Detox has become a term people commonly use in their everyday conversations. Almost everyone is familiar with its meaning, one that is slowly becoming synonymous with health. Housewives talk about it as a way to get rid of extra pounds or delay the skin aging process. Athletes all over the world do it to maintain a good figure. Specialists recommend it as a way to help ordinary individuals lead a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, detox is not a contemporary hot trend bound to disappear once with the arrival of a new one. Doing a detox does not necessarily imply following a diet where one should avoid eating certain foods in order to lose weight. Rather than that, it supports the body in reaching a particular weight easier and more naturally.
There is no need to struggle with protein-based diets if all we want is some cake. Balance is the key to everything. Our bodies know us more intimately than our mind is able to perceive. An excellent mind-body connection might be at the root of many expert advices in the near future. Moreover, body detox is far from being something new. Ancient medicine people advised not only their patients but healthy individuals as well to restrain from either eating certain food types or at all. Body cleansing was regarded as a very appropriate way to aid the healing process. In addition to that, occasional fasting was able to defend the organism against various diseases. It was also good for clearing the mind in order to enhance spiritual practices.
Today’s society needs to do it to an even greater extent. At the present moment, humanity faces air and water pollution like never before. More than one acre of forest is cut down every second. Fossil fuels cause unimaginable damage. Whereas these facts sound like a dystopian movie scenario, they are nothing more than today’s reality. The environmental circumstances make it compulsory for us to try and compensate for a change coming from the inside. A healthy mindset, a diet containing all food classes and occasional detox might be the temporary solutions in helping the body cope with the unfriendly circumstances.
A car needs gas to start. The TV needs electricity. Naturally, this complex mechanism called the human body also demands a particular fuel to fulfill daily tasks: food. One of the most critical processes involving both the body and food is digestion, vital for almost everything that happens inside the body. Anything, from hair to cuticles to heart and brain, is supplied with the help of the digestive system. Its constituent parts, the mouth, stomach, small intestine and colon play equally important roles. The digestion first begins in the mouth where certain enzymes found in the saliva together with the teeth break the food into pieces small enough as to be swallowed. After going down the esophagus, it then reaches the stomach, which does the same as the mouth, only this time with stronger enzymes, such as the gastric juice. Before entering the small intestine, juices coming from the liver and pancreas make it even more soluble.
The small intestine is the place where the exchange between the digestive system and blood stream is made. It is here where proteins, carbohydrates and fats are turned into substances pure enough to enter the blood stream without any complication. Once the process reaches the colon, nearly nothing of the original product is left. In the absence of minerals and vitamins, all the large intestine provisionally deposits is waste solids. This material resides inside the body for about 20 more hours before being evacuated through the rectum and anus. While it represents the digestive system’s last part, the colon is no less important than any former constituents. It is actually vital, so when things go wrong with the colon, most of the body suffers the consequences. From a wider perspective, a healthy colon means a healthy body.
The intestine is a long, coiled tube found between the stomach and anus, consisting of two fragments, the small intestine and the large intestine or the colon. The average length of the small intestine is 7 meters, but it can vary from 4 and up to 9 meters. By containing tiny projections called villi which in turn contain capillary blood vessels, it is here where the nutrients’ absorption takes place. Vitamins and minerals are separated from the useless material. After that, the colon’s muscular walls absorb excess moisture. The result is a semi-solid material. The colon is coiled in a single large loop, considerably smaller than the small intestines. Its length varies from an average 1.55 meters in women to an average 1.66 meters in men. The large intestine has extensive nerve connections. When faced with fear, anxiety or anger, the digestive system will usually provoke cramps, nausea or diarrhea.
The colon has four sections, each with a different set of properties:
- Ascending colon: located on the right side of the body, it removes excess water and sends the remaining vitamins and minerals into the blood stream
- Transverse colon: The colon’s upper part; feces from Partly because of the more solid matter found in the transverse colon, various types of cancer tend to appear in this area.
