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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coping With Constipation

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Constipation results when food moves too slowly through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. About 80 percent of people suffer from constipation at some time during their lives. Brief periods of constipation are normal. Constipation is usually diagnosed when bowel movements occur fewer than three times per week on an ongoing basis.

Other signs of constipation occur when the stool is hard, dry or there is excessive straining. The stool can often be described as “rabbit pellets” or like “toothpaste squeezed from the tube”. Sometimes it is painful to pass. Sometimes the patient does not feel complete after a bowel movement.

There is widespread belief that everyone should have a bowel movement at least once each day. There is no “right” number of bowel movements. Each person’s body finds its own normal number of bowel movements. It depends on the food you eat, how much you exercise and past history. This kind of thinking has led to the overuse and abuse of laxatives.

Constipation can arise from lack of enough fiber and water, inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders and poor diet. Pre-menstrual and pregnant women can suffer from constipation also but, the most common cause is usually dietary. However, constipation can be a component of irritable bowel syndrome or can result from a wide range of causes, such as a drug side effect or physical immobility.

many medications, including pain killers, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and other chiatric medications, blood pressure medication, diuretics, iron supplements, calcium supplements, and aluminum containing antacids can cause or worsen constipation.

Constipation can sometimes have an unknown or idiopathic cause. Some people have a good diet, drink plenty of fluid or do not have a disorder, which can cause constipation, yet become constipated. Their bowels are said to be ‘underactive’ . This is rather common. Most cases occur in women. This condition tends to start during childhood or in early adulthood and persist throughout life.

Transit Time is the amount of time it takes for a meal to go from the mouth to the rectum. A healthy transit time is less than 24 hours. Constipation is the result of poor digestive and bowel habits, which slow down the transit time, allowing waste materials to sit longer in the intestines. Stool (waste products) builds up along the wall of the colon preventing healthy absorption of nutrients.

Our stool is made up of our body’s waste including undigested food, toxic waste from the liver and billions of bacteria. As the stool sits longer in the intestines a metabolic process continues. The intestines continue to absorb water, making the stool harder and fermenting the bacteria. This starts the waste to rot creating toxic by-products, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. This absorption of toxins is a form of self-poisoning, called autointoxication.

Symptoms of autointoxication include: headaches, brain fog, depression, obesity, diverticulosis, PMS, bad breath, foul smelling gas, bloating body odor and include some autoimmune diseases.

Serious diseases, including colon cancer, can sometimes first appear as bowel blockage leading to acute constipation. Therefore, particularly constipation of recent onset should be diagnosed by a physician. Dietary and other natural approaches should be used by people with constipation only when there is reason to believe no serious underlying condition exists.

Nutritional Advice

Water and other liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups are essential in any healing process. Liquid helps keep the stool soft and easy to pass, so it’s important to drink enough fluids. Distilled water is the best. 6-8 eight ounces glasses per day. Try not to drink liquids that contain caffeine or alcohol. Although a little caffeine works well as a diuretic, excess caffeine, dependency on caffeine for a bowel movement, as well as alcohol tend to dry out your digestive system.

Prunes are one of the best natural remedies for constipation! A simple handful of prunes will make all the difference. Today, prunes actually come in different flavors! You can find them infused with natural cherry, grape and apple essence!

Apples contain naturally-occurring chemical compounds known as phytochemicals, polyphenols, or flavonoids, some of which have been proven to have antioxidant activity that inhibits, or scavenges, the activity of free radicals in the body. Cell damage from free radicals can be a factor in certain cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other conditions such as diabetes and constipation.

A diet combined with both insoluble fiber (fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water) will keep most people regular. You get fiber from eating lots of vegetables, wheat bran, whole-grain breads and cereals and fruit.

Foods high in fiber are fruits such as apples peaches, raspberries and tangerines. Vegetables such as acorn squash, raw broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, black-eyed peas, cooked zucchini, kidney beans and lima beans. Also cooked whole-grain cereal, cold (All-Bran, Total, Bran Flakes), whole-grain cereal, hot (oatmeal, Wheatena) and whole-wheat or 7-grain bread.

Juice Therapy is a great way to take advantage of the eliminative and cleansing capacity of the organs. This cleansing capacity is greatly increased and accumulated metabolic waste and toxins are quickly eliminated. It affords a physiological rest to the digestive and assimilative organs. After the juice fasting or juice therapy, the digestion of food and the utilization of nutrients is improved.

Powdered psyllium is a quality source of supplemental fiber. Be sure to drink plenty of water, otherwise the fiber will form an obstructing mass, adding to your condition. Start with one rounded tablespoon of the powder stirred well into a glass of water or diluted juice.

Acidophilus: The normal, healthy colon contains “friendly” bacteria (85% lactobacillus and 15% coliform bacteria). It is the friendly bacterial flora found in yogurt and is essential to the digestive system. When these bacteria are not in balance, then the person may experience bloating, flatulence, constipation, and malabsorption of nutrients. Acidophilus taken as a dietary supplement may help to detoxify and to rebuild a balanced intestinal flora. Acidophilus aids the digestion and helps to replace the “friendly” intestinal flora.

