Wow, talk about a little thought of organ that is essential for health! The unappreciated Colon! A lot of folks through junk down their throats with little regard for what’s going on down in their gut. A strong correlation exists between American’s decreased fiber intake and the incidence of stomach and GI-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, and colon polyps (precancerous little things). If you have any of those conditions, I’m sure you appreciate when things are going well-life is hell when they’re not. Most people are unaware that fiber fuels the healthful bacteria in our colons, which is a very powerful health organ; it can stave off obesity, prevent disease, and promote healthy years as we age. According to Dr. Frank W. Jackson, a 40-year veteran of gastroenterology who has spent decades researching colon health and its relationship to fiber, “in recent years scientists and physicians have come to understand the makeup of the colon bacteria to a remarkable degree.” The human colon contains more bacteria than any other place on earth! What makes this such an exciting area of study is discovering how the colon fuels our immune system and battles daily in the fight to keep us healthy. To paraphrase from an article in Scottsdale Health magazine (3/13), written by Alison Bailin Batz, when working properly, the colon acts as a fuel source for the immune system, robustly stimulating it when the right fibers are present. It also acts as the most efficient garbage disposal in the world, eliminating toxic waste from our bodies. But, the colon needs its own fuel to operate efficiently. This is where prebiotics comes in, something I hadn’t even heard of until a couple of years ago. Prebiotics not only provide fuel for the colon, they also help to increase your energy, suppress your appetite, and absorb more calcium. Conversely, poor colon health and insufficient fiber intake can lead to the above-mentioned diseases, but also heart disease, cancer, constipation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures (cracks). Prebiotics are found in garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, wheat, chicory root, artichokes, wild yams, agave, and jicama. Ideally, get prebiotics from a variety of these foods-most Americans get about 80% of their fiber from wheat, which can be processed to point of uselessness. There are also prebiotic supplements available-one source is

Stay well, eat well, John R Blilie, M.S.