Let’s have a little talk about poop. Tee-hee. Constipation is the issue here and it effects everyone at some point or another. Even if your diet is pristine as can be, other things like stress and exposure to toxins can make your poop process stop in it’s tracks. We all know fibre helps keep things moving along and this is absolutely true, but did you know there are a host of other factors that can contribute to a smooth moving number two? Here are 7 things you can do to have healthy bowel movements on the regular.
1. Chia seeds
Cha-cha-cha chia! Chia seeds were very on trend a few years ago and they are still going strong. Incorporating 1 tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in a glass of water for 2-3 hours will give you the best poop of your life. When you put the seeds in water or juice, they plump up into almost a tapioca consistency. They form a gel membrane and when you swallow the jellied seeds whole, they push waste through the colon and into the toilet like total pros. Another plus for chia seeds is that the gel on the outside of the seed acts as a sponge and absorbs any toxins hanging out in the intestinal tract. Have your chia every morning and you will never be constipated again.
I know, I know. Not exactly as sexy and exciting as chia seeds, but one of the biggest reasons behind chronic constipation is dehydration. You knew this was coming. We are a nation of dehydration and it’s not necessarily our fault. The tap water we have access to has been sterilized and completely stripped of minerals like magnesium, calcium and zinc. Minerals are the real secret behind staying hydrated. Why do you think there’s sodium in Gatorade? Sodium is a mineral and sort of “wakes up” the water to actually do its job in the body. So up your water intake but make sure you are drinking the right type. Have at the very least 64 ounces of bottled spring water per day. As a bonus, squeeze some lemon in your water or drink coconut water for some extra hydration power.
3. Squat down
Did you know that the most natural way for humans to defecate is in a squatting position? Toilets are a modern invention and when we sit up like a king while we poop, we’re actually squishing the bottom half of our colon making it a little more difficult to get the lead out. You can easily achieve a squatting position by placing a stool or garbage bin underneath your feet. Sit like that for 5-10 minutes and all of a sudden you will start to feel a release. In other countries like India and Thailand, there are actually foot holders beside the toilet for this very reason! Try it and see if you notice a difference in your poop-ability.
Ok I said it, the F word. Fibre is king when it comes to perfect pooping, but what kind of fibre is best? The answer is a lot more simple than you think. It’s fruits and vegetables. The fibre in fruits and veggies is “squishy” and acts fast, unlike fibre supplements like psyllium husk, flax seed and grain based fibre. If you are feeling backed up, blend up a whole whack of fruit in a blender and drink it down. Apples, pears, bananas, berries, melons, oranges, you name it. All of these fruits are great to relieve constipation. Fruit digests very quickly and all that soft, watery fibre is like a tidal wave in your intestinal tract. If consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables aren’t your thing, try a few dried plums, apricots or dates. Go easy on the dried fruit though because they are like tiny concentrated fibre bombs and can give you the runs if you eat too much.
5. Senna Tea
Senna Tea should only be used in emergencies. If you’ve been constipated for a few days, you can make an exception and use some senna. The only danger with using it on a regular basis, is that it can cause chronic dehydration, therefore making your constipation even worse. If you really need it though, once every few months will be just fine. Drink a cup before bed and you will find that relief awaits you in the morning. Use it as a tool, not part of your regular routine.
6. Deep belly breathing
Breathing into your belly actually helps to push things along. Makes sense doesn’t it? Breathe in for the count of 7 and try to keep your chest and shoulders lowered and still. Expand your belly out and hold for the count of 4 and then breathe out for the count of 7 again. Keep repeating this until you feel relaxed. Stressful events in your life can actually slow down the digestion process because of the increase of adrenaline being pumped through the body. When we feel in danger, our digestion and sex organs slow down and our “fight or flight” mechanism gets activated. Taking the time to actually breathe as if you are safe will completely change your health in the long term.
7. Aloe Vera
Much like the chia seeds, aloe vera is a gel that pushes things through the intestinal tract. You can buy a whole aloe vera leaf at the grocery store, cut it open and blend up the gel with some other fruit or juice. It can taste pretty bitter so you will definitely need to add some sweetness. The gel consistency is key to getting everything cleared out. This type of fibre is way superior to whole grains. The aloe also calms down any inflammation that may be causing the constipation in the first place. An alternative to using a whole aloe leaf is to buy the inner fillet gel in a bottle at the health food store.
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