Feeling backed up?
Constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful. Here are three things you can do to alleviate constipation, so you can be your energised self again – no laxatives required.
1. Have Fibre
There are two types of this plant-based nutrient: soluble and insoluble fibre, both of which can help alleviate constipation.
Intrinsic to plant cells, soluble fibre attracts water and can reduce constipation by speeding up your transit time – the time it takes for food to travel through your digestive tract and pass through the other end. Some good sources of soluble fibre:
- Legumes (like lentils and chickpeas)
- Fruit and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Psyllium husk – derived from pysllium seed, this popular fibre supplement provides both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Inherent to plant wall structure, insoluble fibre is your indigestible fibre; This helps give bulk and form to the stool, making for a more comfortable bowel movement. Good sources include:
- Bran (such as wheat bran, or rice bran if you’re gluten free)
- Whole grains (think whole wheat, brown rice and quinoa) and the skins of fruit and veg (for instance sweet potato or tomato skin)
Another reason for a fibre-rich diet: Fibre acts as food (a ‘prebiotic’) for beneficial gut bacteria, i.e. your probiotics. Whole grains are a particularly good source of prebiotics, undergoing fermentation by gut bacteria and creating an environment that promotes certain probiotic strains to flourish.
So how can you increase the fibre in your diet?:
- Sprinkle a nut and seed blend on your breakfast, whether that be avocado or eggs on toast, muesli or yoghurt. I’m loving the Natural Buzz Superfood Mix, loaded with flaxseeds, chia and psyllium. And thanks to the nutty pepitas and buckwheat and bittersweet cacao nibs, this doesn’t taste nasty like some fibre-rich blends tend to
- Swap low fibre refined grains for high fibre wholegrains; think wholegrain spelt or rye instead of white bread, or brown rice or quinoa rather than white rice
- Snack on veggie crudités with hummus or tahini (made from sesame seeds)
Having bran for brekkie everyday but still constipated?
The problem might be that you’re not consuming enough water. Water and fibre work with each other to get things moving along your digestive tract and to create stool-bulk. If there’s inadequate water to push it along, fibre can block you up further and leave you feeling more bloated, gassy and sluggish.
If you’re having something like a tablespoon of chia, bran or psyllium on a regular basis, following it with one or two glasses of water can make a big difference. Up the herbal tea, too – it’s contributes to your water intake.
3. Get Moving
Does nature seems to call once you’ve completed (or sometimes during) your workout? Movement encourages the muscles in your digestive tract to contract and relax (a process called ‘peristalsis’), so to help propel food matter along.
Whether it’s a jog, power walk, pilates or cardio class, see if exercising regularly (on most days of the week) leaves you with an emptier, happier tummy.
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My original post over at GoodnessMe Box