Constipation is a common problem that affects millions of people. It’s not fun, and it can cause serious health issues if left untreated. It is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in adults and children.
There are many ways to prevent constipation. Some of these methods include eating more fiber-rich foods, drinking lots of water each day, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep at night. However, you might be wondering which methods actually work the best?
In this article we look at a number of popular and not so well-known methods which can help with your constipation.
How common is constipation?
Constipation is a common problem that affects many people. There are several ways to prevent constipation, including making changes to your diet and lifestyle, and taking certain medications or supplements. Here are five tips for preventing constipation.
According to a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 43 percent of adults experience constipation regularly. About 15 percent of the time, this is due to an underlying health condition or medication.
Here we list some of the main ways to reduce constipation and ease your condition.
1. Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
The most important thing you can do to be a creative person is eat well.
You may have heard that before, but it’s worth repeating because so many people don’t realize how much good food does for creativity. We all know what happens when we don’t get enough sleep or exercise, and the same holds true for our diets:
When we eat too few calories or too many carbs, our brains just won’t work as well. And when they’re not working at full capacity, they’re less able to come up with new ideas and insights. It’s also been shown that eating sugar makes us more emotional and impulsive.
2. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
Drink more water. We all know that a glass of water can cure many ills, and it also helps prevent constipation. If you’re not drinking enough every day, start with 8 glasses a day and increase slowly as needed. The fluid will help transport waste material from your body.
Other ways to improve your constipation by drinking include:
- Drink a glass of prune juice every day if your constipation isn’t relieved by steps 1-5 above. Prunes are high in fiber, but they also contain sorbitol, making them very effective for alleviating constipation. Just make sure the juice you’re drinking is pure prune juice, not flavoured.
- Drink 2-4 ounces of prune juice (or pure cranberry) and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a glass of warm water to relieve constipation quickly.
- Drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day, but not after 2:00 p.m.: caffeine stimulates bowel contractions and so can help prevent constipation. But drinking too much coffee late in the day could make it hard to sleep, so limit your intake to morning hours for best results.
- Drink 3-4 ounces daily of fresh, pure aloe vera juice for its laxative properties and to help stimulate the liver and gallbladder to release toxins which can cause constipation.
- Include 1 tablespoon of cumin powder in your daily diet and drink a glass of warm milk before going to (or at) bed.
- Drink 2-3 cups of parsley tea each day until you see results: parsley is high in fiber and is also thought to improve your liver function, helping to eliminate toxins from your body which can cause constipation.
- Drink 2-3 tablespoons daily of apple cider vinegar to help stimulate your bowels and discourage constipation.
- Drink a glass of pure carrot juice every day: the high fiber content of carrots helps push wastes through your system, relieving constipation. Be sure to drink it on an empty stomach, at least half an hour before eating anything else!
- Take a tablespoon of honey and a glass of warm water, before going to bed: the glucose in honey is metabolized very quickly and so helps to encourage bowel contractions.
3. Avoid eating processed foods and fast food
Reduce or eliminate your intake of dairy products and salt. Some people are lactose intolerant, which means they don’t have enough of the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance can lead to bloating, cramping, diarrhea and constipation. If you think you may have lactose intolerance, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist about over-the-counter products that contain the enzyme, called lactase.
Salt boosts water retention in your body by retaining fluids, which can lead to constipation. Many people are already on a low sodium diet, but if that’s not necessary for you, try cutting back on salt to see if it makes a difference.
For long term relief, try an elimination diet to work out any foods that may be causing the problem over time. The most common culprits are dairy products, meat and wheat products
4. Avoid sugary drinks
Constipation is one of the most common side effects of drinking sugary drinks. This is because sugar in your diet can lead to less fibre being digested, which means that more waste stays in your colon longer than it should. Furthermore, too much added sugar has been linked to obesity and diabetes due to its high content of calories without any nutritional benefits.
Finally, some people produce extra gas when they consume foods with large amounts of fructose or sorbitol. This gas may cause bloating and abdominal pain if not released through flatulence or bowel movements on a regular basis. Given this information, you might want to consider cutting out sugary drinks completely for at least two weeks before re-introducing these beverages into your diet again.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise is another important factor in creativity. It increases blood flow to the brain, builds new neurons, and encourages the brain to make new connections between different ideas. This will not only help you come up with more creative ideas; it will also improve your ability to process information quickly.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. If you’re not used to exercising regularly, start with 5-10 minute sessions and build up slowly. Walking is an easy way to get started if you can’t think of anything else! And it’s no excuse that you don’t have time in your busy schedule; exercise only takes a few minutes and is definitely worthwhile.
6. Get enough sleep every night
The brain is a complex organ that needs its rest.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your digestive system can suffer because it will be working harder to digest food without the assistance of any hormones or enzymes which are normally secreted when you are asleep. This could lead to constipation and even colon cancer in some cases.
Lastly, not getting enough sleep can make people irritable and moody. If they have difficulty concentrating, their work performance may suffer as well. For these reasons alone, most doctors recommend that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night in order to maintain good health over the long term.
7. Take time to relax and de-stress
In a world that moves at breakneck speed, it’s no wonder so many people are struggling to keep up with life.
This is a problem for a lot of reasons, but the most basic one is this: when you’re stressed or anxious your body can’t digest food properly. You know how sometimes you’ll have an upset stomach after eating something and not be able to figure out why?
That could be because you’re carrying stress in your gut from too much work or too much worry. So if you want to clear up those digestive issues, then take time each day to relax and de-stress as well as taking care of yourself by eating well and getting enough exercise. It all has benefits on both your mental health and your physical health.
Take 10 minutes each day to do something that relaxes and de-stresses you.
Here are some ideas:
- Read or listen to music
- Take a walk in nature
- Go for a massage or reflexology session with an experienced therapist who can help you release your pain by working deep into your muscles. Long-term pain relief is one of the best benefits of this treatment, along with helping your liver to detoxify properly
- Try yoga for its mental and physical benefits
- Take 10 minutes twice a day for some deep breathing exercises that will calm you down and allow your body to relax. You can also do these while walking outside or even sitting at your desk
- Keep a humorous book or video with you to make you laugh when you need it most. It’s amazing what humour can do for your body and mind.
8. Use a stool softener if needed
Try some fiber supplementation on a daily basis. There are many options available that come in convenient bulk-forming laxative tablets or capsules that can be taken at bedtime with water. You can also add a supplement to your diet by eating more high fiber foods, which are more easily digested whole foods that have not been processed.
Talk to your doctor about using a laxative, stool softener or other medication to help you get back on track. These products are also available over-the-counter in most cases, but it’s always best to be certain they won’t interfere with any medications you are taking or any condition you may have.
Have 1-2 tablespoons daily of flaxseed oil for its laxative properties. Flaxseed oil is also high in omega 3 fatty acids which help your liver work more efficiently to clean your blood of toxins that can cause constipation.
9. See your doctor if the constipation doesn’t improve
Have your doctor test you for hypothyroidism. People with this condition produce too few thyroid hormones, which are essential to the proper function of muscles in your digestive tract, including those that help you have bowel movements. Hypothyroidism is also linked with problems concentrating and memory loss, depression, dry skin and weight gain.
Constipation can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to prevent constipation from happening in the first place or treat it if you have a case of the runs later on.
Trying out some of these methods to see which help and ease your constipation is your first step before taking more active measures such as medication or even surgery.
A quick reminder ..
Probiotics.tips aim to provide the most up to date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain and require more clarity, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.