Hectic everyday life along with work obligations means it can be difficult to make our grandmother’s good old habits part of our daily routines: passing stool every morning at a fixed, regular time. As a result, more and more of us suffer from chronic constipation.. so here are 7 tips to naturally reduce constipation.
Article written by Ariane Monnami, nutritionist and micro-nutritionist.
1. Drink enough water
If you don’t drink enough water on a daily basis, your body will hold on to the slightest drop that it can find and will therefore automatically reduce the amount of water passed out in urine and stools. This results in hard, dry stools which are harder to pass.
Don’t forget that basic needs are one and a half litres of water per day, or more in hot weather or after exercising.
Avoid sugary drinks with sweeteners which cause gut flora imbalances and instead opt, whenever possible, for mineral water high in magnesium which has a slight laxative effect.
2. Eat enough fibre
There are two types of fibre in our diet:
- Insoluble fibre (green vegetables, fruit skin, whole-grains) - these are not digested and remain in the gut, swell up and encourage intestinal transit.
- Soluble fibre (artichoke, onion, banana, asparagus, chicory root) - these are partially digested and form a kind of gel which slows down bowel function and regulates transit.
These two types of fibre both have a high water absorption and holding capacity - one gram of fibre can absorb anywhere from 3 to 25 times its weight in water!
Soluble fibres also act as prebiotics, providing food to specific gut bacteria beneficial to the body. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) present in our Bioharmony Balance belong to this ‘family’ of soluble fibres.
In practice, choose a variety of fibres: fruits and vegetables, whole-grains and legumes. And don't forget to drink, if not the soluble fibres will be unable to swell!
3. Follow a probiotic treatment
In addition to the nutritive benefits of prebiotics, follow regular probiotic treatments containing in Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Bioharmony Balance encourages ‘friendly bacteria’ gut colonisation, which produce essential molecules for the regeneration and repair of gut mucus.
4. Benefits of coconut oil
Coconut oil has many advantages:
- Adds great taste to all of your dishes
- Very heat resistant so ideal for cooking with a wok, for example.
- And most importantly... it encourages intestinal transit as it is not completely absorbed by the gut.
5. Get moving!
Sedentariness is your gut’s worst enemy...
To prevent constipation try and include several cardio sessions per week, for example walking, hiking, jogging, swimming or cycling.
6. Take up yoga!
Yoga can be doubly beneficial:
- It helps to combat stress which can have a negative effect on transit
- It gently stimulates abdominal muscles without damaging the perineum
The ‘Wind-relieving’ Pose:
- Bend your right leg, draw it into your chest and clasp your hands around your knee.
- Whilst exhaling, press your thigh against your stomach. Lift your head, bring your chin towards your breastbone and your face as close as possible to your knee.
- Remain in this position for a while, without taking a breath.
- Whilst inhaling, slightly release your thigh whilst keeping your hands around your knee and lay your head on the ground.
- Repeat this three times before practicing the same movement on your left side.
- Repeat this three times on your left side.
- Then bend and press both legs against your stomach - repeat this movement six times.
7. Use a footstool
A 90-degree sitting position is completely unnatural - in this position, the puborectalis muscle (a muscle situated near the perineal area) blocks the passing of stools through the rectum. By using a footstool, you’ll be able to recreate the type of traditional ‘Turkish toilet’ which allow perineal muscles to relax more easily.