CAT | Diet and Nutrition
Up to 80 percent of your immune system can be found in your gut, which means a properly functioning digestive system is the foundation for optimal health. Still, digestive diseases affect nearly 70 million Americans every year, resulting in more than 20 million hospitalizations and close to 250,000 deaths.i What can we do to change that?
At the heart of a healthy digestive system is a healthy colon (or large intestine). The colon is one of the seven channels of elimination and its primary function is to eliminate unwanted waste from the body. However, an unhealthy or sluggish colon can’t perform at its peak and may allow harmful toxins to build up inside the intestinal lining. This can result in a number of health problems affecting the colon and beyond. Here are 6 ways to love your colon every day:
- Colon hydrotherapy: In order for your digestive system and your whole body to function optimally, toxins that have accumulated must be purged from the system. Natural colon hydrotherapy is a safe and effective way to help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.
- Eat fermented foods:Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut help nourish the beneficial bacteria in the colon to support healthy digestive function. In addition, they provide support for the delicate intestinal barrier.
- Eat more fiber:A healthy colon requires bulk to eliminate regularly, and fiber helps provide that bulk. Aim for at least 35 grams a day from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits. If you have trouble getting enough fiber in your diet, try adding a natural flax-based fiber supplement that provides a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Avoid fibers that could be binding, such as psyllium, as they can leave the colon dehydrated.
- Drink plenty of water: Properly hydrating the colon will promote regular peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through the intestines) and help ease elimination. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of purified water each day.
- Get plenty of exercise: Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation and blood flow, which in turn supports the healthy function of your colon and your entire digestive system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
Consider an herbal colon cleanse: A natural colon cleanse formula made with fiber, magnesium hydroxide (to help hydrate the bowel) and herbal ingredients supports the body’s natural cleansing processes and promotes regular, healthy elimination.‡
Nuts are high in protein and make a delicious, satisfying snack—but did you know they can also help lower your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes? Using data collected over a five-year period through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), researchers from Louisiana State University analyzed the diets of more than 13,000 adults, specifically their daily intake of “tree nuts” including pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews. Here’s what they found:
Regular tree nut consumers—those who ate at least a quarter of an ounce of nuts daily—were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, the term given to a group of risk factors associated with heart disease and diabetes (including obesity, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels). The lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome may be linked to the fact that nut eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, which signals inflammation in the body and is one of the markers doctors use to evaluate the risk of developing coronary artery disease. The same group also had higher levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood, along with lower body mass indexes.
Adding a handful of nuts to the daily diet is a simple thing we can all do to support our daily health. Certain nuts (walnuts in particular) contain beneficial Omega-3 fats that can help balance the body’s inflammation response, along with heart-healthy fiber, vitamin E, potassium and amino acids, which is why Brenda Watson recommends them as part of her Love Your Heart eating plan. Just remember to watch your portion sizes, since nuts do contain some starch—and choose raw nuts that aren’t covered in sugar and salt (which can undermine their health benefits).