You probably do it everyday, but how often do you really think about your poop? Here are 6 natural ways to eliminate constipation and build a better poop for true wellness.
As you might imagine, proper pooping is pretty important to a healthy body, and we’re going to explain why it’s important to have a healthy digestive system and regular, efficient elimination.
Though it seems pretty basic– we eat, we digest, we poop. It’s really a bit more complicated than that, as anyone suffering with constipation will tell you. A healthy, swiftly moving digestive system is important for disease prevention, general immunity, and even your mood, and it also just feels so much better!
Why Do We Need to Eliminate Constipation?
Not only is healthy digestion important to help flush food waste from our body, it helps prevent diseases by removing waste products from our system. These waste products include unused components of foods, but also viruses, bacteria, and hormones that are cycling through our body.When you are constipated, things aren’t moving fast enough, and you might start to feel groggy, moody, or ill.
According to this Nutrition Facts article by Dr. Greger, flushing of the system is especially important for prevention of heart disease and breast cancer, as excess estrogen is bound to fiber throughout the body and then flushed out. If there is not enough fiber in your diet, this excess estrogen stays in the body, which can lead to increased risk of breast cancer.
A healthy digestive system is great for our overall immunity, too. More and more research is showing the most of the immune system (about 70% of your immune system lives in the gut). A healthy digestive system is full of beneficial microorganisms that help us fight off viruses and bacteria. Gut flora can become unbalanced because of stress, hormones, and/or medications, and can lead to other problems as well. Many studies show that a healthy gut flora keeps vaginal flora in check too, and helps prevent yeast infections. Read more about foods that can help improve your gut flora.
Finally, a healthy gut plays an important role in our happiness. At the most basic, an upset tummy simply make us uncomfortable and unhappy. But, as recognized in alternative therapies and in Eastern medicine, the multiple systems in the body are all connected. This is (finally!) becoming increasingly clear to Western medicine.
So how does your gut help your hormones and happiness? According to this article on Huffington Post, “Your gastrointestinal system is the most abundant source of regulatory neurotransmitters and neuro-peptides outside the brain. An example of this is the fact that serotonin, one of the brain’s chemicals that influences mood, actually has its highest concentrations in the gut. Scientists and researchers are currently studying the numerous links between our nervous system, hormones and immune system.” So if your gut is unhealthy, levels of serotonin and other regulatory hormones are likely to be disrupted as well. Maintaining a properly functioning digestive system really is the key to improved health.
So now that you know why it’s so important to relieve your constipation, here are our 6 natural ways to eliminate constipation and build a better poop:
- Drink lots of water. These keeps every cell in your body hydrated and keeps everything moving along properly throughout all our body systems. It’s especially important to drink enough water when you add extra fiber into your diet in the form of chia seeds or psyllium husk. Too much fiber with not enough water means bloating, gas, and generally unhappy digestive system. Also, definitely stick to filtered water.
- Don’t drink while you eat. Drinking liquids while eating can dilute the gastric juices that help break down your food. Try to drink liquids half hour before or after meals to keep your stomach juices at their optimal levels.
- Eat greens and grains everyday. Greens and other cruciferous vegetables work like little brooms to sweep waste out of our bodies, and the fiber from whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa adds bulk to our waste. As much as possible, eat all your meals sitting down (no, not while driving) to relax your body and prepare it for optimal digestion. Find our best kale recipes here, and learn to make your own homemade kim chi and sauerkraut to double up the healing power of these everyday superfoods.
- If needed, supplement with healthy fibers. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and psyllium husks are great supplements if you need a boost in fiber. Skip the drugstore and head to a health food store to buy these goodies in bulk. Whichever you choose, be sure to add lots of extra water, otherwise you might get backed up!
- Add probiotics. If you need to improve your digestive flora, probiotics are the way to go, as they increase the amount of healthy bacteria in our guts. Probiotics occur naturally in kombucha, kefir, and non-dairy yogurts, so you can skip the supplements and drink your beneficial little bugs!
- Have fun! Stress can mess up our digestive system- including decreasing appetite, creating excess acid, and encouraging inflammation throughout our digestive system. Try to exercise regularly, giggle daily, and remember to play! This helps our bodies relax and maintain its delicate balance.
Please remember, I’m a blogger, not a doctor, so before taking any supplements or changing your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor! Please and thanks.
Digestive system image by BruceBlaus. When using this image in external sources it can be cited as:Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014“. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link