Constipation is one of the most common yet embarrassing health problems that many of us face on a daily basis. Officially constipation is defined as 3 or less bowel movements per week. The reasons for constipation vary greatly from person to person and in some cases it may even be a symptom of a more serious underlying disease.
If you walk into any pharmacy you will find an endless supply of pills and potions dedicated to helping with this condition. The problem is that many of these treatments only help with the symptoms of constipation instead of dealing with the causes of the issue.
The good news is that you shouldn’t have to suffer in silence, as there are many ways to help relieve constipation, without resorting to drastic and unhealthy measures such as laxatives.
5 Ways to relieve and prevent constipation, today:
1. Add whole grains, fibre rich fruit and vegetables to your diet
If your lifestyle is full of quick and easy ready made meals and takeaways you are probably not having enough fibre.
In order to prevent constipation two different types of fibre are needed; Soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps to make sure that you have softer stools. Insoluble fibre helps to bulk your stools and clean your intestines and colon as it moves along.
Slowly increase your intake of fibre by ensuring that you have fresh vegetables with every meal. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beetroot and spinach are all packed full of fibre. Where possible opt for whole grains such as brown rice and brown bread instead of refined white options.
2. Double up your fluid intake
Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty you already dehydrated?
Unfortunately being even mildly dehydrated can cause constipation. As soon as you have increased the fibre in your diet it is crucial to increase your liquid intake along with it. If your fluid intake is not consistent or adequate your increased fibre could constipate you instead. Think of water as lubrication for your digestive system.
Plain water can be boring so flavor your your water with lemon, lime, strawberries or cucumber.
3. Natures very own laxative-Prunes
This is one of the oldest remedies for helping to cure constipation; it is also one of the best.
Prunes are truly nature’s answer to constipation. Whether you choose to drink prune juice, eat them fresh as plums or eat them dried as Prunes. In addition to being full of fibre, prunes also contain a natural laxative called sorbitol. Sorbitol is a natural sugar-based alcohol, which helps by absorbing water and therefore softening your stool and making it easier to pass.
If you are constipated start by drinking two glasses of prune juice per day, one in the morning and one at night. Warming the juice slightly increases the effect of the juice.
To prevent constipation aim to include 2-3 prunes to your diet on a daily basis. These can be fresh or dried. Stewing your prunes before hand helps to soften them and they will be even more powerful as a natural constipation preventative.
4. Move more
It might sound strange but the fact of the matter is we all sit too much. Moving more helps with our peristalsis, the intestinal motion needed for regular healthy bowel movements (2).
Start increasing your daily steps by grabbing a colleague and going for a brisk walk after lunch, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking as far away from entrances as possible.
5. Increase delicious healthy fats
Aside from making your food tastier, healthy fats also work to increase your intestinal motility. This means going to the toilet more often and more easily.
When we eat fats or bodies release bile from the gallbladder in order to digest the fats, luckily for us this bile acts like a natural laxative.
Increase the amount of healthy fat in your diet by adding olive oil, avocadoes, nut butter, and coconut oil and flax seed oil.
Having to deal with constipation on a regular basis can seriously affect your happiness and quality of life. Making long-lasting lifestyle changes such as the ones mentioned above will not only help with constipation but also assist in improving your overall health.