- Ascending colon: located on the large intestine’s left side, it absorbs the remaining vitamins and stores the feces until they are ready to be evacuated
- Sigmoid colon: the last part of the colon, it is the closest to the rectum and anus and transports the semi-solids from the descending colon in order to be eliminated from the body.
The Intestinal Flora
The human intestinal flora contains up to the date around 700 known species of bacteria, good or harmful. Because they house such a high number, more than any other organ, the intestines are vital to one’s health. Much of our immune system is located inside them.The bacteria’s existence is, to a large extent, closely related to a healthy digestive system. Balance is required from all points of view. To maintain a properly functioning digestion, the individual should pay close attention to many factors. Good food in moderate portions prevents the risk of indigestion and toxins accumulation. A clean environment with little air and water pollution keeps one far away from the danger of harmful compounds. A positive mindset allows people to make the right decisions in regards to everything surrounding them. All these elements are of equal importance when it comes to a healthy gut flora.
Fortunately, there are increasingly more people watching for their health. Also, the body has its own mechanism of both protection and perpetuation of beneficial bacteria: and use of probiotics and consumption of prebiotic foods.
Probiotics are a class of microorganisms that support the good bacteria’ s natural activity. They are mainly found in the intestines. In order to stop the harmful bacteria’s negative impact, they multiply and attach themselves to the gut’s walls, thus creating a protective layer. A healthy digestive system is able to break down all types of food. Even when combining food groups that are not supposed to be consumed together, it can still digest them. In such cases, the result may be painful indigestion.
An active intestinal flora is also sustained by another compound, namely the prebiotics. They are found in foods like beans, garlic or bananas. Inside the intestines, toxic bacteria survive and prosper only if the circumstances allow them so. That is, if the environment is an oxygenated one. In this situation, oxygen enters the intestines and allows them to multiply. This can produce severe damage. By introducing beans, bananas or leaks in the diet, one can help alleviate the irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Probiotics are beneficial because they contain certain substances able to eliminate the oxygen from the intestines. When combined with probiotics, their function is improved.
Toxic Colon: Causes and Symptoms
The colon is more than just another organ inside the body. It is essential. Without it, the body would not be able to evacuate the semi-solids obtained after the vitamin and mineral absorption. Like any other organ, it is prone to damage produced by free radicals and toxins. Storing large quantities of material for more than 10 hours makes it more susceptible to this. There are various causes which can lead to a toxic accumulation:
- Poor diet: while it may be easier to buy junk food on the way to work, it is better for one’s health to prepare a simple sandwich in the morning. It does not take long and it will prove to be beneficial for the digestive system in the long run. Aside from this, the meat excess is not only harmful but it was also shown to be one of the leading causes of colon cancer. Various research projects indicated that genetics play a modest role in the cancer development. Most of their results showed a weaker immune system and overall protection in individuals with high mean and dairy Furthermore, the participants who increased their fruit and vegetable intakes lowered the risk.
- Stress: Recent studies have shown the connection between the colon’s muscular tissues and emotions. An experiment was done on a number of 31 participants aimed to indicate towards the way emotional stimuli influence the colon’s reactions. This happened either through exposure to stressful situations or emotional strain. The results were the following:
- Most of the participants registered increased mucus secretion and stronger colon contractions
- The response to exterior stimuli was both the result of the stimulus’ action itself and the individual’s attitude towards it; some of them were more prone to childhood related traumas, while others were not
- Increased blood pressure and sweating
The researchers have also stated that emotional instability was more frequent in participants with colonic spasms. In addition, they made a connection between ulcers, colon hyperactivity and emotions such as anger and grudge. The individuals who experienced powerful, negative emotions were more prone to suffer from ulcers. Sufficient well-conducted research projects have been made on the subject to validate their results.
- Low water intake: This particular factor usually leads to constipation. Water is vital for the body’s internal It is no different when we talk about digestion. Once broken down, the food becomes a sum of vitamins, minerals, water and waste material. The first two compounds are released into the blood stream at the small intestine’s level. Few vitamins reach the colon. The large intestine’s muscles contract and absorb the remaining nutrients and the water. This leaves behind the solid material. In the absence of water, the process is slowed down. The intestinal walls partly lose their flexibility when that happens. The semi-solids are evacuated hard when there are little fluids. There are cases when the solid material remains inside the large intestine for longer than usual. When this happens, toxins remain inside the body instead of being eliminated. A visit to the doctor is compulsory when dealing with frequent constipation.
