A good supply of healthy colon foods can do wonders for our colon and help to keep colon related diseases away! Diseases such as; chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerated colitis, diverticulitis and colon cancer are so common nowadays that eating enough 'healthy colon foods' has never been so important.
It is a scientific, medical fact, that cancer of the colon and rectum, known as 'Colorectal Cancer', is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women. Don't take my word for it though. Please take the time to read the article yourself at www.cancer.org.
Needless to say, a healthy colon is an important part of your overall health and well-being, and consuming foods known to help the colon can help to keep it in tip-top shape. It's not always enough to just eat so-called 'healthy colon foods' though. Equally important is to eat less 'unhealthy colon foods', and, ideally cut them out altogether!
The colon (large intestine) is a vital organ for eliminating waste from the body and as a result is easily affected by the foods we eat. The foods you decide to put into your body can either help or injure your colon, so making the right dietary choices is crucial if you want to keep your colon running smoothly and free from disease!
The colon has many twists, turns and 'pouches' called haustra (singular haustrum) along its path as you can see in the diagram above. These pockets can encourage food wastes to accumulate there, and get stuck for decades if left untreated through a healthy diet and colon cleansing techniques. I know this to be true from a time when I was still eliminating old waste during a juice fast that lasted weeks!
After many years of poor eating habits, these uneliminated food wastes can become encrusted on the inside of the colon wall. This can block blood supply to the colon and create an environment for decay and degeneration thus causing a breakdown of the natural workings of the colon. This can obviously have a negative effect on a person's health and vitality through the development of colon related diseases as already mentioned in the first paragraph.
The fact that the colon takes moisture away from the waste before elimination plays a major role in the problems associated with this organ, as this action increases the possibility of 'colonic constipation'. It is the very nature of the colon to become constipated which is greatly enhanced with a poor, unnatural diet that is already potentially difficult to break down and lacking in lubricant qualities.
In comparison, very few people have a problem with the small intestine, because that organ liquifies the food after the stomach's preparation of it and is therefore highly unlikely to become blocked with food deposits.
Eating healthy colon foods, and far less unhealthy colon foods, can help to keep your colon working as it should. This will really help to reduce the chances of generating any of those nasty colon related diseases!
Below are some basic guidelines (in my opinion) to help keep your colon as healthy as possible and in good working order.
I think most people, even meat eaters, could look at the above picture and see how these types of foods might easily block your digestive system, especially your colon?
It's important to realise that the majority of official government health sites clearly state, that although they aren't entirely sure exactly what causes bowel/colon cancer, they do state that meat and processed meat products like sausages etc, are a contributing factor.
Processed meats include;
Sausages, hot dogs, smoked meat, salted meat, cured meat, beef jerky, salami, ham, bacon and all canned meats like corned beef, luncheon meat and similar products.
Despite many arguing that we are designed to eat both meat and vegetation, the fact remains that our entire digestive system, the alimentary canal, is more closely related to the fruit eating monkeys like the Orangutan and NOT the carnivorous meat eating animals like the dog, lion or tiger etc.
The human body is not really designed to eat these types of foods. Yes of course you can eat them, and it's your choice, and you may get away with it for many years, but it's very likely that in time the body may not be able to digest them and eliminate them as well as it once did. Not to mention the impact on the Heart and arteries this type of food has, both short and long-term.
Reducing meats and processed meat products in your diet is a major first step towards better physical and spiritual health. At the very least cut out all red meats, offal and all processed meat products previously listed above. Eat grilled or boiled skinless chicken and fish only. This alone will be a great first step to a healthier bloodstream, body and colon!
I think most would agree, you don't have to be a dietician or nutritionist to see that the above foods wouldn't be that helpful to your colon? These types of foods really are 'unhealthy colon foods' in every possible way. Not only can they be very constipating to the colon and system as a whole, but they are also lacking in vital nutrients that your body needs.
Reducing your junk food intake is a major step towards a healthier colon and better overall health, which I believe can and does increase longevity (living longer). Let's face it, if eating a poor diet can send you to an early grave, then giving up junk foods and eating a healthier diet should obviously have the opposite effect, right?
Without getting too personal, my colon works exceedingly well. But, if I ever stray away from my regular diet, even slightly, I notice a difference the next day. I can't imagine how some people cope if they eat junk foods most of the time?
