A healthy diet for constipation relief is pretty easy, and can be very effective. You can start with some simple changes, and if things still aren’t moving there are some excellent natural laxatives.
Having regular bowel movements might not seem too important, but it’s a good indicator of how healthy your diet is overall. The ideal is to have 2 or 3 movements a day, and there are a few qualities that make a healthy piece of poo.
Try not to get the giggles, this is important stuff. A healthy colon moves the waste of your food along, getting it out before it has time to putrefy and release toxins and cancer-causing molecules into your system.
What to look for in a healthy poo:
- light brown color
- doesn’t float or sink too deep – it should lay on the bottom, but not out of sight down the drain
- no undigested food bits (except corn and flax seeds – they won’t digest)
- about a foot long
- about an inch wide
- solid, but not hard
If your poo is small, hard, or doesn’t happen very often, you are constipated in some way. It doesn’t have to be a total absence of poo before you can call yourself constipated. Luckily, there are some easy ways to shift your diet for constipation relief to get things moving properly.
This is probably the most common diet tip for constipation, but you need to make sure that you’re getting enough of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Aim for 30-50 grams of fiber per day, with half soluble and half insoluble fiber. Psyllium is the most commonly used fiber in cereals and supplements, but is soluble fiber and too much of it can actually make things worse by clogging and dehydrating the colon.
Some foods that you can add to your diet for constipation relief that are rich in fiber:
- fresh vegetables, particularly leafy greens, and fruits – keep the skins on
- whole grains
- seeds – particularly ground flax
- beans and legumes
The effects that water can have on your overall level of health is really amazing. It gets overlooked, like air, because it’s so basic – but it’s basic because it’s absolutely essential to our body’s functions.
Among its many benefits, drinking enough water keeps your colon hydrated. If your colon gets dehydrated, it won’t be able to contract and move food waste onward and outward.
3. Healthy Fats
Another important food to make sure you get in your diet for constipation relief is healthy fats. If you aren’t getting enough fat in your diet, your poo is likely to be dry and hard. This type of poo is much harder for your colon to shift along. Fats will make your poo softer, and give some lubrication.
If you’re avoiding fat thinking that it will make you fat, think again. Fats are necessary for a healthy metabolism, along with proteins and carbohydrates in the proper ratio. If you avoid fat entirely, you’ll actually slow your metabolism along with your bowel movements. Always choose healthy fats from whole foods, like nuts, seeds and avocados.
The colon works through muscle contraction, and even light exercise can help stimulate your colon. If you’ve ever gone for a jog first thing in the morning, you might notice that by the time you get back your colon has woken up.
5. Toilet Position
This might sound crazy at first glance, but the position of your body when you sit on the toilet can make a difference in your colon’s ability to move. Putting your feet up on a stool or a phone book and giving your system some time can really generate results.
In Asia they use squatting toilets, which aren’t really for lack of technology – they just know that the bowel moves better from that position.
6. Laxative Herbs and Foods
If all else fails, and you still aren’t seeing any movement you can use natural laxatives to get things going. Just make sure that you’ve adjusted your diet for constipation relief first, and don’t rely on laxatives all the time. They don’t fix the underlying problem, and can irritate your colon.
Cascara sagrada and senna are two medicinal herbs that are pretty powerful laxatives. Prunes (dried plums) are a tried-and-true laxative, that work both because of their fiber content and certain compounds that trigger the colon to move.
I’m pretty open to talking about poo. I have two friends in particular who are on a chat group with me for all our poo-related thoughts. Does poo talk make you shy, or are you able to see it as part of your overall health? Let me know by leaving a comment below.