5 Foods That Promote Colon Health

High angle view of green fruits and vegetables on plates
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Although you may already be thinking about your dinner menu for the evening, you may not be considering the fact that everything you eat has an impact on your health. We are bombarded with hype saying what -- and what not to -- eat daily. Step away from the fancy pills and shakes intended to help your colon and consider the natural, and less expensive, regular food options.


It sounds a little gross, but your entire colon is colonized with good bacteria and yeast.

These living organisms help you break down and remove waste from your body. They also keep the bad bacteria in check. Under normal circumstances, it should not be necessary to load your gut with probiotics, despite what the commercials say. However, if you are experiencing digestive difficulties, such as diarrhea or bloating, your germs might need a little help getting back in check. Fermented foods, such as yogurt or kefir, can help provide the boost of good bacteria needed to rebalance your system.

Dark Leafy Vegetables

The minute I say dark, leafy vegetable, most people envision a cluster of spinach. There are many other variations of dark leafies that include collard greens, kale, and even romaine. These plant foods provide a punch of fiber that helps clear your colon along with folate and a host of vitamins and minerals. It's important to note that all leafy vegetables are not created equally.

A cup of iceberg lettuce, for example, has nearly no nutritional value. Its main component is water. Rule of thumb: The darker the leaf the better the benefit.


This bulbous vegetable has long been researched for its natural antibacterial properties. Small studies have linked increased garlic consumption to decreased instance of adenomas -- non-cancerous growths -- in the colon.

The natural compounds within garlic, such as selenium, arginine, and ajoene to name a few, are responsible for the potential health benefits that include removing waste from the body and assisting in your body's self-repair mechanisms. Take note -- the studies only attribute the healing properties to raw garlic, powder, and oil, and do mention that an excessive intake of raw garlic can lead to symptoms of gastric upset including heartburn and diarrhea.

Flax Seeds

Sitting down to a big bowl of flax seeds probably doesn't sound optimal, but used as an addition to smoothies, cereals, and whole grain products, flax seeds give a boost to the fiber content of any meal and contain phytonutrients in the form of lignans. They also help to regulate bowel movements and are a natural source of the omega 3 fatty acids, which have a host of known health benefits.


Beans are a low fat, protein rich source of nutrients that actually feed the good bacteria in your colon with their healthy starches.

They are also a good source of folate and antioxidants, as well as the phytochemicals lignan and saponin. Saponins are the compounds that cause your beans to "sud up" when you wash them off in the sink, and more importantly the can help boost your immune system. Don't discard all legume choices if you hate one specific kind -- such as kidney beans. These highly versatile nutrients have varying flavors and work as a side dish or a main course.

Aside from the super foods mentioned, your colon can benefit from many natural products such as blueberries, cruciferous vegetables, and whole grains. Try to incorporate these foods into your diet slowly, as a sudden change in eating habits -- even if you're enjoying healthier foods -- can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas initially.


American Institute for Cancer Research. (n.d.). Foods That Fight Cancer. Accessed online July 17, 2015.

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Garlic Fact Sheet. Accessed online July 17, 2015.

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