Most of us are well-aware that junk foods are generally unhealthy as a whole, but being constipating to our colon is probably their worst trait, making them the worst unhealthy colon foods you could eat.
Now you may be saying, "Well I eat many of these foods and have no problem with my bowel movements at all?" That may be true, but the longer you eat these types of constipating junk foods, the more prone you'll be to constipation and other colon related complications down the line.
Constipating Junk Foods
If you want to lose weight quickly then cutting out junks foods is a real kick-start in the right direction! The above list is taken from quick weight loss tip #1 and is worth looking at if you haven't already done so.
The ‘Junk foods’ listed above are generally seen to be unhealthy by pretty much all health advocates, nutritionists, dietitians, doctors and health services around the world, although I've added hard cheeses to this list as I think they're among the worst foods for a healthy diet and weight maintenance, but also a potentially colon constipating food despite them being a good source of calcium. There's a ton of far healthier foods that contain a good supply of calcium!
Many food and health industry representatives will always make an argument that certain 'junk foods' are fine in moderation. The point is, what exactly is 'moderation'? It can be different for different people, and, different people's definition of it can be different too. I believe all of the above processed junk foods are unfit for human consumption and should be cut out of the diet without any exceptions.
I know this might be easier said than done for many of you, but if you are eating junk foods, I encourage you to try to cut down on them as much as possible with intention to cut them out altogether over time. If you can manage to do this and replace them with healthier foods, then you'll give your colon and entire digestive system the respect it deserves which will pay you tenfold in health benefits.
I think most people know by now, that a 'healthy colon food' is a 'healthy high fibre food'. High fibre foods encourage regular bowel movements thus keeping constipation at bay.
Chronic constipation is a sure sign something isn't right, and, if left untreated, could very likely develop into a more serious disorder of the colon such as any of those already mentioned in the very first paragraph of this page.
Therefore, keeping constipation away by introducing healthy colon foods that are high in fibre, will significantly reduce the possibility of developing any of those more serious colon disorders. But remember, this needs to be done while reducing and eventually eliminating those 'unhealthy colon foods', namely junk foods and processed meat products.
High fibre foods include; fruit, vegetables and whole grains. These are discussed in a little more detail further down.
We are the only creature on the face of this planet that suffers from constipation, fact! Apart from domesticated animals of course that are fed 'CONSTIPATING WRONG FOODS' by their so-called caring but somewhat ignorant owners, with all due respect.
When I say eat a 'laxative diet', please don't get confused here. There's a world of difference between 'laxative' and 'diarrhoea'. When I say laxative, I mean a 'natural movement of the bowels'. It has to be almost effortless in my opinion. The only effort should be walking to the toilet. The rest should take no effort at all.
Have you ever seen a horse, cow, sheep, bird or any other living creature, that is eating its natural diet, have to push and strain in any way to empty its bowels? Of course not. In fact, if you watch them at all, it literally falls out of their rear end doesn't it? And that is how it should be.
So why is this not the case for us humans? Because our diet is far removed from natural. It is very often highly processed because we generally eat for pleasure, taste and to feel full, so we've altered our diet accordingly to satisfy these needs.
So, any food that is in any way constipating, meaning a person finds it hard to pass motion (defecate), is by definition an 'unhealthy colon food' and should be left out of that person's diet altogether or at the very worst eaten very rarely. Ultimately, you need to eat foods that are easily digested, easily absorbed and easily passed through the system relatively quickly. That time for me is 12-14 hours.
You'll need to observe how long it takes you to go to the toilet in the morning after the last meal of the previous day. You will also need to be aware of how different foods affect you and make changes accordingly.
Once on the toilet, you should have no problem at all sitting on the toilet for minutes only. If you need to take a magazine with you to pass the time then my advice is, "LISTEN UP!" This is not a good sign!
Start eating more fruit and well-cooked vegetables. Replace white bread with wholemeal or wholegrain bread and replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes if you can, or eat a mixture of both. You can also start eating high fibre cereal for breakfast, preferably with full-skimmed milk for the extra benefit of less fat in your diet. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Before taking a closer look at the most healthy colon foods, in my opinion, one more thing to consider is how YOU react to specific types of foods. For example, a banana is said to be high in fibre and therefore pretty good for your digestive system including the colon of course, agreed?
I however, personally find bananas rather constipating due to their hard starchy nature, so I don't eat them in their raw state unless they're very ripe and very soft. Even then I might eat them with soft dates to help the digestion. I mainly tend to eat bananas stewed with other fruit like prunes, or apples and dates. That's what works for me.
