What does the Colon do?
Part of the digestive tract, the colon is an organ often called the large bowel or large intestine. Your small intestine does most of the food digestion, extracting minerals and vitamins before the food moves to your colon. Then your large intestine absorbs water, minerals, and some of the remaining nutrients from your food. At the same time, bacteria process the fiber further and create helpful fatty acids.
Most of your bacteria live inside your large intestine. The good bacteria, normal flora, that live in your colon help prevent bad bacteria from multiplying and causing problems. You can supplement your diet with probiotics or yogurt, both full of healthy bacterial cultures that may promote digestion.
Bacteria also help break down fiber and help prevent constipation. Normal bacterial flora also secretes vitamin K and vitamin B. The gas that you produce is the result of the hard-working normal flora in your colon.
What foods are good colon foods?
Here are five top recommendations from Healthline.
- Dark leafy greens
- Milk (the protective effect of milk and yogurt is probably due in part to its calcium content and it includes vitamin D)
- Oatmeal (contains fiber).
Dietary fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. Because your cells don’t have enzymes to break it down, fiber gets to your colon mostly unchanged. Happily, fiber feeds the good bacteria in your colon, producing nutrients, including short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids can feed colon cells, reducing gut inflammation and improving digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. When the bacteria ferment the fiber, they also produce gases and can cause flatulence and stomach discomfort.
The average American eats 13 grams of fiber per day, but we should be eating 25-35 grams per day. There are two types of fiber:
- Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium.
- Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can help you if you struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber. [Mayo Clinic]
A high-fiber diet is good for your colon
- Normalizes bowel movements.
- Helps maintain bowel health.
- Lowers cholesterol levels.
- Helps control blood sugar levels.
- Aids in achieving a healthy weight.
- Helps you live longer.
Take care of your colon, and it will help take care of your health.
Vedas is minutes from I-45 (Houston’s North Freeway) in The Woodlands. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Source Healthline and digestive image BioNinja | University Hospitals Patient Resource