A healthy colon is essential to an efficiently functioning digestive system and to overall good health. When one part of your digestive system isn't working properly, it can interfere with the overall process of breaking down and absorbing nutrients from food and removing waste from the body.
What Is the Colon?
The colon, also known as the large bowel or large intestine, is an organ that is an important part of the digestive system; the group of organs that allow us to eat and to use the food we eat to fuel our bodies. The colon removes water and some nutrients and electrolytes from partially digested food, and sends the remaining waste to the rectum to be eliminated from the body.
The Role of the Colon in Digestion
The colon plays a critical role in how our bodies use the food we eat. The digestive process works in the following way:
- As food enters the mouth, it is chewed by the teeth into smaller pieces. Once swallowed, the food travels down the esophagus which connects to the stomach.
- In the stomach, food is further broken down into liquid by hydrochloric acid (HCL), enzymes, and muscular contractions, then passed on to the small intestine.
- In the small intestine, food is broken down even further with the assistance of the pancreas, liver and gallbladder. It is in the small intestine where all of the important vitamins and nutrients in food are absorbed into the body.
- What is left over, which is mostly liquid, moves into the large intestine, or colon. The water is absorbed in the colon, bacteria in the colon break down the remaining material, and the colon then moves the leftover material into the rectum.
- The rectum is like a storage-holder for this waste. Muscles in the rectum move the waste, called stool, out of the body through the anus.
Healthy eating is essential for your overall health, but having a low-calorie, high-fiber diet that includes mostly fruits and vegetables is important to a healthy colon. Exercise and healthy habits like avoiding excess alcohol and smoking are also important to good colon health. If your colon isn’t in good health, you may experience numerous digestive issues like bloating, gas, pain, constipation or diarrhea. In fact, emerging research is continuing to show that gut health is directly linked to our overall health.
What Causes an Unhealthy Colon?
There are many things that can lead to an unhealthy colon, and most of them are related to diet and lifestyle. Eating habits such as overeating, not eating in a way that respects or supports digestion, poorly combining foods, poorly timing meals or eating too frequently or infrequently, eating while stressed, not chewing your food thoroughly, not eating enough fiber in the diet, not drinking enough water, eating unhealthy and difficult to digest foods, eating foods that cause inflammation in the body—all of these dietary habits can result in poor colon health.
Lifestyle factors like lack of exercise, lack of sleep, excessive stress, or exposure to toxins in the environment can also lead to impaired colon health. While all of these factors are necessary to consider when it comes to digestive health, perhaps the most important factor to consider is the balance of the gut microbiome.
The 'gut microbiome' is made up of the trillions of microorganisms that live in your intestinal tract. These microorganisms, mainly comprising bacteria, are involved in many functions critical to your overall health and wellbeing. We have both “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut microbiome, and it is ideal for us to maintain a certain ratio of these good and bad strains of bacteria.
The ideal ratio of gut bacteria is composed of 90% “good” bacteria and 10% “bad” bacteria. Unfortunately, however, due to poor dietary and lifestyle practices, most people have the inverse ratio of 10% “good” bacteria and 90% “bad” bacteria, and often suffer digestive issues as a result.
The gut microbiome can easily be thrown out of balance, and instead of being populated by beneficial bacteria strains like various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces, it becomes populated with harmful bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and parasites.
Parasites are especially damaging to gut health, as these creatures not only steal nutrients from their host (in this case us), they also eliminate toxic waste, damage body tissues, and compete with other microorganisms that are necessary for gut health and overall health.
How to Cleanse the Colon
To cleanse the colon effectively, we want to focus on both flushing the colon of built up waste, and also eliminating harmful creatures like parasites from the digestive tract. After flushing the colon, we’ll want to rebuild the health of the colon with certain foods, herbs, and supplements.
To flush the colon of built up waste is relatively simple. The most important things to do are to:
- Be adamant about not overeating, as it is difficult on the digestive system and leads to more buildup of waste in the colon. Aim to eat only at designated meal times, and to eat enough food for nourishment, but not so much that you become overly full.
- Avoid toxic chemicals, oxidized oils, and processed sugars in foods that lead to inflammation in the gut.
- Eat simple, easily-digested, whole foods, focusing mostly on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. It’s important that you eat high-fiber foods, as fiber supports the elimination of waste from the colon. You can also supplement with psyllium husks if you’d like to add a little extra fiber in the diet.
- Drink a lot of water. This is one of the most important points for cleansing, as water is the universal flushing agent and hydration is essential for the health of every function in the body.
- Move your body. Regular exercise helps to improve circulation and elimination of waste, so aim to stay active.
Eliminating parasites from the body is not quite as simple as flushing the colon, as these creatures have evolved over millions of years to become adept at their way of life, and are experts at avoiding detection and elimination from the body’s immune system. Thankfully there are still ways that we can get rid of these unwanted creatures, and even some great Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
It’s important to note that there are safe ways to do a DIY parasite cleanse, and there are unsafe ways to do a DIY parasite cleanse. Unsafe ways to do a DIY parasite cleanse include using harmful anti-parasitic agents like turpentine or strong medications, as well as being too abrupt with the cleansing process, consuming too high of doses of anti-parasitic supplements, and taking extreme measures that are harmful to the body.