In complete contrast, I know people who can eat bananas with no constipating effect whatsoever, and even have the opposite effect?! Therefore, bananas are a 'healthy colon food' for some, but not for others.
So, without seeming to state the obvious, finding the best foods for YOU and YOUR COLON is very important for obvious reasons, as we're often very different despite being very similar. Listen to your body and find out what makes YOU constipated if you don't already know.
That said, the 'healthy colon guidelines' already discussed and the healthy colon foods listed below is a pretty good general way forward for most people.Back To Top
Fresh fruit is nature's natural 'detox food' as they contain lots of fibre and are loaded with antioxidants which help to combat free-radicals. This makes them some of the most healthy colon foods available for us humans and top of my list!
In addition, a variety of different fruits in the diet will provide a varied level of different vitamins and minerals including; Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B11, Vitamin C, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc and various Live Enzymes.
All fruit is classed as 'simple carbohydrates' as they're broken down and absorbed quickly by the body to be used as available energy.
Regarding the cleansing properties of fruit, simply stew some fruit in a saucepan on the stove and see how hard it is to clean the pan afterwards? You'll find it's extremely easy. It'll be the same for your entire digestive system which includes your colon of course. Try the same experiment with meat and potatoes and you will notice a distinct difference, especially the longer it's left? And pasta turns to a congealed gel if left overnight in a saucepan? That'll be the gluten (glue) no doubt.
Another experiment would be to see just how easy it is for lemon juice to cut through grease or oil from cooking utensils etc. Lemon juice is a great household cleanser as many already know as its been used for centuries. Try it for yourself and see.
All fruits are very cleansing to the system, as I found out during times when I fasted on fruit juices and lived on a fruit-only diet for certain periods of time. During these times I experienced many detox symptoms that were further aggravated when certain fruits such as oranges, kiwis and pineapples were consumed. This told me straight away that these fruits, and all fruits in fact, are very cleansing, but some fruits are more cleansing than others.
A fruit smoothie is a great way to get these healthy colon foods into your system. It's great for the entire digestive system as it easily passes through uninterrupted, but cleansing as it goes.
Be careful with bananas though as I've previously stated. They're very starchy and consequently constipating for some people.
Adding avocados makes it creamy. Adding 3-5 medjool dates to the mix makes a sweet and creamy texture. Mix it up and see what works for you.
If it needs more fluid to loosen it up a bit, apple and mango juice from a carton is a perfect addition to the above recipe. My kids and I used to wallop this down our throats!
We all know the benefits of fruit and the fibre contained within them. But there's also much controversy and popular belief that fresh fruit is not good for your teeth due to the natural fruit-sugar content? I have always taken this on board and just made certain I clean my teeth morning and night. I also give them a light brush or even rinse my mouth with water after eating, especially after fruit.
A qualified dental surgeon once told me to do this when I expressed my concerns about sugar and all the hype around it at the time. She seemed to be a little dismissive of the 'sugar-hype' actually, which suggested to me that it was over-exaggerated. I have no more problems than anyone else. In fact, I find my teeth are in pretty good shape considering my age of over fifty six years old now.
There are also health 'experts' that claim fruit is fattening due to the sugar content? How ridiculous this is. I have lived on fruit exclusively for weeks on end and people remarked that I should eat something as I was bordering on 'skinny'?!
The problem is not with fruit, rather the other foods mentioned further up, namely junk foods and fattening meats etc. In my opinion, and many others too, fruit is probably the most natural form of food available for the human body, because of its 'alive' nature and its quick and easy assimilation.
I know of one person that finds fruit aggravating to their system and therefore finds it hard to eat fruit in certain forms, if at all. If you're like this, then stick to the healthy colon foods listed below, which are various types of cooked and raw vegetables. As previously stated, you need to find what works best for YOU.
A sub-category of fresh fruits, dried fruits are a great source of fibre, especially dates, figs, plums (prunes), sultanas and raisins. They also provide Potassium for a healthy nervous system and Iron for the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, as well as being a good source of Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and Magnesium.
The nutrients in dried fruits become concentrated due to the reduction in water from their original state. This makes them power-packed energy snacks per weight ratio.
They also have the added benefit of being full of dietary fibre to keep your colon healthy and running smoothly.
