Constipation is when a person has infrequent and uncomfortable bowel movements. The stool is often times large, hard and difficult to pass. Constipation can be accompanied by nausea, loss of appetite, bloating and abdominal discomfort. Many over the counter and prescription laxatives have uncomfortable side effects. Dependency can also occur when laxatives are used too frequently. A nutritional approach to treating constipation is the safest, most natural way to get your body back into its own cycle.
Foods high in fiber have been proven to help with constipation. This includes fresh fruits; including apples, berries and oranges, fresh vegetables; including carrots, squash and broccoli, whole grains found in breads, cereals and oatmeal, and nuts. Soluable fiber absorbs water to help stool stay soft and pass more easily. Insoluable fiber increases bulk so the stool keeps moving. Increasing your dietary fiber to decrease the transit time of the stool means your body will absorb less toxins from it.
Drink plenty of fluids. This does not include liquids that contain caffeine; such as coffee and cola, or alcohol. These will just cause your body to become more dehydrated. Stick with the natural fruit juices and water. Read labels and be aware of the sugar content in what you are drinking.
Engage in a regular exercise program. There is a reason more older people are constipated. When your body slows down so do your bowels. Generally it is recommended that a person exercise three times a week for twenty to thirty minutes. This will help keep your digestive system active and regular. Be sure to drink plenty of water if you have excessive sweating during exercise.
Take a probiotic. Probiotics are naturally found in the digestive tract and help protect it by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Yougart is a good way to get more probiotics in your diet.
Avoid the foods that cause constipation. Stay away from sugars, white flour, cakes and pastries, dairy products and cheese and processed foods.
Do not avoid the urge to go. Try to set aside a time each day when you know you will be able to use the bathroom.
Cook with ingredients that prevent constipation. Add flax seeds and psyllium to casseroles and stews. Ginger and cayene peppers are also beneficial.
If you do need to take a laxative find one that is natural. Aloe vera and senna are a couple choices. Follow the directions on the bottle for the first week and then decrease the dose in half for the second week.