The colon is a part at the end of the large intestine that reabsorbs fluids and processes waste products from the body to prepare for a bowel movement.
Lilian Nyanzi, a nutritionist at Neulife Medical Centre, in Wakiso says occasional cleansing is good for your colon and your overall health because it averts constipation and facilitates regular bowel movements.
Colon cleansing reduces risks of developing colon cancer, relieves bloating and cramping, improves liver function as well as boost the immune system.
Foods that are rich in fibre support digestive health and prevent constipation. Fibre adds bulk to your stool and nourishes good bacteria in the gut.
Avocados are a known laxative for people having trouble with constipation. The fibre contained therein is not only good for constipation but also lowers your risk of colon cancer.
“Sesame seeds are rich in fibre, which adds bulk to your stool to enable bowel movements and stimulates peristaltic motion as food moves through the intestines smoothly. This reduces the risk of constipation and diarrhea, protects your colon and reduces the chances of gastrointestinal diseases and cancer,” she says.
Foods such as sweet potatoes, milk, raspberries, oatmeal, and dark leafy greens, are recommended. Another good addition to a colon diet are fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, lettuce, celery, broccoli, grains, seeds and nuts.
Note, however, that eating all these foods is likely to overload the system and you may develop diarrhoea with bloating. You are advised to add these foods to your diet gradually.
“Probiotics improve and restore gut health and are commonly found in fermented foods like yoghurt. They reduce inflammation and support regular bowel movements. A daily regulated intake of these foods are known to prevent digestive problems and the colon in particular,” says Nyanzi. Probiotics can curb inflammation and promote bowel regularity, which are factors for good digestive health.
Grains and legumes
Whole grains and legumes are also rich in fibre that cleanses the colon. Millet, for instance, is very rich in fibre ,which helps in healing gastrointestinal disorders like constipation.
Nyanzi says: “Make millet part of your diet to maintain a healthy gut, prevent peptic ulcers and colon cancer. It eliminates constipation, excess gas, bloating, and cramping.”
Juices and smoothies
You do not have to buy an expensive cleanser for the colon. Juices are popular colon cleansers and can be made from fruit and vegetables. These are rich in antioxidants, but keep them sugarless.
Juice blends contain some fibre and nutrients that benefit digestion and also hold water to keep you hydrated all day.
You can make apple juice, lemon juice, and vegetable juices, but smoothies are more recommended than juices for good colon health. This is because the fibre is lost during juicing as the pulp and skin of the fruits are removed, especially the skin.
She says: “Carrot juice improves digestive health and reduces the severity of constipation.”
Drinking a lot of water cleanses the colon naturally. Water transports waste through the colon to be passed out. It is advisable to drink warm water on an empty stomach for better results.
Lilian Nyanzi, a nutritionist at Neulife Medical Centre, Bweyogerere, says: “Drinking water before or after meals is important. Plain water, however, on an empty stomach often stimulates bowel movement.” A saline water flush is also good but better in the morning when the stomach is still empty.
Nyanzi, however, warns people with diabetes to avoid extreme diets that cleanse the colon, saying the have side effects.