I often gently steam dried figs to soften them as seen in the picture to the right. If you ate these for a day I'd be surprised if you suffered from constipation?
Syrup of figs is an age-old remedy for constipation and with very good reason. I have fasted on a mixture of juices and various dried fruits including; figs, sultanas and apricots that were soaked overnight in grape juice. I flushed my system with these liquids with tremendous effect!
My take on this is the same for fresh fruits further up, so please read that if you haven't already.
There are many salad vegetables that are actually classed as 'fruits'. The definition of 'fruit' in the English dictionary is; "Ovary of a Plant - the ripened seed-bearing ovary of a plant. It is usually considered to be sweet and fleshy, as in plums, but may be dry, as in poppies, or be a simple edible supporting structure, as in strawberries". Also; "Spore-producing Plant - a spore-producing part of a plant".
Therefore, a fruit is any part of a plant that contains a seed or number of seeds. This includes what are also known as 'vegetable-fruits' such as; Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Bell-Peppers, Pumpkins, Marrows, Squashes, Chili Peppers, Avocados, Aubergines (eggplant), Corn Cobs, Pea Pods, Bean Pods and Olives. In fact, even nuts are technically and botanically considered to be 'fruits'.
Nuts are not the most healthy colon foods in my opinion though. They can be difficult to digest for some but are fine in moderation.
If eaten at all, they're best eaten with some dried fruit like sultanas, figs or raisins to help break down and digest the fats. Chewing really well helps digestion tremendously, especially with nuts. More on that below.
In my experience, the most cleansing salad vegetables are tomatoes and olives. When combined with chopped bell peppers and lettuce they make an excellent colon cleanser.
As before, experiment to see what works for you.
There's a number of enzymes in your saliva that are activated as you chew and start to break down the food as you continue chewing. Most of us really don't chew our food well enough, despite having a head full of teeth for the job?!
So, remember to masticate (chew) your food really well to aid the digestive process which all starts in your mouth with saliva.
Cruciferous vegetables are those vegetables that belong to the 'Brassicaceae' family also called 'Cruciferae' and include; Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Garden Cress and other similar green-leaf vegetables.
Just like the salad vegetables further up, these vegetables are excellent colon cleansers that act like a broom throughout the intestinal tract.
They can be eaten raw if you wish but have an excellent mild-laxative effect when cooked. They can be steamed or gently boiled/stewed.
In fact, Quick weight loss diet #3 suggests cabbage soup which is an excellent laxative and colon cleanser.
Sauerkraut acts like an 'intestinal broom', making it one of the most healthy colon foods around. It can be home-made or shop bought and mixed with diced tomatoes, bell peppers and/or olives, or just about any other vegetable you fancy. It's traditionally eaten raw but can also be gently cooked for an excellent intestinal tract cleanser.
Sauerkraut is made from shredded cabbage and submerged in a brine liquid in a sealed jar. You can make it yourself easily enough, but I prefer to buy it off the shelf as it's so much easier, far quicker and no less healthy I'm sure. It's pretty affordable off the shelf too anyway.
As a colon cleanser, Sauerkraut can be eaten alone or mixed with other vegetables as previously mentioned, and is the ideal food that I introduce to the system after a longer fast, but that's for another discussion.
Common root vegetables for eating include; Carrots, Swede, Onions, Parsnips, Turnips, Beetroot, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes. Root vegetables are high in fibre so are great foods for a healthy colon. They are complex carbohydrates for slow energy release and offer a good supply of Potassium, Folate, Manganese and Vitamins A, B and C.
Root vegetables can be roasted, boiled, steamed and stewed. They can also be eaten raw but are rather hard to chew and also for the system to digest. The best way to eat any root vegetable raw is to grate it first and chew it really well!
Personally I think it's best to cook root vegetables quite well so they're firm to soft. Some people like hard veg and some prefer them well-cooked as I do, so it's personal preference you could say?
Well remember, we're talking about healthy colon foods and what works best for our digestion and our colon. I've already mentioned in #4 of the healthy colon guidelines further up, we want to make sure our diet is slightly laxative overall, in which case cooked root vegetables are the better option for me in my experience.
As I've said before, experiment and see what works best for you.
I rarely eat white potatoes nowadays as they're not as laxative as their sweet cousin. So for me, white potatoes aren't the ideal food for a healthy colon, as I notice a distinct difference after eating white potatoes.
