Soya in Colon Health: General Colon Health

Considering that the colon is the barrier between the outside world and the inside of our bodies, it is important to understand the role of specific nutrients in enhancing optimal colon function and in the prevention of colon disorders.

The colon / gastrointestinal tract

In the average adult the colon / gastrointestinal tract is approximately 6m long, and the typical healthy colon covers an average surface area of 45m². This is due to the presence of villi (tiny little folds in the intestinal wall).

Digestive enzymes are secreted by the colon.

The gastrointestinal tract contains millions of “good”, essential bacterial flora, which are responsible for making the colon a stronger organ, thus improving digestive and absorptive functions; and also (amongst other essential functions) deals with the gas produced by certain foods. Stress, environmental factors and antibiotics can destroy these bacterial flora, resulting in an increase of undesirable colon symptoms (including flatulence and abdominal discomfort).

Fibre, and its role in colon health

Dietary fibre is defined as the plant polysaccharides resistant to hydrolysis (digestion) by the digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract. Dietary fibre is essential for colon health, performing many roles – but mainly that of bulking stools, and increasing the good intestinal bacteria.

SOYA is a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Common symptoms: colic, flatulence, distension, bloating, “tummy” cramps, constipation and/or diarrhoea.       

By adjusting food intake, these symptoms can be reduced to a minimum.

All foods eaten leave an undigested residue which makes up the stool. The following is a guideline to assist one in achieving soft homogenous stools that do not contain lumps (which could cause the colon to block – and become “irritated”/ inflamed).


  1. FIBRE

* A high intake of SOLUBLE (water-holding) FIBRE is important

*AVOID INSOLUBLE FIBRES (roughage in food)

Good sources of soluble fibre:

  1. OATS (Bokomo/Woolworths, Pinhead Oats) and OAT BRAN
  2. FINELY GROUND WHEAT BRAN (brown bread, All Bran Flakes, Hi Bulk Bran, Pronutro)
  3. LEGUMES – no husks e.g. SOYA, split peas, split lentils
  4. SOLUBLE FRUITS & VEGETABLES – no skins/pips, soft & easily digestible.

*** If possible one of these fibres should be eaten at every meal. à otherwise a fibre supplement should be used

AVOID all fibre ROUGHAGE that is not digested and contributes “lumps” to the stool. (These are insoluble fibres)

Examples of insoluble fibres:  AVOID THESE:

  1. SKINS and PIPS of fruit (raw/stewed/canned)
  2. Marmalade and berry jams
  3. Gooseberries, mullberries, etc
  4. Dried fruit  (NB: stewed dried fruit is usually tolerated)
  5. Raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel (i.e. no fruit cake, mince pies, raisin bread etc.)
  6. SKINS and PIPS of vegetables
  7. Brinjals, peas, green mealies, sweetcorn
  8. HUSKS of legumes and grains, Eg soup made with barley / garden peas, etc
  9. All WHOLEWHEAT products, Eg wholewheat bread, scones, “health loaves”, mueslie rusks, Provita etc.
  10. NUTS (as they cannot be chewed finely enough), including:
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Baked goods containing nuts/raisins/coconut
  • Chocolates with nuts/raisins/coconut
  1. SEEDS e.g. poppy seeds, sesame seeds
  1. FAT

*  Keep the fat content of all meals as LOW as possible.

By keeping fat intake minimal, proper digestion of all proteins, carbohydrates and fats is ensured and so lumps of undigested food remaining in the faeces is prevented.


Chips, crisps, peanuts, bacon, vienna sauages, fried chops / steak / sausages/potatoes, fried rice, meat browned for a casserole, Kentucky fried chicken, fried fish, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, toasted sandwiches, pies, pizzas, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta with rich creamy fatty sauces, chocolate, cake, icecream, puddings, cheesecake).

  1. AVOID CAFFEINE (tea, coffee, Coke, Coke Lite, Pepsi etc.) * Caffeine is a GIT irritant and may precipitate GIT spasm.
  2. AVOID SMOKED FOODS (bacon, haddock, sausages, Kassler, ham, smoked fish etc.)
  3. EAT SMALL MEALS every 2 – 3 hours. – Use a bread plate/ side plate
  5. DRINK at least 6 – 8 GLASSES OF WATER per day

Soya properties that enhance colon health

  • Soya fibre helps bulk the stool
  • Soluble fibres in the soya enhance colon function, preventing constipation
  • Insoluble fibres present also protect the colon
  • Prebiotics provided by the soya enhance probiotic function in the colon, ensuring a stronger colon, and less flatulence and abdominal discomfort.


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