7 Foods and Drinks That Promote Colon Health and Regularity
The human body is a collection of biological systems that work in concert to keep us healthy and functioning. Most critical bodily functions are not visible on the surface and pertain to actions from our internal organs. One of the biggest examples of these invisible functions is how our hearts pump blood to different body parts to keep us alive. Most of these functions are wonderous examples of biological engineering caused by millions of years of evolution.
That said, there are other functions that we prefer to keep quiet because they are considered "unsanitary." Some parts of our biology are not suited for dinner conversation, especially since one of those functions only occurs after we eat. Specifically, the part we all pretend does not exist is our body's waste excretion function.
Our colons are designed to process and eliminate the waste generated after meals in a decidedly unpleasant process. Despite that, it remains an essential function for all animals and mandates careful maintenance of our bodies. Unfortunately, the importance of our colons does not make them immune to damage or compromise that inhibits their function.
Part of colon maintenance involves carefully managing our diets to avoid overloading and damaging them while focusing on foods that promote their function. Fortunately, there are a large number of foods and drinks designed to help the colon function properly. The problem is that you might not know what all of them are or why they benefit our colons.
While this might come as a shock, water is one of the most important things we can consume to keep our colon functioning. Our colons need water to function since it helps flush the waste out and prevent the process from being painful. One of the main functions of water in the colorectal system is softening the stool, which ensures a painless evacuation. If the stool is too hard, it becomes strenuous to excrete and can cause damage or bleeding, making it more unpleasant than it has to be.
In extreme cases, the stool becomes too hard to excrete, causing constipation, which causes chronic pain and discomfort. Drinking plenty of water softens the stool by exposing it to liquid that breaks down the solid molecules. As a result, it traverses the colorectal system easily without irritating the tissue.
Healthy men are recommended to consume at least 13 cups of water daily, while healthy women consume 9. Additionally, each cup of water must contain 8 ounces to be considered a viable intake. This helps stave off dehydration (which can cause constipation) and ensures your colon has enough water to eliminate fecal matter properly.
Not everyone likes to eat fish, but it is a highly nutritious protein important to our health. While you should not overindulge in seafood since there are ever-growing mercury concentrations in fish, eating fish is extremely beneficial. Seafood contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat linked to several health benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids are best known for facilitating proper cell function in the body, including those found in the colon. There is even research suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids help protect the body against colorectal cancer, which is a huge advantage. Adding more seafood to your diet might be easy if you are already a fan of fish, but there are certain fish that are more effective.
The fish with the best concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Salmon: A serving of farmed salmon contains 4,504 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas wild salmon has 1,774 milligrams.
- Anchovies: A serving of anchovies contains 1,200 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Swordfish: A serving of swordfish contains 868 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, but it also has high levels of mercury.
- Halibut: A serving of halibut contains 740 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Adding more omega-3 to your diet might be necessary to ensure healthy colon function (among other things). Men between the ages of 19 and 50 need 1.6 grams daily, while women in the same age range need 1.1 grams. You might notice some difficulty defecating if you are not getting enough omega-3.
Rhubarb is an interesting plant that has faced a lot of controversy since the plant can be toxic if overconsumed. Nevertheless, rhubarb has secured a place in modern cuisine and does have benefits if prepared properly. While you might not guess it, rhubarb actually promotes colon function due to certain compounds in the plant. The main benefit of rhubarb is that each stalk contains 1 gram of fiber, which is known to induce excretion.
Fiber draws water into the colon once digested, forcing the stool to soften and allowing it to slide out of the body without difficulty. This allows you to ensure your colon works when you are healthy and can help overcome constipation when the issue affects you. Additionally, rhubarb contains a compound called sennoside A, a natural substance that has been synthesized and commercialized as a laxative.
Sennoside A reduces the body's concentration of aquaporin 3, a protein that regulates water transport. When there is less AQP3 in the body, we absorb more water, which softens stool more efficiently. That said, the main focus on rhubarb relates to its fiber concentration since we need 25 to 30 grams daily to stay healthy. Fortunately, rhubarb is not the only fiber source, but sennoside A gives it a slight edge over other sources since it compounds the effects.
Artichokes are another food that can be something of an acquired taste since we tend to be picky about vegetables. Many love artichokes, which have become a staple in multiple meals and recipes, but most people overlook their health benefits. Artichokes fall under a special category of food called prebiotics, which are foods that naturally increase the population of gut bacteria.
Our gastrointestinal system is home to multiple species of beneficial bacteria that regulate digestive functions. Keeping the population of these bacteria up is essential to our ability to digest food and facilitate bowel movements. Additionally, most prebiotics (artichokes included) are types of fiber, meaning they further enhance colonic function.
