Simple remedies for constipation

Constipation refers to any irregularity in, or absence of, bowel movements. The slow movement of food through the large intestine and the amount of time the waste remains in the colon are factors that contribute to constipation. More and more water is absorbed while the waste is in our body and the stool becomes drier and bulky, thus more difficult to pass.

Regular bowel movement is necessary to remove waste and toxins from the body. Some people have movements daily, others three times a week, this is normal, although some doctors consider a person moving bowels less than once a day to be constipated.

Constipation can be cause by lack of exercise, too much junk food, poor diet, painkillers, antidepressants and/or pregnancy. However serious diseases can cause constipation as well, including thyroid problems, circulatory disorder, colon malfunction (fistulas, tumours, and obstruction). Here are natural ways of returning the balance to the body:

Eat fruits, vegetables and other high fibre foods to increase your amount of fibre intake. Eat lots of fruits, green vegetables cabbage, peas, carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes; all these are high in fibre. Aim for at least 24 to 38 grams of fibre a day. Constipation results from over consumption of fats, refined sugar, and dairy in comparison to fibre from whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Increase the intensity of fibre. If a week-long vegetarian diet doesn’t fix the problem, a three-day fast of some high-fibre vegetable like cabbage is recommended.
Cabbage is particularly good because it’s not only high in fibre but it has enzymes which encourage the entire digestive tract to “flush.” This is also a good liver cleanse for a build-up of liver toxins.

Hydrate well. Constipation can also be caused by insufficient hydration. Generally drink a minimum of 10 to 20 ounces (1.5-2 litres) per day, or more depending on your size, the weather, or amount of exercise.

If trying to relieve a bout of constipation, increase your water consumption for three to four days, starting with a big glass in the morning and drinking regularly throughout the day.

As a matter of routine, you should be drinking at least ten glasses of warm water daily. Water is one of the best liquids that wash waste and toxins from our body. You cannot replace water with other drinks, such as juice and soda regardless of how healthy or natural they are, because they tend to contain excessive sugar that could actually exacerbate constipation.

Try the banana cure for mild occasional constipation. This requires that you eat a banana with a glass of warm milk, chewing the banana carefully.

When going through a bout of constipation, avoid sitting down for ten minutes and keep your body moving. Moderate to rigorous physical exercise is preferred, but even taking a low-key 30-minute walk will help your body promote healthy bowel movements.

Take folic acid. An insufficient intake of folic acid can lead to constipation.

Ginger tea is a great home remedy for constipation. It helps start bowel movement.

Exercise often; a simple stroll in the park can relieve constipation.

Health tip: It was believed that castor oil was a good remedy for constipation, but, latest studies have shown that it can cause dehydration and mineral imbalance.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 19, 2015.


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