3 Tricks to Kick Constipation and Get Things Moving
Written By: Nicarose Mela U. Gerona
Everybody poops! It’s just a fact.
Some may consider this a sensitive subject to discuss openly, but pooping is a huge part of a healthy body! Taking a closer look into your daily “elimination schedule” can help you deal with (even prevent) bigger problems that constipation can cause. The main purpose of regular bowel movements is to eliminate toxins from your body, which is essential to maintain balance and optimal health.
Constipation is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week and can mean:
- Decreased frequency
- Hard, dry, formed stools
- Straining, or painful elimination
- Feeling of incomplete elimination
- Abdominal pain or distention
- Even headaches may come into play
Constipation can be caused for numerous reasons, but common factors include lack of motility, insufficient fiber and dehydration.
Fiber has a lot of benefits and is not just limited to the digestive system. There are 2 kinds of fiber: insoluble and soluble – and both are constipation-busters.
A well-known fruit to get things moving is prunes! They contain both kinds of fiber and are often deemed a “natural remedy” to alleviate constipation and increase bowel movements. Others like bran, legumes and fruit also contain fiber. But take note that excess and immediate consumption of fiber may also cause bloating, flatulence and diarrhea for those that are not used to consuming it regularly, which is often where many go wrong.
Fiber should be introduced slowly, around 5 grams a day should be enough, as your colon needs time to get used to it. Try adding in more fruit (eaten alone or at least 30 minutes before a meal, due to the rate of digestion being so different – fruit is a quick digester and eating it with grains can cause a whole other set of issues over time); increase your green vegetables; snack on a handful of nuts; and try including beans at dinner. The daily intake recommended once your body has gotten used to more fiber is around 25-35 grams per day.
Less Caffeine, More Water
Refrain from over-consumption of caffeine and diuretics, which dehydrate the body and are often a culprit for hard and dry stools. Soluble fiber works best with water, as it helps soften stools for easier passage. The insoluble fiber is the bulk that hastens your colon is elimination.
Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Grab a BPA-free water bottle and calculate how many times you need to fill up to hit your goal. Make a game out of it if needed, but whatever you do, drink up!
Exercise also helps to loosen things up so get your body moving! If you’re new to exercise, just remember that movement of any kind is beneficial so start with where you’re at. Try walking for 20-30 minutes daily around your neighborhood to increase peristalsis and get your bowels moving.
If you’re bowels are sluggish and you’re not moving things regularly, just remember these tips: increase your fiber, increase your movement, increase your water intake and decrease your caffeine consumption and you’ll be well on your way to smooth sailing in the bathroom – and eliminating excess toxins – in no time!
Nicarose Mela U. Gerona is originally from Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.She spent her growing years in Qassim and Ar-Ar, Saudi Arabia with her family, then returned to her home country permanently for her schooling. She studied and graduated as Class Salutatorian in Bethany Baptist Academy Makati during high school, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig (University of Pasig City) as a Dean’s Lister and Best in Health Education Awardee in her fourth year.
In June 2013, she passed the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination. She is member of the Philippine Nurses Association, a licensed IVT specialist (Intravenous Therapy), and a BLS-ACLS provider following the American Heart Association standards. Currently, she works in a non-hospital environment, which gives her the time to write, read books and paint.
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