Saturday, August 21, 2010

Foods That Relieve Constipation

As you probably already know, constipation is classified as a person that only has three bowel movements or fewer in a week. Their stool is hard and dry and sometimes it can be painful to pass. You also may feel bloated, clogged up, and full.

You might hear people tell you that it’s healthy to have a bowel movement at least once a day. While that may be true for some people there actually is no “right” number of bowel movements a typical person should have. Everybody is different and just needs to figure out your body’s normal number of bowel movements. There are many factors that determine this such as the type of food you eat, how much you exercise, how stressful your life is, etc.

At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated. In most cases, it lasts for a short time and is not serious. When you understand what causes constipation, you can take steps to prevent it. If you have IBS with constipation you probably already know how important fiber-rich foods are to your comfort.

The major cause of constipation is unhealthy eating habits and you’d be surprised how quickly you’d have a bowel movement after changing your diet for a few days. Fiber foods are also important in helping to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. They are not easily digestible by the intestinal tract hence putting them in the position of bulk forming enhancers and enable the feces to pass easily.

If you don’t already include foods like bran, wheat, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your daily diet it’s time to start now. In short, all high fiber foods are part of the .

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends you eat 20-35 grams of fiber a day but in order for a high-fiber eating plan to work its magic, you have to do three things:

Reach the higher-fiber target (of 20-35 grams of fiber a day) almost every day.Spread your high-fiber foods throughout the day so it works better on your bowels.Drink plenty of water and other non caffeinated, noncaloric liquids/beverages throughout the day as well. Fiber works better in the intestines if there is plenty of water to go with it.

For me, I found my solution by learning from someone else who has lived with constipation for many years. She travels three times a month (and probably just like you and I), her constipation was worse on the road. After reading her step-by-step e-book and learning her techniques, I was able to prevent my constipation in the future. I’ll include a picture and link to her e-book below if you’re interested in getting a copy.

Now I usually start the day by waking up and drinking a large glass of water and then eating a bowl of Raisin Bran or Fiber One. Just make sure to pick a cereal (or oatmeal) that has a lot of fiber and ideally low sugar. Look at the side of the box when you’re at the grocery store for the number of grams of fiber it contains. Having this for breakfast helps me have a bowel movement usually right after lunch or on a good day a few hours after breakfast. I also eat lots of green vegetables and drink green tea. The green tea helps in more than one way and is a natural way to help cleanse the body.

To help relieve constipation in the fastest and most painless way possible, try following some of these tips which have worked well for me:

Change your diet and start eating more fiber on a daily basis. I’m not asking you to drop all junk food and just eat spinach but instead try something like a bowl of high fiber cereal in the morning, 1 to 2 slices of whole-grain bread with peanut butter & a banana for lunch, and steamed vegetables with brown rice and a meat dish.Drink water regularly and other liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups. At least 6 glasses of water a day would be very great and therapeutic. Large amounts of water aids quick digestion and enables easier bowel movement.Get regular exercise which will help your digestive system stay active and healthy. You don’t need to become a great athlete. A 20 to 30 minute walk every day may help. I personally go to the gym 2-3 times a week which also helps me reduce stress.Add fiber supplements to your daily intake. Products like Fiber Choice, Metamucil, Konsyl, FiberCon, or anything basically containing psyllium husk powder will do the trick. You may get gas the first couple of days while your body gets used to the additional fiber but give it a week and the gas will pass (no pun intended).

I hope these tips help you as they’ve certainly helped me with my constipation and diarrhea as well. Bulking up your stool by eating fiber really helps push out and clean your bowels so besides feeling better, it’s a healthy way to live.

If you’ve got any questions or comments, please add them below. As you can see, I’ve added direct links to the fiber supplement products I mentioned above. You can order them from without having to make an embarrassing trip to the grocery!

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