Constipation can be a pain in the behind, literally. I’m sure we’ve all experienced having the urge to go, but not being able to make it happen. How frustrating and uncomfortable is that? For some individuals, that is the every day reality. Below are some simple, helpful tips to hopefully get you back to feeling like yourself!
What does it mean to be constipated?
Is used to describe various symptoms: it is someone who has infrequent bowel movements (3 or fewer bowel movements per week). It also means that you are straining to have bowel movements or passing very small, hard, dry stool.
What causes constipation?
Constipation can be caused by a number of things but it is mainly due to a poor diet and inactive lifestyle: that is full of dairy, lots of fatty and sugary foods, lack of fibre, lack of water and over consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Although, constipation can also be caused by certain medications, resisting the urge to poop, stress and overuse of laxatives.
How to help:
1. Make sure you are hydrated, drink at least 2 litres of water everyday. Dehydration is a huge factor when it comes to being constipated.
2. Increase your fibre intake, most people are way under the recommended amount for fibre intake. Fibre is what gives your stool its “bulk” by helping move waste through the intestines.
High-Fibre Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, avocados
Vegetables: dark leafy greens, carrots, beets, broccoli, asparagus, artichoke, cabbage, sweet potato, squash
Legumes: Kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, white beans, lentils, edamame
Whole grains: Ezekiel bread, oatmeal: steel cut oats, buckwheat groats, brown rice or wild rice, quinoa
Nuts and Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
almonds, pistachios (unsalted)
It is recommended we get at least 25-35 grams of fibre each day, although I suggest you start slow and increase as you go. Otherwise, this could create uncomfortable bloating, gas and more of an issue of constipation.
3. Add more healthy fats
Healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, flax oil, chia and flax seeds, etc. – play an important role in gut health by decreasing gut inflammation, lubricating the digestive tract and giving the good bacteria a chance to flourish.
4. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, coconut yogurt, miso, tempeh, etc. can provide the gut with good bacteria. Alternatively, you can add a probiotic supplement to your regimen. Look for one with 20-50 billion CFUS, coming from multiple strains of bacteria.
5. Supplement with Magnesium
Taking a magnesium supplement can help draw water into the intestines to better hydrate the stool and encourage better function of the intestinal muscles. In this case Magnesium Oxide or Magnesium Citrate can both be used as a gentle, natural laxative.
6. Remove your food sensitivities (common ones are dairy, gluten, caffeine, soy, corn)
Food intolerances can often cause constipation. When someone has a food intolerance, they often lack the certain enzymes to help digest that food-so when they eat it, it isn’t properly broken down and digested. This undigested food ends up sitting in the gut and begins to ferment, accumulating bad bacteria overtime. Eventually leading to imbalances in the gut that can cause things like constipation.
7. Exercise daily
Daily movement can help stimulate the digestive system and get things moving! This can be anything from a walk, a light jog, some dancing, squats, whatever you like.
8. Create good toilet habits
Making it a habit to sit on the toilet the same time everyday, in the proper position with your feet elevated, feeling nice and relaxed can let your body know you are giving it the time to eliminate.
9. Herbal teas: Herbs such as senna, licorice, marshmallow root, peppermint, chamomile, cinnamon can all be helpful. My favourite herbal tea is Traditional Medicinals: Smooth Move tea
10. Increase stomach acid
Before every meal take 1 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in with water to activate your digestive enzymes. Your digestive system needs to properly digest your food in order for you to create healthy bowel movements. Always make sure to dilute ACV in water, it can be very harsh on the esophagus!!
11. Aloe vera gel
Aloe can be super soothing on the intestinal tract and can actually act as a natural laxative. I recommend throwing 2-3 tablespoons into a smoothie, this way you can’t taste it at all. I have a great gut-soothing smoothie that you could definitely add it to!
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult his or her personal physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.