10 tips to help ease constipation
Yes, let’s talk about pooping for a minute. This is nothing to be ashamed of – we all do it. It’s the most natural thing. But yet a lot of my clients are still uncomfortable talking about it.
But please don’t be. No need. Bowel and poop habits can vary dramatically from person to person. Your bowels move toxins out of your body and being regular is key to our health.
Your bowels ideally should move one to three times per day and never less than once a day.
It's important to note that whenever a person’s bowel habits change significantly, they should visit their doctor for an evaluation.
If constipation is something you are struggling with, there are a few things below that you can do to get your bowels moving on a regular basis.
10 tips to help with regular bowel movements
1. Eat four dried prunes in the morning or evening followed by a glass (250ml) of water. Prunes gained their claim to fame for helping with regularity, that's because of their insoluble fibre and sorbitol (a natural laxative). As a bonus, prunes do a great job of lowering cholesterol levels.
2. Eat three or four dried figs in the morning or evening followed by a glass (250ml) of water.
Soak three or four dried figs overnight in half a cup of water – eat the figs and drink the juice first thing in the morning. Figs possess similar effect to prunes. They nourish and tone the intestines and act as a natural laxative because of their high fibre content. Plus, they are packed with nutrients such as iron (among many other nutrients) to prevent anaemia.
3. Eat pineapple. Like prunes and figs, this fruit is a natural laxative that can help with regularity. It also has enzymes called bromelain which is especially helpful for breaking down protein. If you have a meat-heavy meal (BBQ, Indian etc.), pineapple is a fruit that you want to be eating.
4. Try kefir, my personal favourite. This yoghurt-like drink is loaded with probiotics that your intestines will love. Research shows that when people were given kefir, they had an increase in faecal moisture. Extra wetness is super important and a much-welcomed relief if constipation is an issue. Plus, the friendly bacteria (probiotics) in kefir help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
If you haven’t tried kefir – please do. Nearly every bigger shop (M&S, Sainsbury's and Asda) has it these days.
Tip: add two prunes and a teaspoon of ground flaxseed into 125ml (half glass) of kefir, a great, healthy way to stay regular. This can be a healthy daily snack. It’s certainly mine.
5. Up your bean intake. Beans are a fantastic fibre-packed powerhouse to add to your diet if you need relief from constipation quickly. Beans offer 10 grams of fibre (or more!) per cup and are a great solution if you are looking to get things moving.
6. Drink water! This goes without saying – yet many of us don’t drink enough water. Think about this one.
Tip: Buy a six-bottle pack of Evian (or non-plastic bottled) water and put it in every room in the house – office, sitting room, bedroom as well as your car and handbag. So, you can see it. When you see it - you’ll drink it! This is how the brain works, for most of us.
7. Sip soothing tea. Teas such as dandelion or peppermint help ease constipation gently. Peppermint tea contains menthol which helps to soothe the digestive system, whilst moving stools through the intestines. Dandelion tea can help with cramping or bloating.
Tip: the best thing is to sip this tea in the evening before bed.
8. Get moving! Make sure you get out of the house for a walk or brief jog (10-15 minutes) every day!
9. Use olive oil. Put two or three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into your evening smoothie or your evening meal (stew, veggies, etc.). Olive oil is a humectant – it makes everything soft and smooth.
10. Try seawater flush. This is a method which involves drinking water mixed with sea salt (kitchen salt that says 'sea salt'). To tolerate the taste, you can dilute two teaspoons of sea salt in 250ml of water and then follow immediately with two more 250ml glasses of water. Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and you will have several bowel movements with 30 minutes to an hour.
If you have kidney issues or suffer high blood pressure, you should avoid the seawater flush method. It's always important to consult your nutrition professional or GP if you have other health conditions and struggle with constipation.
I hope this helps and keeps you regular on a daily basis.
Stay well, stay safe.
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