Inflammation and Colon Health is very Important.
One of the key factors in colon health is the onset and perpetuation of inflammation in
the digestive tract. The body’s digestive system is a primary target organ for all types of stress. This is primarily because the moment the body perceives high stress levels, it shuts down digestion and healing processes to conserve resources for dealing with those stresses. This is the “Grizzly Bear” effect I speak about so often.
Additional insults to the digestive system occur with intake of excess dairy, simple carbohydrates and fatty foods. Most so-called “junk” foods are very stressful to the system and contribute little nutritionally. Even worse, one of the most significant problems with processed foods is the almost universal lack of natural fiber. Fiber is considered an “inert” ingredient in food and, because it adds a lot of weight (consider the difference in density of white bread and heavy-fiber traditional rye or oat bread!), food is routinely stripped of fiber to make it easier to ship and process.
Lack of fiber, in turn, contributes to slow bowel motility. Foods stay in the gut far too long and begin to ferment and rot. This results in gas, indigestion and chronic constipation. Many physicians have never been trained in basic nutrition concepts and are unaware how dangerous to long-term health chronic constipation can be. In fact, it is not unusual to hear doctors tell their patients that “one or two bowel movements a week is probably just normal for you”! It’s not normal to have less than at least one or two bowel movements daily!!
This epidemic of chronic constipation leads to any number of health issues including, chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and multiple indigestion and nutrient absorption issues.
It is especially critical to have a bowel movement shortly after awakening in the morning. Healthier people have 2 or 3 daily, often after meals. If constipation is an issue for you, what can you do?
What to do for Constipation?
First of all, take a hard look at your hydration. Adequate intake of fluids, especially plain, pure water, is vital to digestive health. I recommend a quart or liter of water daily for each 50 pounds of body weight. And that is water, not coffee, tea or juices (other than fresh vegetable juice with apple or pineapple). Drink adequate amounts of water is the first line of defense in repairing and preventing inflammation and deterioration of the digestive tract due to constipation.
If your digestive tract is already inflamed, consider a “crock-pot” diet. Soft cooked foods and fresh vegetable juices for 3-6 weeks to allow your digestive tract to heal with a minimum of irritation. Be careful with salads and other rough, raw foods until you heal.
The same for any extra fiber or bowel supplements you take. There are many excellent ones available. I prefer ones that emphasize soluble fiber. Psyllium works really well for constipation and it is inexpensive but it can also be harsh, like the raw salad mentioned above. Oat fiber, okra, slippery elm bark are great fibers which are more soothing. In fact, adding a few large spoonfuls or half a cup of any of these in the soups above is an excellent way to increase fiber without irritation.
Magnesium is almost universally deficient in people with chronic illness. The best source is dark green veggies. Supplements can also be useful because they help relax the nervous system and function as a laxative as you go to higher doses. Take a dose at breakfast and a double dose in the evening to encourage that morning bowel movement.
A very useful clinical indicator of bowel toxicity is the Urinary Indican Test. In my experience, the Indican urine test is an excellent introductory or screening test for chronic bowel issues. It can also be useful to monitor ongoing bowel toxicity. Indican is produced by bowel byproducts, particularly toxins such as excess lectins from incomplete protein digestion, showing up in the kidneys. In other words, it means your bowel is toxic enough that the kidneys have to filter digestive tract toxins instead of the bowel excreting them. Also, note that tryptophan, your relaxation amino acid, is the key protein not being handled properly. Another reason excess stress is such a vital factor in digestive tract health.
And, always, always, always take appropriate probiotics. Even several times daily in severe or chronic cases of indigestion and constipation.
Unresolved inflammation and digestive tract symptoms are at the heart of many, if not most chronic health issues. Regular bowel habits and digestive tract supplementation goes a long way to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
In good health,