal bitters include wormwood, dandelion root, gentian, licorice, ginger, fennel, cardamom.
Ginger and fennel soothe the gastrointestinal tract.
Peppermint and anise have carminative properties that help relieve gas and they contain fragrant oils that stimulate digestion.
Chamomile is a relaxant and contains mild bitter principles that enhance the flow of digestive juices.
Licorice soothes the intestinal tract and has mild laxative properties.
Ginger helps soothe intestinal cramping.
General abdominal discomfort and low to mid backaches are often referred pain from the distention of the large intestine.
Pressure in the head and sinuses, headaches, sore throats, crankiness, lack of energy, and even lack of enthusiasm for life, can result from congestion in this organ.
Signs of colon congestion can be sinus and lung congestion with excess mucus, respiratory problems, allergies, earache, sore throat, bronchitis, strong body odor (including feet) and constipation.
Atonic colon - the colon is loose, flaccid, and sluggish, it balloons and stretches, but will move on a regular basis. Transit time is slow.
Spastic colon - tends to move irregularly, sporadic (muscle spasms).
Common abnormalities of the colon include adhesions, ballooning, colitis, diverticulosis, prolapse, ulceration, and mucosal dysfunction.
Herbs that improve nutrient assimilation and assist the body's natural cleansing process include: red clover, blessed thistle, and yellow dock root, hawthorn, alfalfa, nettles, sage, horsetail, echinacea, milk thistle, pau d'arco, gotu kola, lemongrass, blue malva, yerba santa.
Herbs promote the elimination of waste matter and toxins from the body. They are easily absorbed by the body as liquid, which provides gentle flushing action.
The natural pectin in organic apple juice helps soften and loosen hardened matter in the digestive tract and is excellent for its cleansing effects.
The husks of blond psyllium seed are known to improve gastrointestinal ailments such as constipation, cystitis, diarrhea, and dysentery. Composed almost entirely of hemicellulose, psyllium husks have the highest bulking activity of any of the major dietary fibers. By binding with water in the intestines, psyllium increases the bulk and softness of intestinal contents. It absorbs toxins, soothes inflamed tissues, and promotes the growth of friendly colonic bacteria. It also helps to eliminate bile acids and lowers harmful blood cholesterol.
Psyllium husks can be used plain or combined with slippery elm, chia, and flaxseed.
A good healthy intestinal cleaner of autumn is a mixture of oat bran, flaxseed, psyllium husks, and fruit pectin.
If you have a spastic colon or if psyllium is too strong for you and makes you constipated, replace it with slippery elm bark or a combination of both.
Slippery elm is a nutritive herb. Its gentle lubricating effect is beneficial to the whole body. It absorbs cholesterol, carcinogenic compounds, heavy metals, and toxic materials. It strengthens, heals, and soothes inflamed or irritated areas, absorbs noxious gases, neutralizes stomach acidity, and soothes irritated sore throats, gastrointestinal ulcers, and dryness of respiratory tract.
Slippery elm is equal to oatmeal in vitamin and mineral content. It is high in B complex vitamins and protein, with moderate amounts of vitamin A and selenium and small amounts of vitamin s E and K and the mineral magnesium. It contains trace amounts of iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and sodium.
Whey powder feeds the acidophilus and bifidus bacteria in the intestines and prevents the development of harmful putrefactive bacteria, which leads to autotoxemia. Whey contains rich amounts of B complex vitamins and serves as nutritional support during a fast.
Consumerlab.com is building a database of natural remedy brands that it tests and rates. Not all are yet available.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has a program called MEDWATCH for people to report adverse reactions to untested substances, such as herbal remedies and vitamins (800-332-1088).
A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions.
Mary Ann Copson, a Certified Licensed Nutritionist and Wellness and Life Coach is the founder of the Evenstar Mood & Energy Wellness Center for Women . You can visit her online at www.evenstaronline.com or reach her by phone at 434-263-4996.