How to Cleanse Your Colon Safely

If you're wondering how to cleanse your colon, you may be looking for information on popular methods such as taking supplements, using laxatives, or visiting a colon cleansing clinic. However, at best, these methods may not be necessary and, at worst, they can potentially be harmful to your health.

Close up of sectioned plate with bread, pasta, rice and cereal
Adam Gault / Getty Images

If you like the idea of "cleansing" your body, and of course, doing so safely, you need look no further than the produce and bulk food aisles of your local grocery store. Part of why so many people are plagued with a bloated, constipated feeling, the very feeling that leads them to consider colon cleansing, is a poor diet.

Without proper nutrients, natural whole foods, and plenty of fiber and water, the digestive tract doesn't function optimally.

Strategies for Improving Colon Health

If you want to improve your colon health, give the following a try:

  • Increase the servings of vegetables and fruit you eat. Aim for 8 to 10 servings daily. This may sound like a lot, but it's doable. Add fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries to your morning cereal. Snack on vegetables dipped in hummus, or fruit plus a handful of nuts.
  • Make all your grains whole grains. Don't be fooled by color. Just because bread is brown, does not mean it's whole grain. Look for the word "enriched" in the ingredient list. If you see this word, it's not whole grain.
  • Focus on adding non-bread sources of whole grains. Brown rice, barley, quinoa, oats, millet, rye, spelled, buckwheat, amaranth, and other new-to-you foods are great sources of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals your diet may be lacking.
  • Try "flipping" the food pyramid. You may be familiar with the food pyramid, which shows grains as the foundation. Instead, make fruits and vegetables the foundation of your diet, followed by grains, then protein foods (beans, fish, eggs, poultry, meat). Make sweets just an occasional treat.
  • Flax-i-fy your diet. Ground flaxseeds are one of the best ways to improve digestion and elimination by helping move stool out of your system. Try ground flax sprinkled on your cereal, salads, oatmeal, or yogurt. This is one of the single most effective ways to improve your body's ability to eliminate waste.
  • Drink more water. Water, plain and simple, will make everything in your body function better, including your digestion and elimination. Don't worry about the old advice that you should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. Instead, use the color of your urine as a guide. If it's pale yellow or straw-colored, you're getting enough water. If it's any darker than this, drink up!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the fastest way to clean out your colon?

    If you need to clean out your colon for a colonoscopy or other medical procedure, your healthcare provider will advise you on bowel prep. A bowel prep typically starts the day before your procedure. It involves drinking an osmotic laxative, such as MiraLAX with Gatorade.

    Your diet will also be limited in the days leading up to a bowel prep. A low-residue diet—meaning no high fiber foods—should be started three days before the procedure and a liquid diet started 24 hours before the procedure.  

  • Can a colon cleanse help you lose weight?

    Yes and no. You will likely see weight loss on the scale after a colon cleanses, but it is not the same as losing weight. The weight lost from a colon cleanse is leftover waste from your digestive tract and not actual body fat.

    However, the weight lost from a colon cleanse can motivate some people to kickstart more sustainable weight loss.

  • What is the difference between a colonic and an enema?

    Enema and colonics both involve flushing the colon. An enema is a one-time infusion of water into the colon typically done at home. Colonics involves multiple infusions administered by a trained hydrotherapist using special equipment. 

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA Dietary Guidelines. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 Eighth Edition.

  2. The American Heart Association. Fruits and Vegetables Serving Sizes.

Additional Reading

By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, RD
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian and epidemiologist, as well as an expert in cancer prevention and management.