We’ve covered the first two elements of the Four Elements colon cleanse – the Colon Cleansing Diet and the Detox Drink. Next up is the third element of our cleanse, the fiber supplements. Fiber is a crucial part of this cleanse, whether it comes from a supplement or from the foods you eat. It aids your digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and nourishing the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut.
Even if you strictly follow the high-fiber fruit and vegetable diet in this cleanse, you may not be getting enough fiber to ensure regular bowel movements. The American Dietetic Association recommends a daily intake of 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men, but the average American consumes only 14 grams of fiber each day. This is far below the recommended amount and one of the major reasons for the chronic colon toxicity and constipation that we see today. While you’re doing the cleanse, the best way to ensure that you are consuming enough fiber is by taking a good supplement.
What is the role of fiber in the cleanse?
Extra fiber is a healthy addition to anyone’s diet. It performs several functions in aiding digestion and improving your general health. Here are a few ways in which extra fiber will make your cleanse more effective.
Fiber cleans out your colon
Fiber reduces constipation and cleanses your colon by bulking up the fecal matter in your intestines. This speeds up the transit time of waste through your colon and gets that toxic material out of your body as quick as possible. Fiber’s role in bulking up fecal matter is well documented. In fact, the Food & Nutrition Board states that “Consumption of Dietary and certain Functional Fibers, particularly those that are poorly fermented, is known to improve fecal bulk and laxation and ameliorate constipation.”
One of the key benefits of bulking up your stool is that it loosens the old fecal material that is stuck to the walls of your colon. The average 30 year old American has an incredible 15 pounds of old fecal matter sitting in his gut, and healthy, regular bowel movements are the best way to clean this out.
Fiber maintains the balance of your gut flora
Another role that fiber plays is to nourish the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut. The 2001 CRC Handbook of Dietary Fiber in Human Nutrition states that fiber significantly increases the populations of these beneficial bacteria. These bacteria break down fiber and turn it into nutrients that are used to nourish and maintain the cell lining of your colon. This enables your body to retain more nutrients from high-fiber foods like plants. Bacteria like Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria also produce a number of vitamins that are important to various functions in the body (Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Thiamine and B12).
The type of fiber that you consume makes a difference. Easily fermentable, soluble fiber sources like psyllium and oat bran have less of an effect in bulking up your stool, but they provide more nourishment for your ‘good bacteria’. Conversely, insoluble fiber bulks up your stool but provides less nourishment for your gut flora. Examples of insoluble fiber include whole grains, carrots, cucumber and celery. To do an effective colon cleanse, you need to get enough of both types of fiber in your diet.
Other health benefits of fiber
If you didn’t already have enough reasons for increasing your fiber intake, you should know that the benefits of fiber extend far beyond simply cleansing your colon.
- Fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease.
According to a 2004 study of dietary fiber and heart disease, “dietary fiber was associated with a 14% decrease in risk of all coronary events and a 27 decrease in risk of coronary death”.
- Fiber can lower your cholesterol levels.
A 1999 study found that “Soluble fiber … was associated with small but significant decreases in total cholesterol.”
- Fiber reduces your risk of colon cancer.
A 2003 study of 519,978 Europeans found that “In populations with low average intake of dietary fiber, an approximate doubling of total fiber intake from foods could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by 40%.”
- Fiber reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Numerous studies across different ages, genders and ethnicities have supported this.
Can you get enough fiber from fruits and vegetables alone?
If you follow the high-fiber colon cleansing diet, you will be eating a lot more fiber than usual. However even this may not be enough. According to the American Dietetic Association, “Even with a fiber-rich diet, a supplement may be needed to bring fiber intakes into a range adequate to prevent constipation.” Getting up to the recommended 38 grams of fiber for men or 25 grams for women is difficult using diet alone, so that’s why we recommend the use of a good fiber supplement to boost your fiber intake.
Now you’ve read about fiber supplements, you can move on to the fourth and final part of our cleanse and start reading about probiotics.