3 Super-Simple Cleansing Tips

How fiber, water and omega-3s can heal your digestive system.

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There are a ton of pills, tonics, colonics and all kinds of products out there advertising that they're the best product for cleansing your colon and ridding your body of toxins, excess wastes and all kinds of other nasty things. Most of those products are expensive and most of them are ineffective or just plain unnecessary.

When you cleanse one thing, you cleanse everything inside your body; and when your objective is to cleanse your colon, the answer is not the latest pill, supplement, stimulant or herbs that are going to make you go to the bathroom often.

[Read: Why Juice 'Cleanses' Don't Deliver.]

The solution is correcting and healing your digestive system and giving it the nutrients that it needs to function more efficiently. If you're constipated, want to lose weight or just feel like you're hanging on to excess toxins and wastes (which most people are), there are three completely natural ways that you can do that, safely and effectively:

1. Increase your intake of high-quality fiber.

The first thing I suggest is to increase your fiber intake and to do it with high-quality fiber foods. Ground flax seed is an excellent source of fiber that also happens to be extremely convenient. You can add it to your smoothies, breakfast cereals, yogurt and many other things. This makes it very easy for you to add a good deal of fiber almost without thinking about it. It's also an excellent source of omega-3 fats.

Any plant food has fiber in it, and the fiber is the part that we can't digest. So, it passes through your body and in so doing, it takes toxins and chemicals out of the body with it. That's one of the reasons why fiber is so important. Aim for about 30 to 35 grams a day. One of the tastiest ways to do that is to eat a ton of fruits and vegetables.

[Read: Is All Fiber Created Equal?]

2. Increase your water intake.

Now you have all that fiber going into your system, it's accumulated all this bulk in your stool, so you'll need plenty of water to move it through your digestive system and out of your body.

A simple rule of thumb is to divide your weight in pounds by half. The result is the number of fluid ounces of water that you need to drink each day. That's a minimum, though. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 80 fluid ounces of water daily. You should get a great deal of that from drinking water, but if you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, the water they contain goes toward this total, too. What doesn't count is coffee, tea, soda or commercial fruit juices.

Many people say that they dislike drinking water, and for some that may be true, but what is normally truer is that they prefer drinking something else. The fact is, though, that pure water is what you need. If you're really attached to your iced tea and coffee, try to cut back and take in extra water to make up for the dehydrating effect that caffeine has.

[Read: The Truth About How Much Water You Should Really Drink.]

3. Increase your omega-3 intake.

The third thing to do is increase your intake of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are very, very important because they're incredibly powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.

Inflammation is blamed as the culprit in many serious conditions including heart disease. Acidic inflammation in the body is especially harmful, so you want to do things other than taking pain relievers, which increase the acidity in the body. Taking several doses of fish oil per day will help to reduce inflammation in the body but also help cleanse your colon by lubricating your intestinal system.

[Read: Top 5 Foods to Fight Inflammation.]

If you want to become more regular, the combination of fiber, water and Omega-3 fatty acids or essential fatty acids is going to make a huge difference. Try to just do those three things – eat more fruits and vegetables, drink half your body weight in ounces of water, and take maybe 2 to 3 tablespoons of Omega-3 fatty acids, whether it's flax oil or fish oil.

These foods are so much safer and healthier for you than those colon cleansing products, and they're a lot more effective.

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN is a registered holistic nutritionist, fitness expert and highly sought-after high-performance health coach. He's also a former professional soccer player and served as the head strength and conditioning and nutrition coach for men's soccer at the University of Toronto for seven seasons. For more than 13 years, he's empowered more than 86,000 people to greater health with his no-nonsense approach to health, fitness, and nutrition. He's made it his mission to empower at least 10 million people to greater health and fitness by 2018. He's made it his mission to empower at least 10 million people to greater health and fitness by 2018. Get Yuri's FREE "Y-Factor" at www.yurielkaim.com.