We talk about our children and our spouses, about work and our weight. We can talk about PMS, pimples and wrinkles but we draw the line. We don’t really talk about our tummy troubles. And we have them, I don’t know what it is but I feel as though constipation is running rampant. I have a theory that constipation is worse in winter. I’m not a researcher but many more clients complain about constipation in colder months. Could it be a lack of sun and therefore vitamin D? In animal studies rats without vitamin D do develop constipation.
Let’s start with the basics, in order to “go” you need motion and the lotion. By "motion" I mean activity. Aerobic exercise helps muscles in the intestines contract. If you are not a regular exerciser, make sure you are walking 10-15 minutes at least a couple times a day. Certain yoga poses such as bow pose and plough can also help. Lotion refers to two things necessary to move stool through you fluid and fat. Dehydration leads to hard stools so be sure to drink 48 to 64 ounces of water a day. Fat phobia can also cause dehydration. Avocado, coconut oil and other good fats do the body (and the bowels) good.
There are also some trusted tummy tools:
- Chia seeds contain insoluble fiber and fat both helpful when constipated.
- Magnesium is connected to bowel function. I have mentioned a product before called Natural Calm that can be prepared like a tea in the evening. Pumpkin seeds and cocoa also have a good amount of magnesium and fiber.
- Probiotics- your gut flora has a big impact on your bowel movements. A probiotic supplement containing the culture bifidus helps promote regularity. Also, in case you need another reason to skip the Splenda it kills gut bacteria.
- Jerusalem Artichokes naturally contain a prebiotic called inulin. Prebiotics help the proliferation of probiotics, you can think of them as fuel for the probiotics. Jerusalem artichokes are a vegetable (you can make latkes out of them for Hanukkah) and there are also pastas made from Jerusalem artichokes.
- There are 3 A's: acupuncture can be very helpful if you have chronic constipation as can aromatherapy, black pepper oil inhaled or rubbed on your belly has been suggested for constipation. And Aloe vera juice can be a strong “tool”. It can be added to juices or smoothies and as with any of these suggestions, start slowly. When it comes to “going” to much of a good thing isn’t fun either.
Some foods should be avoided if you are dealing with constipation and those are the mainly the whites or foods with white flour or white sugar and too much animal protein. Try keeping meat and poultry to once a day if you are binded. Cow's milk has been connected with constipation particularly in children. Goat's milk is worth a try if you're curious. Also on the skip list are laxatives containing senna as an ingredient as these build dependence. If constipation persists it can indicate a problem with thyroid function and should be taken seriously. As you can see, this is a big topic and there is a lot more I could say but I’ve got to “go” now.
OK let's hear it, are you constipated? If so is it worse in winter? What are your tummy tools? Do you talk to friends or family members about your bowels?