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A Healthy Bowel Boosts Immunity

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

There is that old joke where the parts of the body were arguing about who is boss. "I am," asserted the eyes, "because I direct where we are going." "I am, claimed the brain, "because I make the decisions." "I am," contested the legs, "because I provide the locomotion." The rectum just shut down. After a while the legs couldn't walk, the brain couldn't think and the eyes couldn't see. The moral being, "You don't have to be smart to be boss, just an a**hole."

All jokes aside, clearing out your intestines promotes vitality, immunity and a happier you.

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"Transit time" is how long it takes for the food you have eaten to be pooped out. (Swallow some corn kernals whole, without chewing them, and watch how long it takes for you to see them in your stool.)

According to standard medical textbooks, the average American transit time is 72 hours. People protest, "But I poo every day." Yes, but the load you are dumping might be the reamins of food that you ate three days ago.

This is a very unhealthy state of affairs. Waste products that should be eliminated are instead absorbed into the body from a sluggish, backed up bowel. (Bile acids, secreted by the gallbladder in response to meat eaten, are transformed during their overlong stay in the colon into carcinogenic chemicals. Vegetarians, who have shorter transit times don't get colon cancer.)

Further, the pressure of an overcrowded intestine has a detrimental effect on the intestine's ability to function, reducing the finger-like villae and so the surface area available to absorb nutrients. Also, this low level constipation can lead to acute constipation in that the bowel's normal response to stretch is lost. Walking around bloated and full of s**t is generally harmful to well-being.

A diet high in roughage decreases transit time. Eat more vegetables, including beans, whole grains and fruit. Animal products (meat, cheese and eggs), like clay without any straw in it, are hard to work with. Vegetable fiber is the straw that keeps things moving. Increase the ratio of vegetable matter to animal protein. Eat more vegetables. If you continue to eat animal products, reduce your portions of them. They should become condiments in your diet, like the cheese in a burrito, where the main ingredient is beans. Have your steak as part of a vegetable stir-fry, rather than as the main course. (Too much protein is a problem, damaging kidneys, leading to high blood pressure.)

Water is essential. A patient came in and told me he had a problem with constipation, but when he drank 5-6 glasses of water a day his bowels were fine. I laughed, told him to drink the 5-6 glasses of water and dismissed him.

Chili pepper stimulates peristalsis, the muscular contractions of the bowels. It doesn't just "burn" going in (and sometimes coming out), but also all the way through. It's just that the nerves are different on the way through so we don't feel it. But the bowel moves. Hot pepper is an acquired taste. If you haven't acquired it, you can buy chili powder in capsules and bypass your tastebuds. (Chili has other tremendous health benefits, especially for the heart and circulation.) I

Eating much fruit will loosen your bowels. High doses of vitamin C will do the same. (The optimal, highest oral dose of vitamin C is determined by gradually increasing the dose until the point of "bowel tolerance," the point where your stool becomes loose, and then reducing the dose a little.)

Exercise provides physical jarring and visceral massage, both of which promote bowel movement throughout the intestines. The stretching and contraction of yoga, along with its inverted positions (e.g., head and shoulder stands), are a great aid in maintaining a healthy bowel.

In cases of actual or threatened constipation, massaging the descending colon (lower left side of the abdomen) is a great aid in stimulating bowel evacuation, as is a squatting position on the toilet. When I need help, I massage that area with my right fist while squatting on the toilet. Stimulating the perineum (the tough area between the anus and the genitals) helps evacuation. It stimulates the stretch receptors in the rectum, just below the surface. The Chinese use an acupuncture needle, but you can use a finger or fingernail. Most effective at stimulating the stretch receptors is direct digital manipulation of the anus, inserting the tip of your finger.

Most importantly, follow that urge. When you've got to go, you've got to go. The new stretch of your rectal walls, the urge to defecate you first feel, if followed will stimulate a "mass movement," a glorious contraction of your whole descending colon. If you resist the urge and wait, you lose that terrific movement.

My transit time, gracias a dios, is less than 24 hours. My morning bowel movement, finishes eliminating whatever I ate the day before. Empty and clean is a great feeling to start the day: vital, immune, happy.

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Dr David is looking for authors to contribute to San Miguel Sunday. He is also looking for people who want to add more meaning to their lives. See his new website below.

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