The colon, also known as the large intestine, connects to the end of the small intestine and is responsible for these important functions of the body:
- Absorption of water and minerals.
- The creation and absorption of vitamins.
- Storage for waste.
- Fermentation of indigestible compounds.
- Home to more than 500 species of bacteria.
Bacteria play one of the largest roles in overall colon health, as they affect not only the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, but also the immune system, hormones, our mood and behavior, and much more.
While supporting healthy bacteria in the body is important, maintaining colon health requires a holistic approach that includes supplements, diet, exercise, and even essential oils.
How to Support Colon Health
Digestive enzymes are natural compounds that help to breakdown fats, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, and lactose. These enzymes include lipase, amylase, protease, and peptidase.
Taking a digestive enzyme supplement when eating may help to maintain the normal function of the gut, and may provide relief from gas, bloating, and general discomfort.
Fiber is an important part of your diet and helps with bowel regularity, the absorption of nutrients, support for overall colon health, and may also contribute to healthy weight management, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Besides supplements, grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds are excellent sources of natural fiber.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are compounds that “feed” the bacteria in the gut, helping to make sure that existing colonies flourish and can do their job. Probiotics are live organisms that help to support existing colonies of bacteria in the gut, or replace lost bacteria due to poor diet, the use of medications, or other challenges.
Many of the healthy foods that we eat, including vegetables, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi are good sources of prebiotics and probiotics.
Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet is the best source of nutrients and natural fibers that support the gut. Keep these things in mind if you want to support the gut with your diet:
- Get enough fiber in your daily diet.
- Eat leafy greens, fermented foods, foods with live cultures.
- Limit bad fats found in vegetable oil and animals products.
- Use bone broth to help with leaky gut.
- Drink water and avoid alcohol.
Along with a healthy diet, some researchers suggest that exercise may play a role in the development of existing bacteria species found in the gut, and may also help to increase the variety of different bacteria species.
Some essential oils may also be useful for gut comfort. Certain plant oils like peppermint, lavender, fennel seed, ginger, and oregano may help to ease nausea, anxiety, and restlessness that can sometimes affect gut comfort.
Where to Shop for Colon Support Supplements
Colon support supplements are an ideal way to provide a helping hand to your body when diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough.
Brands like Dr. Mercola, Quality of Life, and Plant Therapy all have products that may help you to meet your colon health needs and are available on NHC.com. Before stocking any brand, an on-staff certified nutritionist verifies that the brand meets strict standards for quality and potency, so that you get the best product possible.