For individuals experiencing frequent bloating or constipation, could performing a colon cleanse help alleviate your symptoms?
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Individuals can clean out their bowels, colon, or large intestine by drinking more water and adding certain foods to their diet, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some may find that the practice helps decrease bloating or other digestive issues. While a colon cleanse is safe for most, the practice can cause side effects, like nausea or dehydration.
Natural colon cleanses can provide various benefits that include:
- Reducing bloating.
- Improving the immune system.
- Removing toxins from the body.
- Helping with weight loss.
- Decreasing the risk of colon cancer.
- While individuals may feel better after a natural colon cleanse, there is currently no research to support the medical benefits. (Cedars Sinai. 2019)
- Another type is known as hydrotherapy of the colon or irrigation.
- A healthcare provider performs this type of cleansing and sends water into the colon with instrumentation.
- This type of cleanse is not used to prepare individuals for a colonoscopy.
Cleansing the body safely can be done with ingredients from the local grocery store.
- Water will improve body function, including digestion and elimination.
- Use the color of urine as a guide.
- If it’s pale yellow, the body is getting enough water.
- If it’s darker, the body needs more.
Increasing Fiber Consumption
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest but influences:
- The rate of digestion.
- The absorption of nutrients.
- Waste movement, by helping to soften the stool. (Cornell University. 2012)
- Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, oats, lentils, peas, and almonds.
- Increasing fiber intake will help regulate the bowels and maintain overall colon health. (Cornell University. 2012)
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that have health and digestion benefits.
- Researchers believe they help to replace healthy bacteria and balance the healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the body, which maintains smooth digestion. (Mount Sinai. 2024)
- Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles are healthy sources of probiotics.
- They also come as supplements.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
- Both ingredients contain probiotics, and mixing them can help improve gut health.
- Individuals also believe that this concoction can help remove toxins from the body, but there’s no scientific evidence to support this.
- Individuals can try 1 tablespoon of raw honey and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a warm glass of water.
Juice and Smoothies
- Adding more fruits, including juice and smoothies, is a healthy way to stay hydrated.
- It also adds fiber and other nutrients to improve gut health.
- Bananas and apples are a healthy source of probiotics.
- Individuals can also add yogurt to the smoothies for extra probiotics.
- These elements can help improve the gut microbiome and regulate bowel movements.
Doing a colon cleanse should be safe for most, as long as the individual is not fasting at the same time or performing them too frequently. However, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider before changing eating patterns or trying new treatments or supplements, including a colon cleanse, especially for individuals who have an underlying condition.
Colon cleansing can come with risks that can include: (Cedars Sinai. 2019)
- Electrolyte imbalance
Doing occasional colon cleanses may not result in side effects, but the chances of side effects increase the longer or more often cleanses are performed. It’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider if experiencing any symptoms.
Improving Colon Health
The best way to improve colon health is by drinking enough water and eating foods that promote a healthy digestive system. Healthy approaches include:
- Increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
- Increasing whole grain intake provides fiber and more nutrients.
- Eating ground flaxseed improves digestion and elimination.
Rosenblum, C. S. K. (2019). Ask a doc: Are colon cleanses healthy? (Cedars-Sinai Blog, Issue. www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/colon-cleansing.html
University., C. (2012). Fiber, digestion, and health. (Health Services, Issue. health.cornell.edu/sites/health/files/pdf-library/fiber-digestion-health.pdf
Sinai., M. (2024). Lactobacillus acidophilus. (Health Library, Issue. www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/lactobacillus-acidophilus
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