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  • Linnette Johnson

How to Relieve Constipation - Simple Foods and Practices

I suffered from constipation off and on for the first thirty years of my life, not knowing I was constipated. It all came to a head after the birth of my first and only child. I was MISERABLE! So, I went to the store and bought Fig Newton's, thinking, ‘NOW, I will solve the problem!’ Guess what? It didn’t work.


Thankfully, I have been educated on HOW to build daily bowel movements into my daily routine. Now, it’s just part of my morning, and if I DON’T have one in the morning, my body feels “off”!



Here are three simple tips that I learned:


WATER, WATER, WATER


Did you know that up to 75% of Americans are dehydrated? The problem is much more prevalent than most of us realize. Water is needed to help the food pass through the small and large intestines, along with the colon and rectum, as food can take up to 24 hours to pass from the mouth to the anus. In the intestine alone, one gallon of fluids is absorbed daily to help digestion. In the colon alone, 5 to 10 pounds of fecal matter can be stored because of dehydration caused by lack of water.


MOVEMENT


Moving your body every day is vital to daily bowel movements. What is the best kind of movement to do? The one you will get done daily! You don’t have to do a ‘killer’ workout every day to be considered exercise; get up and MOVE. Outside is ideal, but get it done! Getting 20 to 30 minutes of continuous movement will help move your bowels. Exercise is even more important during long periods of sitting, such as commutes, trips, sedentary desk jobs, and screen time. Write it into your daily schedule, and your daily bowel movement will follow closely behind!


LOTS OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES


Changing your diet to incorporate 50% to 75% fresh fruits and veggies will radically change your daily elimination habits, as they add fiber to your diet. Fiber comes in two forms as follows:


  • Soluble fiber will break down, attract water, and turn into a gel, binding waste products as it travels through the digestive system. Because it can interfere with the absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol, it can help lower the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. It slows the digestive process, and the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed can help reduce rapid increases in blood sugar after a meal. Foods such as oats, lentils, seeds, fruits, and some vegetables are good examples.

  • Insoluble fiber isn’t soluble in water. It will increase the stool bulk and is found in dark greens, fruit skins, whole grains, vegetables, and seeds. It can speed up the movement through the gut, thus will help with constipation.


Fiber consumption, in general, will make you feel full longer. The daily target should be 28-35 grams.

So, when planning meals, plan your veggies and fruits first, and then add the carbs and protein. For instance, at lunch, fill your plate with a beautiful, BIG salad as the “mattress” for the rest of your meal. Experiment with a new veggie or fruit frequently. Eat seasonally and experience the most nutrition for your body. Look for local farmers’ markets to buy fresh and local produce. And, of course, organic is best if it is an option.


Incorporate these three tips into your daily routine; your body will be well-oiled in no time! Oh yes, and speaking of oil, one more tip: 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil right off the spoon will lube your system like a well-tuned motor! You will feel lighter, more energetic, and less bloated in no time!


Daily bowel movements are the norm, so if you are not having a daily bowel movement it may be time to start changing your mindset and habits with small, slow, steady and sustainable steps!


Have questions or need support, please reach out-- constipation is huge with those in recovery from substance use or with eating disorders or just living on the American Standard Diet. Change your narrative... let me know how these tips worked or if you need more assistance.


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