A regular bowel movement goes a long way in improving your wellbeing in ways that most people are unaware of. Stool is a mixture of harmful toxins, indigestible foods and other components excreted by the body organs that cannot be utilized by the body.
This is indeed toxic waste that should not be left in the body for long for apart from leading to adverse health effects, it adds to that undesirable waist bulge.
Experts recommend that healthy bowels should be emptied at least thrice a week and any lesser than this or if hard stool is experienced, is a case of constipation. Constipation is one of the most common occurrences in humans and there are a number of ways both, natural and through medication, that can be adopted to prevent its recurrence.
1. OTC Stool softeners
A variety of stool softeners can be acquired over the counter. If used according to the instructions, they can alleviate constipation problems reducing the pain during passage of hard stool and prevent tearing of soft tissues. The basic function of stool softeners is based on retaining water in the intestines, softening the stool and aiding in its easy passage. Stool softeners are different from laxatives in that they do not stimulate bowel movements but only aid in the natural removal of waste from the intestines. Some brand name stool softeners, and also recommended my most doctors include Colace and MiraLAX.
2. Over the counter products – Laxatives
Although natural constipation remedies come highly recommended, there are a number of over the counter products that are safe for use and have no known side effects. Laxatives, as they are known, aid in the fast movement of bowels. There are the bulk forming laxatives that increase the amount of the water in the body and also the intensity of the stool increasing the speed and regularity of bowel movement. There are also osmotic laxatives that stimulate the muscles involved in digestion. Stimulant laxatives lead to intestinal muscles contraction aiding in the necessary movement of stool.
3. Eating food rich in fiber
Fiber remains the most recommended method of preventing constipation by enabling bulk stool move through the intestines. It has been likened to a broom that removes stuck debris in the intestinal walls. Immense research has been conducted towards this end and while there is a tussle amongst experts on how much is effective but there is unanimity on its importance. A research conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center ascertained that the body requires at least 30g of fiber in a day to aid in the smooth movement of bowels. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables and beans have been identified as the richest in fibers. Foods that may lead to constipation include those with sugars and fat and should be consumed in moderation.
4. Taking a lot of fluids
Water is essential for most of the body processes to occur effectively including digestion. One of the known causes of constipation is dehydration and to prevent this adequate amount of water should be taken. Doctors recommend an intake of two liters of water daily under normal circumstances. If engaging in physical exercises and under hot weather an increased intake of 3 to 4 liters is advisable. Although other drinks such as sodas and juice can be taken, they are not highly recommended for unlike water they contain sugar and can worsen the constipation.
5. Exercise regularly
Another natural way of relieving constipation is through exercises. According to a report published by Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, constipation, which is a common complication of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, can be prevented through constant vigorous exercises. Exercising stimulates bowel movement by aiding the movement of the toxic waste through the colon. Through exercising, a fresh bout of oxygenated blood is supplied to the essential body organs aiding the excretory process.
6. Eating prunes regularly
Research has affirmed that prunes are indeed useful when it comes to relieving constipation. Apart from being rich in fiber, they have an additional element referred to as sorbitol which is a colonic stimulant aiding in increasing digestion and excretion. For those that dislike the taste of prune, a mixture of prune juice with other sweeteners can go a long way in alleviating constipation. However, it is crucial to note that prunes in their natural way have a higher percentage of sorbitol and hence those taking prune juices as an alternative should do so in high quantities.
7. Take low iron vitamin supplements
According to the American Pregnancy Association, iron supplements when taken in large quantities by pregnant women can result to constipation. Pregnant women have particularly been found to be more prone to constipation as a result of producing hormones that hamper the proper movement of intestinal muscle and also because of the pressure exerted on the intestines by the increasing size of the uterus. To avoid this, pregnant women are advised to reduce their intake of iron supplements and instead stick to natural diets that can deliver the equal quantity of iron needed by the body. This can be done in line with the recommendations of the doctor.
8. Eating bananas regularly
The debate on whether bananas cure or cause constipation has been raging for long. On one side of the debate are those that hold a myth that bananas harden the stool resulting the constipation in addition to causing other digestion problems. Intense research on this topic however has assuaged such fears, instead bringing out a number of benefits of eating bananas. The myth surrounding bananas is mostly associated with un-ripened bananas. Ripe bananas indeed contain a large amount of soluble fiber that contributes to an effective digestive system. They soothe the internal digestive system healing any resultant damage to the walls. In addition, they also help in regularizing bowel movements in cases of diarrhea. Dr. Karlo Mauro, a Naturopathic Medicine expert, advises those experiencing constipation to take at least two ripe bananas daily until the situation is alleviated. For normal circumstances, eating a banana daily does indeed keep constipation away. Other fruits advocated for as constipation relievers include pears, peaches and mangoes. For those that who cannot withstand the taste of raw fruits, fruit juices can be perfect alternatives although they might not give adequate relief as the whole fruit.
Indeed constipation is a common problems but the good news is that it can be prevented. As ascertained, eating food rich in fiber, fruits such as bananas, taking a lot of fluids, vigorous exercises can reduce instances of constipation. Foods rich in sugar should be taken in moderation as they exacerbate the situation further.