CONSTIPATION - Causes, cures & prevention

Constipation is a common and very uncomfortable health issue. Anyone who experienced constipation once in a lifetime knows what we are talking about. Not being able to go to the toilet as we do usually is literally a pain in the a**.  


Fortunately there are many things you can do to treat or prevent constipation. As we always say, we are all different and unique and so is our digestive tract. Some of us have a high tendency to suffer from constipation, others don’t. In this article we will talk about what causes constipation and a lot of remedies that everyone can use. 


What is constipation?

Perhaps it is unnecessary to talk about “What is constipation”, let’s just mention the definition from the dictionary that says: “Constipation is a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces.” I think we all got it. 


What causes constipation?

Constipation tends to occur during the holidays, when we are not able to use the toilet at home and our routines and rituals are different ones. It also happens frequently when we make sudden dietary or other changes in our lives. Special situations like pregnancy, illness (fever), dehydration, stress, some types of medication or simply not being active can all be reasons for constipation.  


Besides those “lifestyle” causes of constipation there are serious health conditions like cancer, hormonal or nerve issues or other serious mechanical issues like the narrowing of the bowel that may lead to constipation. 


Dietary changes have a huge impact on digestive health. Especially when talking about constipation there is a lot you can do to try to sort this uncomfortable issue out. Let’s start straight away with possible relievements. 


What can help you to avoid constipation?


  • Water
        1. Why? Water is the source of life. We can survive quite some time without food but not very long without water. All of our cells need water to function. Our digestive tract benefits greatly when we are well hydrated. On top of that drinking water helps with bowel movements. 
        2. What? Aim to drink 8 glasses of filtered water during the day. The best thing to start the day is a glass of water, if you wish with a bit of fresh lemon juice. This does not only help to refill the water you’ve lost during the night but will also help to get your digestion going. 
  • Fiber
      1. Why? Fibers are the indigestible or partially digestible parts of plants that are very important for our digestive tract. It is vital to eat a diet high in fiber because it has a lot of benefits for our body, health and overall well-being. It helps to improve digestion, to prevent diseases, to stabilize blood-glucose levels, to reduce the amount of fat or carbohydrates that are absorbed and it can even help with weight loss because it keeps you satiated for a long time. 

    There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Let’s have a closer look at those. 

  • What?
        1. Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber is the part of plants that form a gel like consistency when mixed with water. This adds bulk to the stool, stimulates the mucosa mechanically, thus improving digestion. Eating a lot of soluble fiber can also help to lower blood cholesterol. One of the best examples are chia seeds. Other sources of soluble fiber are oats, legumes, barley and psyllium. 

    Soluble fiber can be broken down by the bacteria in the large intestine to gases. 

        1. Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fiber can not be broken down by our digestive enzymes or gut bacteria. It has the simple effect of adding bulk to our stool which increases passage times. This type of fiber is sometimes called “roughage”. It can be found in whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables (especially in the stalks, skins, and seeds).

  • Fat 
        1. Why? The monounsaturated fats in olive oil help to smooth the inside of the bowel, the mucosa. This makes it easier for the stool to pass. It also helps to keep the stool softer. Apart from that olive oil has uncountable health benefits. It is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. 
        2. What? Take a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach. This is a super healthy and natural laxative.
  •  Exercise
      1. Why? Exercise is totally necessary for a healthy life and longevity. Besides its countless benefits for our health it also helps with digestion. Certain types of exercise help to massage the bowel by stimulating the abdominal muscles. There are some special yoga poses that may help with digestion as well. Basically any exercise that gets your blood pumping will help to move things along. 
      2. What? As above mentioned, special yoga poses can help to improve digestion. Cardiovascular exercise stimulates your muscles and helps to push intestinal waste through your body. Other ancient chinese practises like Thai Chi improve the functioning of internal organs like the intestinal tract. Special stretching exercises of the abdominal muscles reduces the intra abdominal pressure which in turn can help to create more bowel movement. 

    A quick word to laxatives:

    A laxative is any medicine or supplement that helps the body have a bowel movement. Each laxative works differently. Laxatives work quickly and well, which is why people tend to use them too fast without trying to sort the problem in a natural and long lasting way (things mentioned above in this article). 


    The downsides of laxatives are that the body gets used to them and the more you use them, the less effective they are. They can even lead to just the opposite and cause constipation if overused. 


    What you should avoid:

    If your are prone to suffering from constipation, you should really avoid the following foods that may slow down bowel movement or even harm our digestive tract:


    • White bread products
    • Pizza, pasta, white rice
    • Low carb or ketogenic diets
    • Sugary Sweets
    • Chocolate

    Besides foods, your lifestyle has a huge impact on digestive health. As already mentioned being active maintains a healthy digestion. There is some evidence that depression and antidepressants may also lead to constipation. It's important to go to the toilet whenever you feel like you need to. Some people have problems pooping on public toilets or at work. Waiting until the evening to be at home may worsen the problem. 


    A healthy lifestyle helps you to maintain a healthy digestion and overall function of your body and internal organs. A high fiber diet combined with physical activity will probably do most of the job. If you are concerned with your fiber intake during the day try this great fiber recipe:


    Extreme Chia Pudding

    Chia Pudding is a super healthy and tasty breakfast. It gives your body everything it needs to start a day full of energy. For a little extra energy we add Extreme Energy to our Chia Pudding. This plate is full of nutrients for a healthy and strong body.


    1 Tbsp. Chia seeds

    1 Tbsp. (20g) Extreme Energy Mix LINK TO SHOP?

    200ml milk (can sub for almond milk or any other nut milk)

    100g Blueberries



    Nutrition Facts

    Servings: 1

    Amount per serving

     

    Calories

    299

    % Daily Value*

    Total Fat 8.7g

    17%

    Saturated Fat 1g

    5%

    Cholesterol 4mg

    1%

    Sodium 108mg

    5%

    Total Carbohydrate 41.7g

    17%

    Dietary Fiber 16.2g

    66%

    Total Sugars 20.1g

     

    Protein 14.3g

     

    Vitamin D 0mcg

    0%

    Calcium 445mg

    44%

    Iron 5mg

    25%

    Potassium 501mg

    18%

    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.


    Preparation:

    Mix everything together, stir well and leave in the fridge overnight. 

    TIP: For extra protein add a scoop of Okami Bio Pea Protein Powder (LINK to shop?) to your Chia Pudding. 

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