For those who are now squeaky and new inside, insure that your work was not done in vain with the following post cleansing care package.
During and Immediately After
Replenish with probiotics. These protective tiny living organisms like bacteria, viruses and yeast are similar to those residing in our gastrointestinal tracts. They are the “good bacteria” that have been known to help protect from infection and illness, and they are often stripped from the intestines by colon cleansers. Yogurt, soy, kefir and miso are among the many foods that naturally contain live probiotics. But rest assure, if those foods don’t appeal to your tastes, probiotic supplements have been the buzz for quite some time and are available in liquid, powder, pill and chew forms (these usually contain freeze-dried bacteria).
The strongest I’ve seen available over-the-counter is 150 billion CFU’s. These, and counts above 10 billion are typically recommended by health care professionals for use after a cycle of antibiotics or to help manage certain GI issues. 4-10 billion CFU’s are appropriate for maintaining overall health and wellness and can safely be taken as directed by the product guidelines. Some of the terms you’ll come across on the packaging labels include:
- CFU or Colony Forming Unit- indicating how many units are able to divide and form colonies. One unit equals a single bacterium.
- Flora – often used interchangeably with bacteria, referring to the microscopic organisms that line the intestinal tract and are necessary to its normal functioning.
- “Live and Active Cultures”- this seal is placed on yogurt and other fermented foods or beverages that contained at least 10 million living and active bacteria per gram of the substance when it was manufactured. The “Active Cultures” statement is commonly listed on freeze-dried probiotic supplements.
- Strains- there are many different strains of bacteria with histories of benefitting many different conditions. They can be supplemented individually or in groups, both large and small. Two commonly used strains are the lactobacillus acidophilus, known for its beneficial effect on gastrointestinal health, and bacillus, often used to relieve symptoms associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).Other commonly used strains include bifidobacterium, saccharomyces, streptococcus, and enterococcus.
Probiotics should not be supplemented when we are ill or functioning with a compromised immune system. If you are not certain whether supplementation is necessary or safe for your particular condition, researching the benefits associated with that condition and the use of probiotics will provide some clarity. But you should refer to your doctor for the strain and potency most suitable to your needs.
Immediately After and Ongoing
Restore with prebiotics. These non-digestible nutrients sustain and promote the growth of the healthy bacteria living in the intestines. Many foods contain prebiotics including dairy products, oatmeal, honey, berries, garlic, onions, asparagus, and kale. Consuming prebiotic containing foods helps maintain healthy levels of the beneficial bacteria and therefore, general gastrointestinal health.
Aid digestion with enzymes. Found naturally in saliva and secreted by the cells lining the stomach, pancreas, and small intestines, enzymes help the body break down foods for fuller absorption and utilization of their nutrients. More fully digested food also means less build-up within the gastrointestinal tract. Remember that one of the main purposes for cleansing the system is to remove undigested matter from the body.
Enzymes are also naturally occurring in certain foods, and when supplemented, they are taken during or immediately after a meal. Tropical fruits supply most supplemental enzymes:
- Papain, found in papayas, helps with protein digestion.
- Bromelain, from pineapple, also aids the breakdown of proteins. It is an anti-inflammatory helpful in remedying tissue irritations such as those experienced after surgeries and injuries.
Some enzymes like lactase, found in the small intestines and responsible for breaking down the milk sugar lactose, are supplemented to offset a deficiency. Supplemental enzymes are often measured in milligrams and come in varied dosages.
In the case of lactase deficiency/ lactose intolerance, it is important not to self diagnose and treat this condition. Instead, consult a physician or GI specialist for accurate assessment and appropriate recommendations.
Long Term Maintenance
Cleansing should not be a once in a lifetime occurrence. Ideally we should aim to do this 2-4 times per year, provided our immune systems are not compromised. So, there is no need to stress the occasional indulgence or period of laxity with our diets; however, a few consistent points of focus can keep us functioning at optimum levels between cleanses:
- 8-10 eight ounce glasses of pure, clean water per day to help the body remove toxins
- 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day to help maintain intestinal health
- fruit and vegetable washes to remove pesticide and/or herbicide residues
- super food blends such as my favorite Green Vibrance from Vibrant Health to help fill any nutritional gaps left by our food choices, time constraints and occasional splurges
Last but not least, let your original goals for cleansing dictate your food and beverage choices. There’s nothing better than starting fresh with a clean slate! Respect the investment you’ve made.
Take Care and BeWell