What is something we don’t really like to talk about, but happens to all of us at one time or another? Constipation! And here is a few ways to combat it when you experience it.
Fixate on Fiber
Eating high-fiber food is one of the seven key choices of Long Life Eating as explained in my blog Here. One more reason to get more fiber is that it’s a magic ingredient when it comes to relieving constipation. Fiber is the indigestible parts of plants. When eaten in whole fruits, vegetables, and grains, it serves as a wick in your stomach, soaking up liquid and creating bulk to make it easier to move stools out of your system. Your goal is 20 to 30 grams a day, which is easy enough to get if you have a breakfast of high-fiber cereal with a cup of strawberries, then have a salad and a cup of beans or brown rice with lunch or dinner.
Bake some muffins
Just mix in 2 teaspoons of psyllium seed or husk for each muffin you’re making. This grain is a natural laxative that’s great for simple constipation, although it may take a day before you get relief. You can also sprinkle 2 teaspoons of psyllium over cereal or yogurt.
Carry a refillable water bottle
Actually, get two. Fill them halfway with water and freeze. Then pull one out, top it off with water, and carry it with you everywhere. When it’s empty, fill it halfway with water again, put in the freezer, and take out the other bottle. Sometimes you just don’t feel thirsty but you need to keep drinking.
Get evaluated for depression
The links between the brain and the gut are powerful. It’s why you often feel nauseated when you’re nervous or can’t eat when you’re stressed. This strong link could be why a British study of 35 women found that those who were anxious, depressed, and having difficulty maintain intimate relationships were more likely to be constipated than healthier women. The reason? Your mental state affects the function of the nerves linking the brain to the gut. The less arousal in the brain – common with many psychological conditions – the less stimulus to the gut. It could explain why low doses of antidepressants, often prescribed for gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, are so effective.
Hit the gym
Move, Move, Move. Physical movement gets other things moving, including our bowels. But the more you sit on the couch or go from car door to bed to car, the less likely you are to go to the bathroom.
About 30 minutes after waking up, just after that first cup of hot coffee or tea, is the ideal time or a bowel movement, so create a place for it in your schedule. Instead of rushing through your morning, gulping the coffee, and scarfing the bagel, design a new schedule. Wake up, sip the hot drink while perusing the paper, then take your favorite section with you to the bathroom. Keep doing this even if you don’t initially have any luck. Remember, you are retraining your system, getting it back on a schedule. Eventually the muscle memory will kick in.
So, if recently things are going as you would like them to be in the bathroom, try a few of the tricks above and see what kind of difference it make for you!
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