Simple Ways to Beat Constipation
- Posted on: Apr 9 2015
As reported in the U.S. News and World Report, constipation affects 12 to 19 percent (which is as many as 63 million people!) of the population in North America.
Constipation occurs in a few different ways; the muscle contractions in your intestines may be too slow to push the stool out of your body, or there is not enough water in your stool to soften it so it can move through the intestines. Not being able to go to the bathroom can get very uncomfortable and painful, but that is not the only risk. Constipation can come with other health hazards, such as fecal impaction and hemorrhoids, so it’s important to minimize these risks by incorporating these simple ways to beat constipation into your daily lifestyle:
Change Your Diet
People who don’t incorporate a good quantity of fiber into their diet are more likely to suffer from constipation, as fiber-rich foods are known to help stimulate your bowels. Unfortunately fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables often get overlooked in a person’s daily diet, but they play a crucial role in preventing constipation. While white sugar, white flour, and other processed foods can cause constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should aim to intake 30-38 grams of fiber a day, while women should aim for 21-25 grams. Not sure what foods to eat? Make sure you add these foods to your daily diet:
- Black beans, kidney beans, Lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils
- Papaya, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, figs, oranges, avocados, olives
- Broccoli, kale, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, artichokes
- Bran flakes, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, wheat germ
- Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, pecans
- Fermented foods/drinks such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut
Have a Schedule
Did you know that bowel movements occur according to your body’s internal “clock”? This is why scheduling a time for bowel movements each day can help keep constipation at bay. When you make bowel movements, a scheduled event will promote regularity and can help trigger your body to have a bowel movement. By not having a routine, or a regular schedule, your body can become “confused” and will be unready to have a bowel movement.
Staying hydrated plays an important role in the fight against constipation, so it is important to remember to drink throughout the day, and that can be anything from water to milk to tea to soup, but be sure to limit dehydrating beverages such as coffee, soda, and alcohol. Drinks that contain excessive sugar can exacerbate constipation, so be sure to drink at least 10 glasses of warm water daily.
Individuals who are physically active are less likely to experience constipation than an inactive person, so one of the best ways to beat constipation is to exercise regularly. Exercise not only works your muscles, but it also helps to stimulate the natural contraction of your intestines, which will in turn help move the stool throughout your system quickly and effectively.
When You Feel the Urge, Go
It’s not uncommon for people to resist the urge to empty their bowels when they are out in a public, or when they are at work or in school. Even though it can be embarrassing, it is imperative that you don’t ignore this urge; when ignored, the urge can gradually dissipate, however the longer you delay, the harder and drier the stool will become.
Try to Lose the Stress
Since the bowel and the brain are interconnected due to the intricate signaling that happens between the brain and the gut, stress has a huge effect on bowel function. Because of this it is imperative that stress is kept in check, and a good way to help relieve stress and improve your digestive health is to do yoga. Not only is yoga a great way to keep stress in check, there are a few poses that can be very effective at relieving your constipation:
- The wind-relieving pose; to do this, lie flat on your back, and then bend one knee and extend it to your chest. Be sure to hold this pose for ten seconds, then switch sides; be sure to alternate between knees at least five to ten times.
- The shoulder stand; to do this lie flat on your back and raise your legs straight up into the air, this way they are perpendicular to your torso. Then place your hands on your lower back, this way you are using your arms to support your legs as you straighten your spine.
Please remember to check with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Posted in: Uncategorized