Constipation is something most of us don’t like to talk about very much. It’s one of the few remaining taboo subjects in our country today. But not talking about it hasn’t made it go away. In fact, constipation is so rampant that laxatives have become one of the biggest selling over-the-counter medications in America.
If it were merely a nuisance, it would be bad enough. But current alternative thinking holds that chronic constipation has the potential for setting the stage for up to 90% of all disease.
Feeling constipated can be a nuisance, but the extended consequences of chronic constipation can be serious. Peripheral symptoms of constipation include hemorrhoids, headaches, gas, insomnia, bad breath, varicose veins, obesity, indigestion, diverticulitis, appendicitis and hernia.
Constipation can lead to even more severe conditions including autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and bowel cancer.
A study published in the Lancet in 1981 reported that women who have less than three bowel movements per week have four times the risk of breast cancer than those who have one or more bowel movements a day.
A person can become constipated for many reasons:
- Poor diet, especially lack of H20 and fiber
- Lack of exercise
- Emotional upsets, stress
- Over-use of laxatives
- Most people don’t get nearly enough water or fiber in their diets.
- Water is the vehicle that transports all nutrients into our bodies and all the waste products out. The body needs 6 to 8 – 8oz glasses of water daily or the colon can become sluggish.
- Fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables, is critical for proper elimination. Fruits and vegetables are the only high water and high fiber foods available to us. Although fiber is indigestible and has no nutritional value, fiber regulates transit time through the GI tract. This is very important to eliminating constipation. Fiber also regulates the flow of nutrients into the blood stream. It absorbs water, bulks up stools and promotes proper peristalsis in the colon.
- The kinds of foods that promote good elimination are fresh fruits and vegetables (60% of total diet), whole grains, beans, raw nuts and seeds (40%) and plenty of water.
- Reduce your intake of animal protein. Animal protein has no fiber, it has a low water content and it is acid forming. All three can create or aggravate constipation.
- It is not always a good idea to change to a high fiber diet too quickly. There can be some unpleasant side effects. Gas and bloating are common symptoms when people increase fiber too quickly. A slow, gradual improvement from low fiber, low residue foods will work well, exchanging a couple of refined foods with whole foods each week.
- Most people eat far more food than their bodies need. Overeating puts a strain on the entire digestive system and can cause constipation. To get a handle on overeating, make sure to chew thoroughly, eat slowly and stop when you feel 80% full.
- Refined, processed white flour products such as bread, pasta, white flour muffins, donuts, rolls are the your colon’s worst enemies. White flour and water makes great glue.
- White flour products, sugar and dairy products are very mucous forming. When mucous builds up on the walls of the intestines it prevents proper absorption, peristalsis and elimination.
- Animal proteins are acid forming, low in fiber and water. To improve elimination, restrict your intake to one serving a day.
- Salt is a very contracting food (as are animal proteins) and slows transit time through the colon – the slower the transit time, the more constipated you become.
- A low potency food grown Multi-vitamin and supplemental friendly bacteria can ease the transition to a high fiber diet.
- If increasing fiber makes you uncomfortable and doesn’t improve your elimination, 800 – 1000 mg. of magnesium daily usually helps.
- There are over 400 species of bacteria in the gut. Friendly bacteria do many things including manufacturing B-vitamins, digest good, inhibit the growth of unfriendly bacteria and improve elimination. When we have a good supply of friendly bacteria in our intestines we are much more regular. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most well known friendly bacteria. Two others are also important – L. Bifidum and L. Bulgaricus
- Multi-Cleanse by Harmony Formula’s is a detoxifying product that eliminates constipation. It contains 29 different herbs that support all five channels of elimination – the lungs, the colon, the lymph, the kidneys, the skin. Supporting all the channels of elimination is necessary for a thorough detoxification. This formula includes:
- Black cohosh and red clover support the nervous system – so important for proper peristalsis.
- Chickweek and peppermint to help to strengthen the bowel.
- Marshmallow root, fenugreek seed and plantain herb help loosen and dissolve hardened mucous that impairs peristalsis.
- Alfalfa leaf, guar gum, psyllium seed, apple powder, barley rice fiber, beet root and lemon peel are all excellent sources of fiber that provide the proper bulk to sweep, clean and tone the bowel.
- Chlorella, high in chlorophyll, minerals and amino acids, helps cleanse and rebuild the bowel.
- Cascara Sagrada, considered safe unless it is used to excess or over very long periods of time.
- Supplementing fiber helps people who aren’t getting enough in their diets.
- Fennel seed is a little gentler and very effective.
- Pectin and guar gum are fibers that provide good soluble fiber.
- All fibers provide bulk for the colon, help absorb water and provide a matrix for the growth of friendly bacteria. Drink plenty of H2O or the extra fiber can make matters worse.
- B-vitamins are a good idea to help supply nerve energy to the colon. One study found that women with folic acid deficiency suffered chronic constipation that was completely relieved with folic acid (a B-complex vitamin) supplementation.
- Harmony Formula’s Super 2
- Cleanse Max by Renew Life
- Colon Max by Renew Life
- Fiber Max Capsules or Powder by Renew Life
- 3A Magnesia by Lane Medical
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.