In my previous blog on this topic I discussed the importance of Bowel Health. In this blog I will present some examples of how we can maintain a healthy bowel. The first way is through a proper diet. The inner lining of the bowel is directly exposed to everything we eat. The best diet for a healthy bowel and for our general health is the Mediterranean diet or the Japanese diet. They are actually very similar. These diets are rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein sources such as fish and poultry. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods, especially the ones rich in animal fats, contain substances which when digested are converted to carcinogenic compounds (i.e. compounds that cause colon cancer). This is why trans fats in beef and pork may predispose us to colon cancer in the long run. Processed foods also often contain preservatives and artificial coloring agents. All these compounds are toxic to our cells and can also act as carcinogens.
Another very important point is to keep your natural population of good bacteria at a high level. This keeps the bad bacteria in check, and this in turn keeps the exposure of bowel cells to toxic and carcinogenic compounds to a minimum. The best way to do this is to drink kefir or sour milk. These two products are filled with probiotics (i.e. the good bacteria). For those of you who are lactose intolerant or if you simply do not want to drink kefir all the time you can easily supplement with probiotic products.
Another thing to keep in mind is that oral antibiotics kill all bacteria in the bowel. When this occurs all the benefits of good bacteria are abolished. Upon stopping the use of an antibiotic the bad bacteria have room to thrive and become the predominant occupant of your digestive tract. The consequence of this is a higher level of toxic compounds which are not only toxic to the cells lining the bowel but are also toxic to the entire body after absorption. This is why antibiotics should only be used in very serious infections. Doctors often forget about this and over prescribe antibiotics for any infection, even viral ones in which case antibiotics have no beneficial effect at all. This also leads to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, something that is a growing concern in our hospitals.
Finally, it is very important to have a diet rich in fiber or to supplement with fiber. Fiber prevents constipation and is very healthy to our intestinal cells. It also prevents cancers of the bowel. Some products that are rich in fiber are seeds and vegetables. Flax seeds and Chia seeds, in addition to providing fiber, also contain mucilaginous compounds. The compounds form a jelly like substance when exposed to water which soothes the inner lining of the bowel and prevents trauma to the inner lining from hardened food particles.
The overall message is this: keep your bowel healthy for overall health by eating a Mediterranean diet, stay away from junk food, eat lots of seeds and vegies and keep the good bacteria happy. That’s all for bowel health. Stay healthy my friends and have an awesome Halloween!