Happy Wellness Wednesday! Today we are back learning about constipation. As a friendly reminder always consult with a doctor or trusted physician if you have any concerns or prior health issues.
Constipation is a condition in which you may have fewer than three bowel movements a week; stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy; stools that are difficult or painful to pass.
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Jumping right into it we are going to start with some information about constipation. It is important to cut foods that are heavy when you realize you may have a problem going to the bathroom. Heavy foods include pizza, beef (in large amounts), junk food (cut down on the sugar), and even soda.
Difficult and painful bowel movements
Bowel movements fewer than 3 times a week
Feeling bloated or uncomfortable
Nausea/ Loss of appetite
Did you know constipation is common among all ages and populations in the United States? About 16 out of 100 adults have symptoms of constipation. About 33 out of 100 adults ages 60 and older have symptoms of constipation.
Lack of exercise
Not enough liquids
Not enough fiber in the diet
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
Ignoring the urge to poop
It is said the people who are most likely to be backed up are women, especially during pregnancy or after giving birth; older adults and people with health problems including functional gastrointestinal.
Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day
Add fruits, veggies, whole grain, and other high fiber food
Eat prunes or bran cereal
Keep a food journal and figure out what is not working
Be honest with your doctor about what is going on (including all the stress)
EXERCISE (30 minutes a day/ 5 days a week)
Vegetables, such as green peas, broccoli, sweet potato, and pumpkin
Whole grain foods, such as brown rice, whole grain bread and rolls, whole grain pasta, and wheat bran
Try plum or prune juice
Introduce probiotics into your diet
Laxatives (Always follow the directions and drink lots of water)
Nutrients That Help
Fiber- Soluble Fiber dissolves easily and takes on a soft gel-like texture in the intestines. It helps with digestion and decreasing cholesterol.
Insoluble Fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged leaving the stool bulky
Magnesium- May help reduce constipation symptoms
Probiotics- May help support a balanced gut microbiome
Carnitine- Important for energy production (If you have a deficiency in carnitine it may be linked to constipation)
Watercress, Pineapple, Celery, Ginger (Rich in Vitamin K & Calcium)
Aloe ( do no ingest the yellow part, always follow instructions online)
1 cup Apple sauce, 1 cup Oat bran, ¾ cup Prune Juice (1-2 tbsp each evening)
½ tsp Ground Psyllium seed, ½ cup warm fruit juice or vegetable juice
Apples, Carrots, Ginger, Lemon, Pears, Zucchini
Cherries, Lime juice, Water, Black salt
Add Cumin or Fennel for an extra boost
Always drink first thing in the morning
Herbs for Constipation
Psyllium seed (Plantago psyllium) Psyllium seed is a great source of natural fiber. When combined with water, it swells and produces more bulk, which stimulates the intestines to contract and helps speed the passage of stool through the digestive tract.
Typical dosage is 1 tbsp dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of water or juice. Drink Immediately
May cause bloating in large quantities.
The seed husk may lodge in intestinal pockets and cause irritation, forcing the intestines to contract and expel their contents.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) Flaxseed is a bulking agent that provides a big source of omega-3 fatty acids and is also full of fiber. The seeds can be ground and added to smoothies, oatmeal etc. In most stores capsules are also available.
Typical dosage is 1 tsp of ground seeds in 1 cup of water or juice.
Store ground flaxseed in the freezer or refrigerator to keep fresh.
Whole flaxseed has a shelf life of 1 year.
Flaxseed is high in estrogen so if you have a pre-existing condition such as endometriosis please consult with your doctor before changing your diet.
Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) Cascara sagrada is a popular ingredient in some over the counter laxatives. The cascara compounds in the bark of the sagrada tree that must be aged before it can be used safely.
Typical dosage is up to 400 to 500 milligram capsules per day: or ½ to 1 tsp of liquid extract per day.
Cascara is considered the gentlest of the laxatives since it works mainly through the nervous system.
Warning: Do not take if pregnant or nursing. Like all stimulant laxatives, cascara can cause laxative dependency.
How to help the children?
With children right away I will ask how much fiber is going into the child’s diet? I do understand that for many it is hard to get your child to be open to “healthy living”, but I am here to tell you some fun easy ways. Be aware that child constipation is more common than you may think, affecting roughly 30-35% of children.
Some signs to watch for is two or fewer bowel movements per week, hard stools, painful bowel movements, blood in stool or when wiping and fear of using the toilet (because of the pain).
A few home remedies you can try
Juice (pear, white grape, and prune) 4 ounces or less per day should help get things moving (lots of water)
Abdominal massage (for infants and small children bicycling the legs are a great way to help with pressure)
Probiotic (depending on diet and after consulting with child’s doctor or trusted physician)
Now that everything is covered as always if you have any questions, please be sure to shoot me an email! See you soon!