Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Constipation is a very common problem especially among those who do not drink enough water, eat refined foods deprived of fibre (processed foods and high animal product intake) and live a sedentary lifestyle. It is estimated that in North America, over 60 million people suffer from constipation.
Constipation should be regarded as a very dangerous problem because it contributes to many health conditions including colon cancer, haemorrhoids, hiatus hernia, leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, chronic back pains, varicose veins, etc.
You should have at least 1, but even better 2 or 3 bowel movements per day. Also keep in mind that frequency isn’t the only factor to measure. It is equally important to have large stools. The larger the stool the better as it means your diet is high in fibre which plays crucial role in preventing cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, and many other problems. In a healthy normal individual, bowel movements should be easy quick, odourless, and comfortable. If you have to read magazines or books in the toilet you need to start thinking about it.
– Refined diet (diet Low in fibre)
– Dehydration (low intake of water)
– Lack of physical activity
– Delay in going to the bathroom when you have the urge
– Stress, anxiety, depression
– Magnesium deficiency
– Insufficient amount of probiotic bacteria in the gut
– Poor quality iron and calcium supplements
– An unrefined (high in fibre) plant-based diet is the most effective way to avoid constipation and achieve regular, frequent and ease of bowel movements. This diet is most effective way to cope with constipation because it is very high in all fibre and water and has very beneficial effect on boosting the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut. As a result the gut is clean and healthy and will reward you by making more serotonin and PABA (Para Amino Butyric Acid) that improve the movement of the colon and make you happier.
– Switch to a totally plant-based (vegan) unrefined diet eliminating the intake of all animal-based foods (dairy, meat products, and fish) as they contain too much protein, are packed with high-risk factors (cholesterol, triglycerides, dioxins, heavy metals, antibiotics, bacteria, virus, cancer cells, prions, etc.) and because they don’t contain fibre. According to Professor Colin Campbell the author of the famous China Study, “The more you substitute plant foods for animal foods, the healthier you are likely to be.” The same scientist considers “veganism to be the ideal diet.”
– Chew your food thoroughly. For best results, fibre from vegetables, fruits, and legumes needs to be broken down by thorough chewing (or blending) before it reaches the stomach and intestines. One way to think of it is to remember to chew each bite of food until it is liquid in your mouth.
– Consider using a probiotic formula.
– Stay active as moving the body helps get the smooth muscle in the colon moving as well. In this way exercise helps to improve the peristalsis of the colon and prevent dehydration of the stool. As a result the “job” is done much easier as the stool contains more water. The more regular your exercise is, the better it works.
– Drink 3 times a day about 3 glasses of filtered or even better distilled water between meals.
– Avoid any constipating foods such as all refined products, sugar, white flour products, white rice, disserts, and eliminate or at least reduce meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, as they contain no fibre.
– Learn to control stress.
– Include uncooked carrots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cauliflowers and other vegetables in your diet as they are low in calories, but high in fibre and essential nutrients. In this way your body will stop craving for more food in between meals as it will have enough nutrients. Raw cabbage reduces the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat.
– Never fry your foods but cook or bake them without oil.
SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBAL REMEDIES
– Take Magnesium oxide or citrate 2 times a day about 400mg between meals with water. Magnesium improves peristalsis and relaxes nervous system, intestines and colon (colon is a muscle). Many people have problems with bowel movements because they are deficient in magnesium.
Instead of magnesium you can use Epsom salt. It is also an effective home remedy for constipation. It absorbs water from, softening up stool and making it easier to pass. In addition, the magnesium that is present in the Epsom salt promotes contractions and relaxation of the bowel muscles, which also helps to passing the stool easier. Take about two teaspoons of Epsom salt with at least one cup of water or vegetable juice about 30 minutes before meal one or two times a day.
– Psyllium husk is an excellent fibre to fight constipation. It and travels through the digestive tract without being digested but it absorbs water making stool bulkier and softer. In this way, like other fibres, it is very effective in coping with constipation. You can achieve similar results by using ground flax seed.
OTHER HERBAL REMEDIES AND SUPPLEMENTS TO FIGHT CONSTIPATION
– Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Linoforce (Vogel), Prunes, Prune juice, Castor oil, Senna leaf or Senna pods, Aloe vera, Dandelion tea.
– If constipation is resistant to above treatment you must do the enema at least once a week to prevent colon cancer and other conditions such as leaky gut syndrome, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, haemorrhoids, hiatus hernia, etc.
Higgins PD, Johanson JF. Epidemiology of constipation in North America: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol 2004, 99:750-759.