Do you ever have to stop and think of when your last bowel movement was? Is it often a challenge to push it out? Through the years I have had countless amounts of conversations with clients and customers concerned with their bowel system, keeping it regular, cleansing it and how it may be related to their overall health.
It unfortunately is very common for me to hear that one may only have a bowel movement every few days or longer than that. These very same people often report that that their immune system is suppressed and they may lack energy. Typically this person is overweight also.
In our fast paced, fast food world we often consume way too much processed food void of fiber, healthy probiotics (good bacteria) and nutrients. Eating a high volume of fresh vegetables and some fruits and grains provide significant amount of fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, but unfortunately most Americans don’t consume nearly enough of these on a daily basis. When the pipes are backed up with waste, it contributes to “blocking” of nutrients from being absorbed thru our stomach walls. This may contribute to a suppressed immune system, lower energy levels and so many other health and wellness complaints and concerns.
Constipation is actually a pretty common gastrointestinal health problem. A majority of Americans are estimated to suffer from it at some point during their lives. Taking measures to stay regular will make living more pleasant, and certain types of fiber can offer additional health benefits such as reducing your cholesterol also.
While the frequency of bowel movements varies for everyone, generally you are constipated if you poop fewer than three times per week, they are hard and dry and/or you need to strain to have a movement. The root cause of constipation is too much water absorption by the colon or slow colon muscle contractions. Remember to add fiber to your diet gradually to help alleviate gas and bloating. Here’s are a few ideas to prevent constipation from occurring:
Eat a diet high in fiber – Consuming a diet in high fiber foods, such as legumes (beans and lentils), fruits (berries are best) and vegetables, and whole-grain oats and breads, will help you reach the 21 to 38 grams of fiber a day you need.
Drink plenty of water – Shoot for at least 8 glasses a day.
Exercise on a regular basis – Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 3-5 times a week can help stimulate intestinal function and circulation. Of course, exercise is important to maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, and has been shown to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, depression and some cancers just to name a few.
Avoid sugar and processed foods – These foods are low and often void of any fiber, have a lot of unhealthy and foreign substances not to mention they spike our blood glucose levels, lead to weight gain, contribute to adult onset diabetes and much more unwanted and unhealthy things. As I always say to my clients, sugar is the enemy!
Incorporate supplements – If need be, you can look at incorporating some fiber supplements to assist in getting enough in each day. There are a lot of powders on the market that will give you 5-10 grams per serving which can be helpful. Probiotics are great compliment as well as they can help replenish or balance out the “good” bacteria in the gut. In rare cases, senna can be used for a couple days to soften the stools and stimulate some movement. Do not use this herb long term though.
Try not to hold it back – If nature is calling and you have to pop a squat and push one out, try not to delay it. When you delay the urge to have a bowel movement, more water is absorbed from your stool, causing it to become harder.
You can read a bit more on this topic in another blog I wrote here at link below:
Keep it clean & moving,
Roger Bowman, CPT