Most people have experienced constipation in their life, and this could be a result of a poor diet, not getting enough exercise, and even underlying health issues which only make matters worse. But how do you know if it’s serious?
The fact is, constipation is usually a symptom that your body is telling you that things need to be re-evaluated and your diet is probably the main culprit. Rather than turning to unhealthy ways to cure your constipation (which will only serve as a quick fix), I will share with you what is causing your digestive issues, and how you can actually treat them the natural way. Which is amazing for both your body in the longterm and will help to resolve any future issues you could be avoiding with your digestion.
Who knew that keeping adequately hydrated is the best key to digestive health? Neglecting those 8 glasses of water each day could be influencing your bowel muscles and causing that uncomfortable constipation that you’ve been experiencing. When your body receives enough water, it functions in tip-top shape and as a result you won’t be feeling uncomfortable and constipated anymore.
My tip: Drink enough water each day to cleanse your body from the inside out. If you are quite forgetful when it comes to drinking enough water, keep a large bottle on your desk (and within eyesight) so it’s always in the forefront of your mind. Carry a bottle in your handbag so you can easily hydrate if you’re constantly on-the-go, and keep your fridge stocked with water when you get home as well. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, infuse it with your favourite fruits to sweeten the taste!
You guessed it – a diet filled with sugary and fatty snacks is another cause of painful constipation, and could lead to a plethora of other health issues as well. It’s time to cut out these snacks and replace them with wholefoods to nourish your body the right way and improve your digestive health. Not only do processed foods and snacks lead to constipation, but they can also cause major health issues if you’re not careful. The sooner you make the switch and substitute these processed foods for the healthier alternative, the better it will be for your longterm health.
My tip: When doing the weekly grocery shop, ditch processed foods and snacks for healthy alternatives instead. What we put into our body ultimately influences our daily mood, so it’s important to listen to what you body is telling you. Keep a food diary to determine which foods are leading to your bad digestion, and replace them with something wholesome and healthy instead.
I would also recommend you start buying more fruits and vegetables, and make meals at home from scratch instead of eating out on a daily or weekly basis. Meal planning is a fantastic way to make sure you’re eating the right foods, and this way you will know exactly which ingredients are going into your food.
Also consider increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet, since they can have a remarkable change on your body and digestive issues. Olive oil, avocado, fish, and nuts will keep you feeling fuller for longer, and will eliminate the craving of sugary processed foods which your body just doesn’t need.
While of course incorporating a variety of vegetables in your diet is a must-have for overall good health, some veggies are also prone to giving you more than what you bargained for.
These vegetables are packed with raffinose, a carbohydrate which isn’t easily broken down by the human body. Instead, it is attacked by bacteria in the colon and then turned into methane. Not a good combination if you ask me – so try and limit these foods if you are finding it difficult to digest them.
Vegetables that belong to this family include broccoli, kale and cabbage are usually those which you should moderate in your diet. If you are noticing this reaction when you eat vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family, it’s best to swap them for other veggies which won’t slow down your digestion and give you more grief than you actually need in your diet.
My tip: Swap broccoli, kale, and cabbage for other vegetables which are instead high in fibre and won’t have you feeling congested for the next few days. I highly recommend adding lots of baby spinach and crunchy lettuce to your salads for lunch and dinner which can be easily digested and are full of fibre which is great for your body. As a bonus tip, you should also be adding lots of yummy herbs and spices to your meals which will help to nourish your liver, stomach and kidneys. Cayenne pepper, liquorice and fennel are fantastic additions into your diet since they are packed with flavour, and promote good digestive health.
Lack of exercise
Who else feels slow and sluggish when they’ve been sitting at their desk for hours on end? Our bodies are not designed to sit in the same position without any movement, so it’s important to keep yourself active even if you’re at the office or at work. Studies show that increased movement is actually a great way to kickstart your digestive, and will often have you feeling less constipated at the same time – success!
My tip: Take advantage of your lunch breaks and take a brisk walk around town if you can. Not only is this a great way to change your mood and outlook on life, but it’s also amazing for your digestive health. Sitting in one position all day long with little to no exercise isn’t good for any of us – if you wouldn’t do that on the weekend, why suffer like this during the week?
Going for a jog, hitting the gym during your lunch break, or taking a class each week is just the right solution to your digestive issues. Plus, it’s a great way to keep healthy and fit at the same time. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to do it alone, grab a friend and this way you’re less likely to miss exercising each week. Just 30 minutes of walking each day is enough to keep your body energised, and will ultimately do wonders for your self esteem.
High levels of stress
Did you know that high levels of stress can lead to digestive issues such as chronic constipation and even bloating? In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s difficult to find someone who isn’t actually stressed-out or suffering from some type of anxiety. Whether it’s due to work, family, and other obligations, stress can be a huge factor when dealing with constipation and good digestive health.
My tip: Luckily enough, there are a few different ways to combat this and decrease your stress levels over time. One of the best ways to relieve stress and get your body back to normal is to drink lots of fluids and keep hydrated throughout the day. Another way, is to change your diet and cut out processed foods which could be making the situation worse than it needs to be. Think about it, if your body isn’t getting the nutrients it requires to function properly, no wonder why your digestive issues are now in jeopardy.
It’s also really good to get into daily habits such as enjoying a glass of tapwater with a squeeze of lemon each morning, since it’s a natural way to clear the body. I recommend having one glass each morning, about half an hour before eating breakfast so it can really do its job. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is also another great way to detoxify the body first thing in the morning. Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on its own, mix it into a glass of water, or even cook with it by adding it to your salads as a dressing – the choice is yours!
Eating lots of dairy products
Another main cause of constipation could be sitting in your fridge right now. Casein is the sticky protein found in almost all dairy products, and is probably why you’re experiencing all these issues with your digestion at the moment – not to mention other serious digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which can also be highly debilitating. By nature, some people find it harder to break down this protein, which makes it more difficult to stomach milk, cheese, and other dairy products which are found in most of our food.
My tip: In accordance with your medical professional, I would recommend doing a trial period and cutting dairy out of your diet on a temporary basis. Cutting it out for even a short amount of time will pinpoint the problem with your digestive issues, and will get you back on track and away from feeling constipated.
Depending upon which medications you are taking, this could be leading to constipation and other digestive issues detrimental to good health. Although this is listed as a side-effect on many of the labels, you should consult your general practitioner if the constipation pains persist even after you have completed the cycle of medication.
My tip: Take natural supplements which will help to fight off the cold and flu, especially now since we’re heading into the winter season in Australia! As I mentioned earlier, ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) is a great way to detoxify the body, and I really enjoy having one tablespoon each morning to get my metabolism ready for the day. Not to mention it’s also good to have if you’re feeling under the weather and require a natural pick-me-up!
This might be something you don’t really want to hear, but I promise it’s for your own good. There are some studies which have found links between constipation and eating large quantities of chocolate… say it isn’t so! It showed that people suffering from chronic constipation or even IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) blamed chocolate as being the culprit with their digestive issues. If you think it’s causing constipation in your diet, I would highly recommend cutting it out and seeing how you feel after a 3 month trial period.
My tip: Next time you are about to reach for a bar of chocolate for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, swap it for a fruit instead. Those which are high in fibre such as oranges and kiwi fruits will be more kind to your body and won’t leave you feeling sluggish and constipated at the end of the day.
Are there any tips I missed? Comment below and let me know some of your top-tips on how to combat constipation.