Constipation – Why is it so bad?
You may be thinking is this bad? Or you may be thinking, it is SO bad right now, right?
Constipation effects about 16 out of 100 adults, and in those over age 60 it is 33 to of 100! This is a lot of people who cannot poop regularly!
The definition of constipation is less than three bowel movements a week, and/or in combination with the movement being hard, dry or lumpy, difficult or painful to pass, and also feeling like not all the bowel movement was completed. In the NTP world, however, we like to see bowel movements on a daily basis, in fact up to 3 a day are OK if they are normally formed. That means you are detoxing. When you do not have at least one bowel movement a day your body runs the risk of reabsorbing those toxins from the waste, and then you start down another path.
What can really happen if you are constipated?
Constipation leads to more than just feeling poorly from it. You can also develop things like:
- Allergies and skin issues
- Low energy
- Mental fogginess
- Pain and inflammation in the joints
What should the bowel movements be then?
These movements should be painless and effortless. We don’t want the fecal matter to stay in the bowel for long. Ideally you want 1-2 movements a day. If they stay in longer it can lead to reabsorption of cholesterol, hormones and other waste materials which can be detrimental to your health.
What contributes to constipation?
Underlying factors can lead to constipation like thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, medications and certain disorders. Mostly though, digestion and good dietary habits can prevent the chronic diseases associated with this, and constipation itself.
How do we get our guts moving?
- Drink/hydrate ourselves with plain water daily in the amount determined with your practitioner. In general your BASELINE (like the absolute minimum you need) is half your body weight in water ounces daily. However, if you consume caffeine and other diuretic beverages your total will be more.
- Eat more fiber rich and water dense foods. This means VEGETABLES and plant matter. Fiber is often lost on people. They believe eat more fiber means find products out there that say they have more fiber and consume them. Many times these types of products can actually lead to aggravations and more issues with movements. Adding plant based foods into your life will make your bowel movements better. Aim for 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily! See some examples below (this is not a limited list – the sky is the limit)
- Reduce stress – Chronic stress slows digestion, and acute stress speeds things up. Neither situation is ideal or good. You want to be calm at meals, leave yourself time to chew and your system to take the necessary time it needs to break down and absorb nutrients.
- Reducing consumption of certain foods. These can be processed, refined, or simply foods that are causing hypersensitivity in you. These would be determined with your practitioner. But always getting rid of processed foods will help a lot!
- Taking a probiotic supplement. The type you choose and strands in that brand are incredibly important for your personal success in using these. If you would like a supplement, let’s talk about your NAQ results and get you the right strands for your imbalance. Taking things like birth control pills, antibiotics, corticosteroids and more can cause imbalances in your gut.
What foods should I eat then?
Fiber Rich, Water Dense, Nutrient Dense Foods
- Brussel Sprouts
- Chia Seeds
- Cooked Kale
- Sweet Potato
Other great foods to eat to help with digestion
- Flax seeds
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha
- Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, hemp heart oil, avocado oil, coconut oil
- Green superfoods like spirulina
- Dandelion, licorice, nettle leaf teas
- Lemon water
- Leafy greens like kale, arugula, spinach
- Raw fruits & vegetables (if tolerable)
Some foods may also CONTRIBUTE to the difficulty of going, so we should eliminate most and greatly reduce others. Some of those include:
- Dairy Products (this may be a reduction situation vs. elimination)
- Sugary sweet and treats
- White flour and rices
- GMO foods, like corn, soy and wheat
- Commercial cereals and bars.
At the end of the day think… PLANTS and WATER! Every day – get these in and things will start moving. If not, it’s time to look at irritants in the food, and medications and more!
If you are having any type of abnormal bowel movements, it’s time to look to the food, and water to see what is going on. Check out my free consult and we can talk more about what nutritional therapy might look like for your digestion!