Role of diet in maintaining health of the colon
The importance of keeping the colon healthy cannot be overemphasized. The colon as I have stated in the past is the region of maximum generation and release of acid wastes in the body. Also, it is important to mention again that the acid produced in the colon causes diseases such as cancer locally in the colon and elsewhere in the body. If the health and wellbeing of the colon is not maintained other diseases, apart from cancer may occur in the body. These are the diseases that I have written about these past weeks in this column.
These diseases include intestinal disorders such as constipation, haemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps, diverticulitis, (diverticulosis), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. These are diseases that cause rectal bleeding. There are other diseases in other organs, which do not cause rectal bleeding but are influenced by the condition in the colon. We have diseases such as cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, heart attack, stroke and metabolic conditions such as diabetes.
In discussing the role of diet in maintaining the wellbeing of the colon we have to consider what we eat today in comparison with what GOD had recommended for man to eat from the time of creation. In all my writings, I have always described our present day food as being dead and this is because we over cook them. In cooking them for long periods, we destroy the nutrients in them and are left with non-nutritious substances. On the other hand, the Genesis 1:29 Diet recommended by the Creator, which is made up of raw vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grains and their oils are loaded with fibre, enzymes, vitamins (antioxidants), phytochemicals and trace elements. All of these, eaten regularly, together with water that was discussed last week, ensure that the colon is always in a state of optimal health.
What is this dietary fibre?
What first comes to mind when you hear the name, dietary fibre is, this is a fibrous kind of substance. The name is actually a misnomer in that this fibre has nothing to do with fibrous tissue.
According to The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC, dietary fibre consists of non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants.
Functional fibre consists of isolated, non-digestible carbohydrates that have beneficial physiological effects in humans.
Total fibre is the sum of both dietary and functional fibres.
The dietary fibre includes non-starch polysaccharides found in plants, such as cellulose, pectin, gum and hemicellulose. Others are fibre contained in oats and wheat bran, oligosaccharides, lignin and some resistant starch.
There are two main components of fibre; soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre can dissolve in water and it is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts. This type of fibre slows down the passage of food in the digestive tract. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water. It is metabolically inert and provides what is known as bulking. In bulking, this fibre absorbs water throughout the length of the digestive tract. This produces two distinct and important effects. Firstly, they increase the bulk of the stools and secondly, they speed up the passage time of food through the intestines. The end result is that passing out stools becomes easier and more frequent. This is very important in that it is the mechanism by which insoluble fibre cleanses, detoxifies the colon, reduces the acid waste load in the colon and prevents constipation. This helps to prevent those diseases that I mentioned above.
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