Other causes which may lead to high colon toxicity include: lack of exercise, drug addiction, environmental factors and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Regular bowel movement helps maintain a proper colon activity. Colon toxicity can lead to flatulence, constipation, skin problems, weight gain and low energy levels. In worst case scenarios, it can even cause colon cancer. Americans have hundreds of thousands of cases annually. Half of the patients die shortly after a diagnosis is established. Even so, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than half of the individuals may be saved if diagnosed at an early stage and treated as soon as possible.
Waste material accumulation can also cause diverticulitis. This happens when the diverticula (pouches in the colon’s wall) get inflamed after being filled with semi-solids. Constipation, muscle spasm and abdominal pain are some of its symptoms. Few cases require surgery. The patients fully recover after it. If it’s not a serious issue, it can be treated with bed rest and a treatment meant to reduce inflammation.
The colon is able, like most organs, to maintain its health through self-conducted processes. It does not require much to do so. A diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and lean meat, a right amount of fluids and an optimistic attitude are enough if one seeks to support its regular activity. Whereas it might sound like a lot of diligence is needed to do so, these actions are no more than simple steps in leading a healthy life. Nonetheless, the body needs cleansing from time to time. The following are home remedies for colon detox. Some of them have been used for centuries. Others have a more modern touch. While most of them are safe for everybody, a doctor’s advice should be sought beforehand as to avoid possible complications.
- Apple juice
Apple juice is one of the most efficient and commonly used home remedies for colon cleanse. Regularly drinking apple juice improves bowel movement which in turn leads to a faster waste material evacuation. Apple also works wonder for the liver. The organ is the main responsible for removing toxins and free radicals out of the body. By sustaining the liver’s function, apple juice has a direct effect on the microbes present in the intestinal flora. Aside from drinking the juice, one can also eat a fresh apple as part of a detox program. While following it, the individual should resume to apples and water for a certain number of days. Because this is a rather strict detox type, it should not be used very often. A specialist’s advice is recommended in regards to apple juice cleansing frequency and duration.
- Vegetable juice
Similar to the apple juice cleansing program, a detox based on vegetable juice involves avoiding other foods for as long as the detoxification takes place. It is most efficient when prepared with vibrant colored vegetables. Due to their higher antioxidant levels, they are more active when fighting toxins. Green vegetables in particular are known for their strength. The juice can be prepared with any vegetable available on the market. From spinach to carrots and even squash and corn, they can all be used. Imagination is the limit. The juice should be drunk immediately after preparation, as certain compounds become toxic if exposed to oxygen for extended periods
- Prebiotic foods
If probiotics are the body’s own way of helping itself( prebiotic supplements are available on the market as well), prebiotics are nature’s manner of supporting our digestion. Aside from encouraging the bowel movement, they also contribute to the beneficial bacteria’s growth. Recent studies have shown that prebiotics a reliable ally against colon carcinogenesis. Moreover, when combined with prebiotic supplements, their effect was even more visible. One does not have to be a specialist to realize how foods containing prebiotics work. If the average individual understands that beneficial bacteria only thrive in oxygen-free environments, then gasses would not be so embarrassing anymore. One can quickly notice that after eating prebiotic foods, beans in particular, there is a temporary bloating sensation. That is because the active compounds positively impact the colonic bacterial ecosystem’s composition. Following their fermentation, the digestive system does not only release toxins through the waste material, but accumulated oxygen as well. By adding prebiotic foods in the diet, one can enjoy a healthy digestion. Because of how they react inside the body, their constituents represent a real defense against cancer cells.
