Let’s face it, although not a disease, constipation is a major problem! Your body gives you all the signals that it’s time to go to the restroom and poop it out. When you get there, you find yourself in a frustrating predicament where nothing is coming out. You feel bloated, uncomfortable, perhaps even embarrassed, especially if at a party and there is only one bathroom available to a house full of guests. Then, when you finally go, you experience straining, and it hurts! So what do you need to proactively do toward relieving this problem?
If you are suffering from two of the following symptom, you may be experiencing constipation:
- Hard or pellet-like stools at least 25% of the time
- Straining with bowel movements at least 25% of the time
- A feeling that you don’t completely empty your bowels at least 25% of the time
- Fewer than 5 bowel movements per week
Is this you? For starters, take a look at the possible culprits which may be causing your constipation: Stress, lack of exercise, artificial sweeteners, consumption of meat in large quantities, over eating, irregular habits of eating, a diet lacking in fiber or fluids, and medication use.
Other probable suspects are certain medical conditions, such as an underactive thyroid, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, diabetes and cancer, among other illnesses.
The good news is, depending on how much you choose to commit yourself to ridding of the toxins in your body, you can potentially get constipation relief fairly quickly. The true test of commitment is when you choose to dedicate yourself to “maintaining” a toxin free, healthier and balanced life with consistent action steps taken over time on a regular basis, developing better eating habits, and an overall better style of living.
5 Easy Tips for Relieving Constipation
When you look at this list of tips, you may find yourself saying “I knew that!” Of course you did. Now, you face the difficult challenge of turning what you know into regular action steps consistently over time, leading to healthy, positive, life-saving results we are all craving for. Also, I find great value in both repetition and healthy reminders from time to time … don’t you?
1. Reduce Your Stress
Easier said than done, I’m sure. But isn’t everything else? Take time out occasionally and treat yourself to some fun and relaxation. Paint, dance, play music, write poetry, laugh, whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do and somehow stored your creative passions in your inner treasure chest somewhere. Perhaps, it can be as simple as taking a weekend and just resting, or visiting a friend you haven’t seen in over 10 years. You’re entitled to your escape. Take it, and add the “oxygen of living life” to your health, instead of stress. Enjoy life because you deserve it, and because you can! What is your choice?
2. Eat Plenty of High Fiber Foods
By increasing your intake of foods high in fiber, you will greatly reduce your chances of developing any symptoms of constipation, as well as prevent many other colon-related health problems. Below is a list of high fiber foods you should add to your diet. Eat plenty of these foods throughout your day. If possible, always buy organic fruits and vegetables.
- Bran Cereals – High fiber cereals are a great addition to your diet and a healthful way to start your day. Usually low in preservatives and sugars, bran cereals are a great source of dietary fiber.
- Beans, Peas & Legumes – Low in both fat and cholesterol, beans and legumes are high in fiber and protein. They make for a great substitute for meat.
- Broccoli – Very high in fiber and an excellent natural antibiotic, broccoli has also demonstrated some cancer-fighting potential.
- Dried Fruit – When dried organically, dried fruit keeps much of the nutritional properties of the raw variety. Dried figs, prunes, and apricots are great intestinal movers.
- Raw Nuts & Seeds – Raw almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, and chestnuts lead the way as the best choices, because they are high in fiber, protein, vitamin E and calcium. Nuts and seeds are also very filling, so you don’t have to eat many before feeling satisfied. Chew thoroughly for easier digestion.
- Cherries – A natural blood stimulant, cherries have been used for centuries to detoxify the kidneys. Cherries also have the anti-cancer compound, ellagic acid, and are very effective at relieving constipation.
- Bananas – High in fiber and a natural bulk-producing agent, bananas are great for promoting easy digestion.
- Apples – The high pectin levels in apples stimulate the bowels and also provide bulk for bowel movements. One of the best natural laxative foods is organic apple cider vinegar. Just pour a small amount into a glass of purified water and drink it in the morning.
- Carrots – A rich source of Beta-Carotene, carrots are natural body detoxifiers. Also high in pectin, carrots add bulk to stool and can stimulate bowel contractions.
- Green Vegetables – Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and turnip greens are very high in vitamins and minerals.
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon stimulates intestinal peristalsis (the wave-like contractions) and also triggers the release of bile for digestion.
Other natural foods for relieving constipation: tamarind, dates, prunes, coconut, and Brussels sprouts. Fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are also great at relieving constipation.
3. Avoid Constipating Foods and Drinks
Constipating foods and drinks include white flour, cheese, fried and fatty foods, sweets, salt, beef, pasteurized milk, all junk food, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, just to name a few.
4. Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day
Now where have you heard that one before, right! Water is vital to your body, and makes up approximately 80 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Water will also help moisten the intestines, so that the bowels will move easily.
5. Exercise Regularly
Implementing a regular exercise routine into your schedule will nourish your blood and oxygenate your system. Exercise does not have to be a rigorous work out! Here is the best part – exercise is cost friendly, and will also help reduce your stress. You can start with walking three times a week for 30 minutes per walk. Does that sound like a plan you can work into your weekly schedule? Imagine, 90 minutes of walking a week for starters, will impact your health positively for the long run, when done consistently and regularly over time. Exercise is one of the best ways to get quick constipation relief!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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