In 2017, a review of 5 studies accounting for 199 participants determined that prebiotics can increase stool frequency and improve consistency. Similarly, an older study determined that the subjects who supplemented their diet with fiber extracted from artichokes had increased concentrations of beneficial bacteria. The prebiotic effects of artichokes ensure your gastrointestinal bacteria levels remain healthy so you can enjoy proper digestion. Combined with the 6.9 grams of fiber found in an artichoke, you will have no trouble meeting your daily intake.
The old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" actually has some merit since apples are a nutritious fruit full of beneficial compounds. One of the main nutrients in an apple that is beneficial for our colons is that a medium gala apple contains 2.1 grams of fiber.
Once again, fiber remains one of the most important nutrients for colonic health, and reaching a full 30 grams of fiber daily takes a lot, so every gram helps. Fortunately, fiber is not the only resource apples have that promotes a healthy and regular colon. Apples are also a rich source of a special fiber called pectin, which differs from typical fiber in that it doubles as a natural laxative. Typically, individuals dealing with bowel issues are forced to use pharmaceutical laxatives, but the pectin in apples is a natural alternative.
There was a review of 16 studies evaluating the benefits of pectin on the colon and gastrointestinal tract. The studies all revealed that pectin increased stool frequency while decreasing its solidity. This, in turn, reduced the need for laxatives and cut down the amount of time the subjects spent on the toilet. The benefits of pectin are not necessarily revolutionary, but they are effective enough to make apples a viable addition to your diet if you are concerned about colonic health.
#6: Peppermint Tea
Tea is a beverage that comes in several forms and can be made from several plants and flowers, but one of the most surprising tea sources is Mentha x piperita. M. x piperita is the scientific name for peppermint, a crossbreed made from watermint and spearmint with many health benefits.
Part of keeping your colon healthy is being aware of certain chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, an inflammatory condition that can interfere with colonic function. IBS is extremely painful and difficult to treat since there is still a lot we do not know about the condition. In a shocking turn of events, it appears that peppermint can help soothe the symptoms because of its menthol concentration. Menthol is the compound that gives mint its distinct flavor and cooling effect.
However, it also appears to improve digestive tissue, making it a viable resource for digestive and colonic health. It has also been found to reduce the severity of IBS so you can maintain a functional colon despite the condition.
There was a 4-week study involving 57 subjects with IBS. The subjects were divided into test and control groups, with the former being given peppermint oil capsules twice daily. When the study was over, 75% of the test group reported reduced symptoms and improved colonic function. While the study used peppermint oil, the compounds that elicited these results are present in the plant and any product made with them. Peppermint tea likely provides the same benefits, meaning you might want to consider adding a cup to your daily routine, especially if you have IBS.
Lentils are another "hit-or-miss" food that you either like or hate, with a fair number of people being in the latter camp. Lentils are legumes, meaning they are a viable source of protein and fiber. Insofar as the fiber concentration is concerned, ½ cup of lentils contains 7.8 grams, making it one of the richest sources.
While lentils can provide fiber benefits, they possess another trait that can further enhance colonic health. Namely, evidence suggests that lentils increase the body's concentration of butyric acid. Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid that is found in the colon and plays a direct role in digestive health. Butyric acid reduces inflammation, manages weight, and can protect against cancer cells, making it a critical resource for a healthy colon.
Additionally, butyric acid can increase the movement of the digestive tract, promoting regular bowel movements. The studies surrounding lentils and their relation to butyric acid are still ongoing and far from complete. Nevertheless, the results are promising enough that adding lentils to your diet could be worth the effort.
That said, you should not place all your faith in any one substance since the human body is complicated and requires several compounds to function properly. Furthermore, finding certain substances can be difficult, and you might need to find a reliable vendor for one or more of them.
Finding the Right Blend
Colonic health can be surprisingly complicated, especially since waste excretion is the main trait associated with the colon. Regardless, you must take care of it since it is common for the colon to suffer when we do not care for ourselves. IBS and other colonic issues can be managed or avoided if you make the proper adjustments to your diet. While most of the foods on this list are easy to get, the most challenging option is peppermint tea since a healthy tea blend requires a special touch.
We at Teami know how important colonic health is, and we believe that natural substances are ideal for reinforcing our health. We believe that tea is especially effective for improving multiple aspects of our health, including the colon. We offer various natural tea blends that combine several leaves from multiple plants to combine their respective effects.
One of our top products is our Profit Tea Blend, which combines peppermint leaves with other healthy plants. We also have our Colon Cleanse Tea Blend, which contains rhubarb and is designed to help purge the colon. We encourage you to visit our website and try our products directly. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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