If you compare mashed sweet potato to mashed white potato in a saucepan, you may see the mashed sweet potato's texture is more like a combination of a carrot, a white potato and a swede or butternut squash. I'm not talking about the colour, rather the texture. It's this texture that makes it slightly more laxative and a better option in my opinion for our digestive system in general, but more specifically for our colon of course.
Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are very similar in carbohydrates and calories, but in my experience sweet potatoes are far lighter on the system and therefore more easily digested and absorbed, which means they are easier on the colon too. I have also found them to be less fattening despite their calorie and carbohydrate content being similar or even higher than white potatoes.
Sweet potatoes contain lots of nutrients too, particularly beta-carotene which is an excellent antioxidant and where they get their orange colour from, just like carrots. Beta-carotene is also converted to Vitamin A, an essential vitamin.
Despite a lot of research suggesting there's a lot of fibre and nutrients in or just under the skin of potatoes in general, and other fruits and vegetables too in fact, I prefer not to eat the skin. I even peel apples. I think the skin is often difficult to digest and I don't particularly like the taste of it that much anyway.
The idea that you need the peel for roughage or fibre is nonsense to me. There's enough roughage and fibre in the actual fruit or vegetable itself in my personal experience and opinion.
Well-cooked sweet potato easily passes through the digestive tract making it one of my favourite healthy colon foods, which I happen to eat most days in one form or another. Wonderful!
Whole grains come to us in many forms and often shape the majority of our diet. They are high in complex carbohydrates and eating a variety of them offers a good supply of nutrients including; Phosphorous, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Selenium and B Vitamins such as Thiamine (B-1), Riboflavin (B-2) Niacin (B-3) and Folate (B-9). In addition, they are well-known for their high fibre content and the reason they're on this list of healthy colon foods.
Bread is without doubt probably the most eaten of all foods, at least here in the UK I believe. The 'sandwich' is considered one of, if not the most popular and commonly eaten foods of all. Wholemeal bread is considered to be very high in fibre and therefore an excellent food for constipation and our beloved colon?
Well, if we take bread and squeeze it in our hand it has a tendency to stick together. People are developing 'gluten intolerance' nowadays which is down to this glue-like action in bread and other whole grain foods. Gluten helps food to maintain its shape and form. The word 'gluten' comes from the word 'glue', and gluten is what holds foods together, just like glue.
Gluten is often very difficult for a person's digestive system to break down. And, to a greater or lesser degree, it can be happening in anyone without them knowing anything about it. That is of course, until there's a major intolerance when the body says "enough is enough!"
If you are suffering from constipation at all, and you do eat quite a lot of these high fibre whole grain foods, then I urge you for a couple of days to give up bread, rice, pasta and also white potatoes. Replace them with the other foods that I've talked about on this page and see how you feel.
High fibre whole grain cereals like bran flakes are a great way to get the colon moving as I'm sure you're well aware. This makes them a great quick fix for constipation and probably the best whole grain, healthy colon food around.
Just like our favourite, the wholemeal loaf though, bran flakes, like all whole grain cereals, contain gluten in abundance. So for many, particularly those who are gluten intolerant, they're far from ideal.
If you do suffer from coeliac disease, or mild gluten intolerance, and you aren't sure exactly what grains you can eat, then take a look at the gluten free list of grains at Coeliac UK.
For me personally, I don't eat many grains in any shape or form nowadays. I do find them very nice and all that, but after a few weeks of what you might call 'normal eating', my energy levels reduce. I also find them slightly constipating compared to when I'm on my regular diet of fruit and veg exclusively. So these are two reasons for me not to eat them and why they're down here at #6 on the list.
We've looked at the colon and talked about what are generally considered to be healthy and unhealthy colon foods. I've also offered some guidelines for the best eating practices to reduce the potential of developing chronic and short-term constipation. This in turn should help to encourage an overall healthier digestive system, a healthier colon and a healthier body. But, this will only happen if you put it into practice?!
Remember, chronic constipation is the first stage of major problems of the colon and of your overall health and well-being. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, and ranks second when men and women are combined.
Please take a look at the article yourself at www.cancer.org.
So, if you do suffer from constipation, even slightly, its paramount that you start making changes to your diet right away!
Start introducing healthy colon foods to your diet today. At the same time, reduce any unhealthy foods you may be eating and allow yourself to experience a healthier colon and better overall health both short and long-term. Don't waste another day thinking about it!Back To Top