When doing any kind of cleanse, you want to be as gentle and kind to the body as possible, as the process of detoxification can be taxing on the body. Here we will discuss safe and effective ways that you can do a DIY parasite cleanse in the comfort of your own home:
Take an Herbal Parasite Detox Supplement
One of the most effective ways to naturally get rid of parasites is to take an herbal formulation that was skillfully formulated for eliminating parasites. Our Parasite Detox Tonic, for example, is an all-natural, organic herbal extract of three of the most effective herbs for eliminating parasites: green black walnut hulls, wormwood, and cloves. Unlike many other parasite detox formulas that contain these herbs, we have extracted the herbs into a formula that offers concentrated therapeutic dosages, which are not only more effective, but more convenient to take, as many herbal parasite cleanses require one to take 10-20 capsules of dry herbs that are less easily absorbed by the body.
These three herbs are considered the most potent parasite killing herbs by most functional medicine practitioners. Taking an herbal parasite detox supplement and following the recommended protocol of that supplement is one of the best ways to get rid of parasites naturally.
Avoid Foods that Feed Parasites
Of course, it makes no sense to try to eliminate parasites if you are also eating and living in such a way that supports a thriving community of parasites. Most parasite cleanse protocols ask that the person undergoing the cleanse avoid certain foods such as gluten, dairy, pork, raw fish, and foods containing high amounts of sugar, as these are all considered foods that have the potential to either host or feed parasites.
Consume Anti-Parasitic Foods
There are numerous foods that contain anti-parasitic properties. Including these foods in your diet is a great way to support your DIY parasite detox cleanse. Some of the best foods for supporting the elimination of parasites are:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Cucumber Seeds
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Cayenne Pepper
- Raw Honey
- Papaya Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Bitter Leafy Greens (Dandelion, Lettuce, Arugula, etc.)
For more information on this subject, read our blog "Parasite Cleanse Diet".
Supplement with a Binder
Parasites accumulate heavy metals and other toxins in their bodies, and when parasites are killed, they release these toxins into our body, and this can be harmful to our health. Because of this, it is especially important that when doing a parasite cleanse you have some sort of binder that can bind to the heavy metals and toxins that are released and can safely and effectively eliminate them from the body. We recommend using Fulvic Acid as a binder, as it is not only a powerful chelator that binds to toxins and eliminates them safely, it is also very gentle on the body and offers numerous other health benefits.
Post DIY Parasite Cleanse
After doing a colon cleanse and parasite detox cleanse, it is very important that you focus on rebuilding colon health. A cleanse can alter the balance of the gut microbiome, so we want to be sure that we do what we can to restore balance in the gut and what we can do after a cleanse to maintain our gut health. The most important and helpful things we can do for our gut are to:
Supplement with Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial strains of bacteria. When taken as a supplement, they can help to restore balance and the ideal ratio of gut bacteria in the gut microbiome. Be sure to consume high-quality probiotic supplements as quality is especially important for determining the effectiveness of the supplement.
Focus on Eating a Healthy Diet
To maintain gut health, focus on eating a whole-foods diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. High-fiber foods are known to help keep the gut in good health, and the nutrients in whole foods are needed by the body to continue functioning properly. Additionally, it is important to avoid unhealthy and toxic foods that lead to inflammation and poor gut health. Be sure to stay hydrated as well.
Supplement with Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes assist with the process of digestion and help to maximize absorption of nutrients from food. Supplementing with digestive enzymes is a great way to improve gut health, especially when restoring the gut after a cleanse.
Avoid Habits that Lead to Poor Gut Health
Perhaps the most important factor for maintaining gut health post-cleanse is to avoid those habits that lead to poor gut health in the first place. This means to avoid eating unhealthy foods, to avoid eating in an unhealthy way, to practice genuine self-care, and to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals in the diet and environment that damage gut health. Equally important, it is necessary to avoid common sources of exposure to parasites to avoid becoming re-infected. Parasites are commonly found in raw meat and fish, unwashed vegetables, contaminated soil, and on easily contaminated surfaces like handrails, bathrooms, and other public environments. The best way to avoid becoming infected is to stay on top of your hygiene and to avoid common sources of exposure when possible. Read our blog about a Parasite Cleanse Diet for more information.
How Often Should One Do a Colon Cleanse?
Exactly how frequently one should do a colon cleanse or a DIY parasite cleanse depends upon their personal circumstances and state of health. As a general rule, doing a cleanse as little as twice a year, or as frequently as once each season, is a nice rhythm for cleansing to maintain a healthy colon.
The health of our body is directly connected to the health of our colon and digestive system. Many modern dietary and lifestyle habits can lead to poor gut health, and as a result, many people suffer from numerous health conditions that have their underlying cause in the gut.
An effective way to restore gut health is to undergo a natural colon cleanse. Cleansing the colon of built up toxins and intestinal parasites, and rebuilding colon health with proper diet, probiotics, and enzymes is a great way to reset the colon and to make significant improvements in one’s health.