- Lemon juice
Another fruit used for a healthy colon is the lemon. Lemon juice contains high doses of citric acid, beneficial for the gastric juice’s production. Known for its antioxidant properties, lemon juice is also good for the liver. By sustaining the toxins removal process, it encourages the bowel movement and a faster and easier feces evacuation. The less they remain inside the colon, the better. This way, the toxins release that could follow the water and vitamin absorption is blocked
Lemon juice is also used as part of weight loss diets. The detox program developed by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s is currently a criticized one. Known as the “master cleanse”, it involves the replacement of food with lemonade and tea. There is a considerate number of people, especially women, who do such cleanse. Depending on the program’s time period, it can be either harmless or damaging. In spite of being known for its antioxidant properties, no present study confirms its efficacy in terms of toxin removal. Also, the weight loss may be the result of the temporary food removal. By doing so, the body is deprived of essential vitamins and minerals. Whereas the impact is minor after a master cleanses, if repeated, the effects can prove to be negative in time.
- Sea salt
In terms of bowel movement action, the sea salt water cleanse is different from all other homemade colon cleanse remedies. An apple or lemon juice detox help remove the toxins and encourage a natural evacuation. As opposed to them, a sea salt water cleanses forces the bowel movement. The patient should dedicate a full day to such a program in order to correctly and safely do it. The process is not a complicated one. It does imply patience. Here are the steps:
- mix a tablespoon of sea salt with a glass of water, then bring the mixture to a boil
- let it cool until it becomes slightly warm
- drink it slowly first thing in the morning
- lay down and massage the colon area
The sea salt water will soon start to force the bowel movement. Mild headaches may occur. When doing this type of colon cleanse, the body needs more water, as the sea salt can lead to diarrhea. In order to avoid dehydration and possible complications, simple soups or fruit juices are welcomed. Individuals with a history of heart disease should avoid this cleanse method. Even when in good health, one should consult a doctor.
- Natural laxatives: plants
People have been using the following plants for centuries to alleviate digestive system’s issues and provide relief from constipation. These are used as infusion because the used part is either the leaf or the flower(generally dried): dandelion, blackthorn, marshmallow, violet, nettle, senna. Flaxseeds, mustard and plantain are valuable for their seeds; the mustard seed could irritate the stomach so it is safer to avoid their consumption unless indicated.
Olive oil is beneficial in case of constipation. It is usually administrated on an empty stomach, in small doses( two teaspoons). Most of the enumerated plants are safe for general use. Nevertheless, in the case of allergic reactions, the person in question should immediately ask for a doctor’s advice.
An enema is the injection of a liquid(simple water or mixed with herbs or coffee) into to the colon. When one wants to clean the body waste, it can prove to be very useful. Patients under certain treatments have confessed that it is beneficial in alleviating certain indigestion symptoms. Nowadays, enema bags with long rubber tubes are available in drug stores. A plastic head is attached at the end of the tube. Before administration, the bag is filled with warm water and the tube’s nozzle is lubricated as to avoid irritation. The one using it then inserts it into the anus. The patient should lay down, with the nag about a meter and a half above him. The individual should retain the water inside for a couple of minutes after the bag was emptied. He can go to the bathroom afterward.
While it may seem like a quick solution of evacuating the semi-solid material, there are some drawbacks to using an enema. Firstly, if frequently done, medicines affect the intestinal flora. Part of the good bacteria is flushed out together with the waste material and toxins. This can lead to a weaker intestinal activity in time. Secondly, the do not eliminate semi-solids located inside the colon’s upper portions. Rather than that, they are functional when the lower portions are involved. Enemas are most beneficial if done periodically and under medical supervision. It is not safe to rely on them for relief from constipation. In time, external factors can weaken the bowel’s functions.
The body’s general health is strongly related to a properly functioning digestive system. While each of its parts are of equal importance, the colon can easily be considered its powerhouse. The large intestine is responsible for removing the waste material full of toxins. It represents one of the most productive environments for beneficial bacteria to thrive in; through this, it contributes to the immune system’s strength. The colon is also connected to the nervous system various nerve endings, so its well-being affects our mindset. Currently, there are plenty of methods to maintain a clean and healthy colon. Be it through home-made remedies or detox medication, one should always be considerate in regards to the colon.