Although not many like to talk about it, constipation is a common problem many people are facing. There are many lifestyle habits to consider and some fast, emergency measures. Constipation can occur from dehydration, from a low fiber diet, from a diet low in healthy fats, from medications, from poor gut health and dysbiosis, from a bacteria like H. Pylori, from extensive travel and more. That sounds like a lot to consider, but it’s really just small changes here and there when you break it down.
Let’s start with dehydration. An average 75% of the American population are dehydrated. The amount of water (just water) to aim for each day, is half your body weight in ounces of water per day minimum. The trick is, people often feel they are drinking and drinking and still thirsty. There are things in our diets and lifestyle that are dehydrating, so if you are taking in those things or participating in those activities, you may need more water.
Increasing fiber in your diet can do wonders for your bowel movements. The best way to do this is to up your intake of plant based foods in their whole form. Adding ground flax seeds or other nuts and seeds to your salads or steamed veggies, getting in more salads and if you tolerate them well, adding beans, grains and legumes. There are also great fiber products out there you can just mix in a glass of water or add to your smoothie. One of my favorites is FiberSmart by Renew Life. Bear in mind that a high protein or high fat diet may be deficient in adequate fiber and can be constipating for some.
Healthy fats help to lubricate joints, feed the brain and the nervous system and keep things moving. Most people are deficient in the heathy fats and may have excess in unhealthy fats. Health promoting fats are found in avocados, seeds & nuts and fatty fish. The quality of your animal protein can also be a determinant in which fats you are high or low in. Animal protein that is organic and pastured tends to have higher omega 3 fats, and feedlot animals tend to have higher levels of omega 6. An imbalance in this ratio can create inflammation in the body.
Clearly for infections or bacterial imbalance, the first step is to get tested to assess whether or not these are concerns you need to address. The good news is if it is an issue, and you find out about it, there are steps to restore balance. Take the time to build a solid team of professionals in supporting your health.
Travel, NSAIDS and medications simply require greater diligence in maintaining your hydration and holding to a healthy diet. It is preferred to move the bowels every time we eat, but at least once per day. In constipation, we can reabsorb toxins and hormones from the matter and the body has to process them all over again. Below are a few quick fixes, or if you know you tend to run slow, these may be part of your regular maintenance. Try to use laxatives as a last resort, instead give your body what it needs to keep things moving on its own.
- Magnesium citrate
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Prune Juice
- Triphala capsules or tablets
- Enema or glycerine suppository – coffee enemas are great!
It’s all connected when it comes to health, so take simple steps to support your body’s elimination processes. It’s part of daily detoxification and if disease and wellness start in the gut, this is definitely a piece of the puzzle.
To Your Health!!!