How to Avoid Constipation


By Dr. Shrey Lakhotia, B.D.S
How to Avoid Constipation


peaceful walk avoiding constipation

According to the U.S National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, more than 4 million people in the U.S. have frequent constipation.

Of all the difficulties that are linked to our digestive system, the one that is seen most often is constipation.

Most of the time say health experts it's a temporary problem, and making simple changes can help your digestive system run smoothly again.

6 Ways to Avoid Constipation

1. Get needed fiber

Fiber helps form soft, bulky stools.

It can be found in vegetables, fruits, brown rice, bran cereals, whole wheat pastas, whole grain products, nuts and seeds, and legumes like lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas.

Eating more fiber will help keep the bowel movements regular because it helps food pass through the digestive system more easily. Foods high in fiber also make one feel fuller for longer.

While increasing the fiber intake, it is important to increase it gradually. A sudden increase may make one feel bloated. It may also produce more flatulence (gas) and stomach cramps. One should aim to have at least 18g of fiber a day to achieve how to avoid constipation.

Practical ways to get more fiber

  • Vegetables: one doesn't have to count grams of fiber to get the recommended amount. Instead, just try to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day.
    Make sandwiches with roasted veggies, add a salad to your meal instead of fries, buy pre-cut vegetables to snack on with low-fat dip, keep the fruit bowl full for a handy and healthy snack, and add chopped, dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal.

  • Grains: replace white bread, white rice, and regular pasta with whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice. Eat more whole oats and cereals with bran.
    Replace fried chips with popcorn (preferably popped in 
    healthy coconut oil). When buying cereal, choose brands that have at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

  • Beans: replace meat with a bean or legume dish at least once or twice a week. Add cooked beans to salads, and try bean soups and stews as main course meals.

2. Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water and other liquids can help to prevent dehydration, a common cause of constipation. Vegetable juices, fruit juice and even soup broth can help.

Staying hydrated means the colon has more water to work with. When stools are moist, they are bulkier. A bulky stool helps to trigger peristalsis, the wavelike contractions of the colon that moves stool along.

Of course, a moist stool means a soft, less difficult to eliminate stool.

It is best to cut back on the amount of caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks. Too much caffeine or alcohol acts as a diuretic, which can cause increased urination, leading to dehydration.


3. Exercise can help

It has been proven that a sedate lifestyle contributes to constipation. So to keep that digestive system working as it should, incorporate some physical movement into your day. Something as simple as a short walk is even helpful.

Not only will regular exercise reduce the risk of becoming constipated, but it will also leave one feeling healthier and improve mood, energy levels and general fitness.

4. Give your body a chance "to go"

Never ignore the urge to go to the bathroom. Ignoring the urge can significantly increase the chances of having constipation. A busy schedule can cause us to disregard signals from the body.

But when your body gifts you with the urge to go, don't ignore it. Doing so means stool has more time to dry out and become compacted.

Second giving your body adequate time to relieve itself is also an important part of avoiding constipation.

5. Change how you "sit"

When we squat to defecate it helps to make a straighter passage way for the passing of stool. Sitting on a stool is counter productive.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the hindrance caused by sitting on a toilet. The goal is to raise the knees closer to the chest. Simply placing a small stool beneath one's feet and then leaning forward can help to get our bodies into a more natural position for defecation. This is especially important for those who are elderly.


6. Avoid laxatives

Ok, so you just need to get some quick relief, and reach for a laxative to help. The problem is, if used very often, the body can become dependent on a laxative for normal bowel function.

Once this happens, it becomes harder and harder to function without them. Therefore, unless instructed to do so by your doctor, it is best to avoid laxatives and look for more natural ways to find relief. 


Take a Magnesium Supplement

Not getting enough magnesium

Studies have shown that low magnesium intake is associated with an increased prevalence of constipation.

They also suggest that the vast majority of people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet. Taking a magnesium supplement helps to promote fluid retention in the digestive tract, helping to keep stools moist, soft and slick.

Magnesium balances out calcium

Magnesium serves to balance out the constipating effect of calcium.

Taking daily calcium, including antacids, has a constipating effect. It tightens muscles, including the colon, which restricts proper bowel function.

Magnesium helps to relax muscles

When taken before bed, magnesium can help one to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Magnesium has numerous other health benefits as well as leading your body down the path of how to avoid constipation.

A concentrated sea mineral supplement has 106% of the US RDA of magnesium in each teaspoon serving.

Supplemental magnesium may offer long-term relief

A magnesium supplement is well adapted for long-term use and is an excellent means of reversing chronic constipation. A low sodium sea mineral supplement not only contains magnesium, but numerous other valuable trace minerals.

Note: It is best to discuss it with your doctor before starting a daily magnesium supplement. It is possible for magnesium may interfere with the absorption of medicines.

Kidney disease presents a special problem, since it prevents the body from being able to excrete excess magnesium. Therefore, if you have kidney disease don't take supplemental magnesium unless your doctor approves it.

Conclusion, how to avoid constipation

Although constipation is quite common, one can take several steps to prevent it, including making diet and lifestyle changes. Adding a magnesium supplement can help as well.

(Return from How to Avoid Constipation to How to Prevent Constipation)

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