Seven simple steps for dealing with constipation

Pain Management
Mental Wellbeing
Immunity
Weight Management
Hormonal Imbalance
Digestive Health

Chronic constipation is a serious health issue affecting 1 in every 7 adults in the UK and 15-20% of the US population. Here, we are also talking about straining, hard stools, abdominal discomfort and wanting ‘to go’ but can’t. While constipation might be common, it is not normal and can have disastrous consequences.

Why is constipation so bad?

In our culture, bowel movements have become a taboo topic, but by not discussing and not prioritising our poop, we ignore the most valuable indicator for our overall physical and mental health. Constipation not only makes you feel stuck, heavy, bloated, lethargic and generally uncomfortable, but it also sets you up for poor health outcomes.

 

If we don’t poop regularly and get rid of the metabolic waste and toxins that go with it, the longer the waste sits in our gut. This stagnation will result in biochemical changes, which will allow toxins and waste to get re-absorbed into our body, detrimental to our health.

 

When this happens, it begins to seriously impact our immune system, affecting our hormonal metabolism and increasing inflammation in the body, which can lead to the inflammation of the brain, which we want to avoid at all costs. This invisible systemic inflammation impacts every organ, gland and system in our body, and we start experiencing symptoms and aches and pains.

So bottom line, constipation can lead to long-term risk for many chronic diseases and is linked to multiple immune system conditions and diseases our society at large is suffering from.

Seven simple steps for dealing with constipation

  1. Adjust your diet, which most often is the main cause of constipation. Enjoy wholesome, real foods in their unprocessed forms - This is the easiest first step to healing your gut
  2. Avoid constipation causing foods - Dairy tops this list and gluten is a close second. Please eliminate these foods for at least three weeks and observe how your digestion and overall health improves
  1. Add probiotics to your daily routine to help balance your gut microbiome, as it is vital to get gut healthy to help address constipation
  2. Increase your dietary fibre – today most people are only consuming 8-10 grams of fibre per day, but we need anywhere between 20-40 grams of fibre daily!! (1)
  3. Hydration is paramount, so please drink minimum of 6-8 tall glasses of water daily! In addition, top up with necessary electrolytes which will help to get that colon working!
  4. Another big constipation culprit is magnesium deficiency! Add supplements to your nutrition to get optimal levels of magnesium. Vitamin C in combination with magnesium can also assist with constipation relief, so you can take daily supplementation (2,000-4,000 mg) until you are regular again (1)
  5. Low-fat diets can contribute to severe constipation (2), so stay away from anything low fat, and incorporate healthy fat sources such as avocados, olive oil and wild oily fish, as well as Brazil and Macadamia nuts.  

Key foods and herbs

  1. Flaxseeds and chia seeds: Provides fibre and mucilage
  2. Beetroot: Rich in fibre and has gentle laxative effect
  3. Dark leafy greens: Contains soluble and insoluble fibre, magnesium and bitter leaves promote the flow of body’s natural laxative.
  4. MCT oil: One of the best natural laxatives
  5. Nuts and seeds: Contains high amounts of quality dietary fibre



If you are still struggling after implementing the above tips, please consult your doctor and get your thyroid levels looked at. There could be other underlying health problems that your doctor can investigate.

Vamshi Lingampally (Functional Nutritionist)

References

  1. M Hyman, Get Fat, Eat Thin
  2. Nature, Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2013116)

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