As we begin this month focusing on detoxification, we’d like to share some fun/interesting/disgusting facts about your colon and you. While most “detox” kits are just laxatives, detoxification involves many organs and systems in your body. Throughout this month we will keep you informed on the different aspects of detoxification. Today, we are beginning with the end, so to speak.
· Your large intestine is about 5 feet long (1.5m). Its job is to remove water and remaining nutrients from food before preparing the waste to be passed as stool.
· Over 700 species of bacteria live in your colon. They perform a lot of useful functions from protecting us from invading pathogens to creating vitamins such as Vitamin K, and Vitamins B1, B2, and B12
· Bacteria in the colon also break down parts of food (fibre) that our own bodies can’t. This produces mainly nitrogen and carbon dioxide (gas) with small amounts of methane, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide to give gas (flatus) its unique odor.
· Having a properly functioning colon enables your body to effectively eliminate many harmful compounds including excess cholesterol, estrogen, some environmental pollutants and even arsenic (to a certain limit, of course).
· Not having a properly functioning colon inhibits the above processes as well as provides for autointoxication where toxic substances in your feces get reabsorbed into your body because they sit in your colon too long.
· Ideally, you should poop about 20 minutes after eating every meal. The new food entering your gastric system should signal down the line to push the “oldest” meal out. Imagine filling a hose with golf balls. When you put a new one in one end, an old one will come out the other end.
· It takes between 12 - 48 hours to digest a meal. This will vary greatly depending on the individual and what was eaten. If you are concerned that your body is taking too long to digest your food, or alternatively is moving too quickly and not getting all the nutrients out, do the beet test. Eat a bowl of beets and note the time. Then note the time when your stool turns purple. The amount of time that passes in between is how long it took your body to digest those beets.
· The colour of your stool can indicate a problem in your health or be a result of what you’re eating. If you’re not sure ask!
· If you still haven’t gotten enough information about poop, check out the Bristol Stool Chart!