Occasionally I rediscover the link between overeating and constipation.
I love potluck dinners. I recently went to a Christmas party at our church. There were over 200 people there, and everyone brought a special dish.
Though I was one of the last ones in line, the wonderful choices were overwhelming. I didn't take much of any one item, wanting to try as many things as possible. I ended up with a very full plate.
Before eating, I headed to the dessert table. I was the first one there. With about 40 wonderful choices, I loaded another plate with my favorites, then headed back to sit down.
Overeating causes constipation
Please understand, I rarely get constipated. Every day I take a sea mineral supplement that has a good amount of magnesium.
Magnesium works wonders to keep bowels functioning normally. I also get a fair amount of fiber in my diet, and drink lots of water.
But I have found that overeating ALWAYS causes my bowels to back up. After our Christmas party, I went 2 days without a bowel movement.
I guarantee you that it wasn't due to not enough bulk or fiber in my digestive system.☺ Just the opposite was true.
Why Overeating and Constipation Go together
When the stomach is overloaded, food takes longer to digest. Therefore the food stays in the stomach longer. But it gets much worse than this.
The traffic jam
With normal sized meals, food is broken up into small pockets and moved through the intestines in waves of contracting and relaxing, contracting and relaxing.
But when the stomach is overloaded it is forced to move too much into the intestines at once. The intestines are jammed, like a traffic jam, and hardly anything moves.
When small amounts are moved through the intestines, the muscles have something to push against to move it along.
You can visualize this by picturing a ball inside of a plastic tube. You can easily apply pressure to the tube and push the ball along. That is how the intestines normally work.
When there is overeating and constipation, its not so easy. Just picture trying to push through a much longer object through the tube.
Because the intestines are so packed, they have difficulty contracting, AND they have little time to rest between contractions.
This causes weary muscles, and a longer transit time.
More colon time, dryer stools
Stool enters the colon in a liquid state. One of the colon’s jobs is to remove excess moisture to produce a formed bowel movement.
When stool remains in the colon longer than normal, too much water is extracted. The stool becomes dry and compacted, making elimination painful.
To make matters worse, this compacted stool has a tendency to clump into a mass of stool in the rectum. This is even more difficult to pass.
Overcoming Overeating and Constipation
Ok, you didn't really need me to say that, did you. But we all know it is true.
When we break our feast meals into smaller portions throughout the day, it certainly is easier on our digestive systems.
Don’t overdo the sweets
A full plate of desserts is never a good idea when it comes to colon health. Sweets feed yeast in the colon, producing gas. They also help produce constipation.
I am going to try cutting down on these next time, especially the caramel turtle pie ☺.
Keep the stool moist
This, of course, is the answer to almost all constipation. Moist stool moves more easily through the colon, and is more easily eliminated.
But when we occasionally overeat, how do we keep the colon from drawing out too much moisture?
MAGNESIUM!!! This is such a wonderful discovery. Magnesium draws moisture into the colon, and helps to keep stools from getting dried out.
For occasional overeating and constipation, Phillips Milk of Magnesia and Epson Salt are popular sources of magnesium.
My overeating didn't result in pain
I know that constipation is basically hard, dried out stool. To keep my overindulgence from turning into painful constipation, I took double the amount of my daily sea mineral supplement, rich in magnesium, until my BM’s returned to normal. (magnesium has other noted health benefits, too.)
A daily dose (1 tsp.) contains 106% of the US RDA of magnesium, and does a good job.
Yes, it is true that I did have 2 days without no bowel movement. But on the 3rd day when I did go, for the most part the stool was soft. I had a large BM that morning, and second large one that evening.
Magnesium, the best answer for constipation
We need more magnesium
These days, most fertilizers don’t contain enough magnesium, and soils are becoming depleted. As a result, our foods contain less magnesium.
It has been estimated that 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, and many doctors are recommending that their patients take a magnesium supplement.
It is simply a double blessing when taking magnesium not only fills a nutritional need but also helps to keep stools moist.
The best magnesium supplement
As I mentioned above, I take a daily mineral supplement rich in magnesium. What is so special about this supplement is that it is a low sodium sea mineral supplement.
It contains magnesium, plus other valuable trace minerals.
Unlike Phillips Milk of Magnesia and Epson Salt, this is a mineral supplement that is designed to be taken daily.
And when I occasionally overindulge, I just take a little extra, and it keeps my stool from drying out.
Though the best advice for holiday overeating and constipation is to exercise restraint, there is help when this fails. Thanks for stopping by. Please take a quick look at my home page, as there might be something there that will interest you.