Keeping your digestive system healthy may be a simple as enjoying a beverage that tastes good and just happens to be great for your health.
Water can be the simplest and most affordable drink around, according to Joel Moceri, director of integrative health for The Good Life Companies, Cumru Township.
“Most of us are chronically dehydrated already,” Moceri said. “So staying hydrated is essential for not only optimal colon health but overall health.”
Moceri suggests that purified water with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt or remineralizing drops will go a long way toward attaining good health.
He explains that not only does hydration keep the digestive tract running smoothly, adding real salt adds even more benefits with its essential vitamins and minerals.
And enough hydration helps even further by ridding the body of built-up toxins.
Marianne van der Velde, an independent Promoter for Pruvit, a distributor of exogenous ketone technology, agrees that water is key for daily digestion, and confirms that adding fiber further increases colon health.
WebMD cautions consumers to introduce fiber slowly to reduce possible uncomfortable side effects that could include bloating, cramping and gas, and that adding 50 or more grams of fiber daily could negatively affect how nutrients are absorbed.
Taking water to the next level is a daily treat for Moceri, who enjoys starting the day with a hot morning detox that includes purified water, sea salt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, turmeric and ginger.
Moceri explains combining many of the ingredients can release toxins and push waste through the body, ultimately improving digestion.
Bone broth — the liquid made from slow cooking bones, meat, fish or vegetables to extract nutrients, said Van der Velde — is another water-based beverage to include as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Teas can also go a long way to keeping the colon and the remainder of the digestive system healthy, and even inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
A leading cause of death
The Mayo Clinic confirms that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list colorectal cancer as the second-leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
Because the colon is the final part of the digestive tract, food and beverages are key to good colon health.
Antioxidants and polyphenols, cancer-prevention compounds, abound in white tea, a less common type of tea more likely found in specialty stores, but which beats green tea with its health benefits.
Both white and green teas, according to WebMD, are less processed than traditional black tea and retain more colon-cancer fighting properties.
In studies on mice prone to develop intestinal tumors, WebMD notes that mice receiving no treatment grew more tumors than mice receiving green or white tea. Evidence shows that white tea's effects can block cancer growth with no negative side effects.
Moceri said that herbal teas containing dandelion, milk thistle, peppermint or ginger are also likely to encourage good digestive health.
Herbal teas — specifically peppermint, anise, fennel, chamomile and turmeric, to name a few — have even been known to calm irritable bowel syndrome, a condition involving recurrent pain, diarrhea or constipation, sometimes brought on by stress or intestinal infections.
Not only is the act of drinking tea calming in itself, but the heat in the tea can actually help in digestion, said Healthline.
Moceri follows the teachings of Dr. Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and certified nutritionist, when it comes to sweetening his healthy drinks.
“I personally utilize local raw honey, medjool dates and local dark maple syrup primarily in my diet,” Moceri said. “Your body does not treat these natural sweeteners like normal table sugar, which is highly inflammatory.”
Axe, at www.draxe.com, notes that high fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener, can cause liver disease, arteriosclerosis and digestive issues.
He encourages the use of natural sweeteners, including stevia, coconut sugar and monk fruit, to sweeten healthy drinks and increase nutritional intake while reducing the ill effects of sugar or chemical sweeteners on the body.
“These natural alternatives tend to have a much smaller glycemic effect on the body (monk fruit and stevia have no effect, since they contain zero calories), and your body knows how to process them being natural, supporting healthy blood sugar levels,” Moceri said.
Honey in particular, according to Axe, actually increases the production of healthy bacteria in the digestion system.
Healthline noted that honey can help with digestive system disorders, such as diarrhea and peptic ulcers, and may even calm the symptoms of acid reflux by removing the free radicals that damage cells in the digestive tract.
“We should be careful how we look at sweeteners,” said van der Velde. “I think sweeteners should be looked at as a flavor enhancer, not a health food that we can consume in unlimited quantities.”
She advises people working on a healthier lifestyle to look for natural sweeteners that have minimal to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, and use them sparingly.
On any given day, more than one half of the American population drinks tea, according to the Tea Council of the USA. Approximately four in five consumers drink tea, with millennials being the most likely.
Starting the day with a glass of water or planning a tea party may be easy answers to living a healthier life with a happier digestive system.