The power of Green Whole Foods is essential for all day energy, greater focus under stress, sense of well-being, strengthened immune system, fewer food cravings and optimum synergistic balance of essential nutrients for total health. Green Whole Foods is a powder that contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, active enzymes, bioflavinoids, chlorophyll and other phytonutrients necessary for optimial cellular metabolism, repair and protection!

These ingredients contain the most powerful combination of nutrients ever known in any grain, herb or food. They contain almost all of the vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes necessary for the human diet, plus chlorophyll.

Spirulina Blue Green Algae: Spirulina possesses a complete protein richer than steak, abundant organically complex minerals, a wide variety of essential vitamins, and many beneficial enzymes. Spirulina is more than just a food. As with Chlorella it has been shown to be valuable with almost every aspect of health. These necessities are bio-available which means that they are easily assimilated throughout the digestive tract, giving instant access to vital nutrients. Because of algae’s high chlorophyll and high nutritional content it is an excellent part of a cleansing program.

Coping With Constipation

Chlorella Green Algae: Chlorella‘s tough cell wall protects the valuable nucleus inside. When it is harvested it is instantly dried and the cell walls are gently cracked open. The nutrients inside retain full potency. Once in your body, the cracked open cells release their valuable nutrients. Because it is so easy to digest, your cells get the full benefit of this nutritional powerhouse.

These necessities are bio-available which means that they are easily assimilated throughout the digestive tract, giving instant access to vital nutrients. The algae provides intestinal nourishment and has a soothing and healing effect on the mucous lining. It works to detoxify and purify our system.

Barley Grass and Wheat Grass: Eating barley and wheat grass is like eating a plate of green vegetables. These cereal grasses, are harvested young and are ecologically grown in nutrient rich soil. They are approximately 25% protein and contains all the essential amino acids, concentrated vitamins, minerals and fiber. They have been shown to increase our overall health by reducing intestinal putrefaction and maintaining healthy blood another important component of cleansing.

Klamath Lake Blue Green Algae: This remarkable plant grows 100% organically in the Upper Klamath Lake of Oregon. Blue Green Algae has more protein and chlorophyll by weight than any other plant or animal on earth. Klamath Lake algae is considered to be the most nutrient rich of the algaes.

Lecithin: Lecithin is produced naturally and is one of the main substances that digests cholesterol in the human body. Lecithin supports the liver and aids in the metabolism of fat. Lecithin is used to strengthen the heart as it clears the blood vessels of cholesterol. It also useful as part of a weight loss programs to help dissolve fat.

Fiber (water-soluble) , psyllium, seed husks, or oat bran are suggested. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of fiber supplement at night before bed.

Magnesium: The supplement magnesium has been found to aid in the management of symptoms. Taking 200-300 mg of magnesium 2 to 3 times daily has been shown to help.

Omega-3 : This fish oil has been shown in many studies, to reduce your bad cholesterol levels and reduce plaque buildup in your blood. By reducing your bad cholesterol, you are helping your body to fight off stress and relieve anxiety, tension and even prevent heart disease! Fish that are high in Omega-3 are excellent ways to help your blood stream.

Psyllium Husks: A natural plant source of dietary fiber essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system. Fiber significantly lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

Add protein and carbohydrates to your diet: Incorporate protein into your diet. Protein helps to keep sugar levels stable. You can find protein in nuts, yogurt, beans, fish, chicken, tofu and lentils.

What You Should Avoid:

Limit foods that have little or no fiber such as ice cream, cheese, meat, snacks like chips and pizza, and processed foods such as instant mashed potatoes or already-prepared frozen dinners. Too much white flour and refined sugar, two major constipation causers, means you need more fiber.

What you don’t eat may be even more important than what you do eat. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar, because they tend to worsen constipation. If you can’t avoid them, then at least cut down.

Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine is something many people in America and Europe are used to bringing in their daily lives. Though many studies have shown that this addictive stimulant can help produce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and the like. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, many sodas and even certain medications. Always ask your doctor about a medication before using it. Also, ask the doctor if there is an alternative medication if your medicine contains caffeine.

Reduce Processed and Refined Foods:

Processed food can rob your food of nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to fight off stress and promote good health. Try to buy whole foods, unprocessed foods and try and stay away from “instant” foods, preservatives, artificial flavors, saturated fat and MSG.

Reduce Sugar Intake:

Too much sugar can rob our body of essential nutrients. Yet don’t be so fast as to replace the sugar with Stevia the natural sweetener from the Stevia plant. Artificial sweetener can also cause anxiety as well as other health concerns.

Reduce Alcohol Intake:

In small amounts, alcohol can be good for your heart but too much alcohol is not a good thing for your body and too large of an intake increases your body’s need for extra vitamins. The body has a harder time using oxygen. As a result, you can become more sensitive to stress – which in turn can cause constipation.

About the author

Andrew Pachoylk, MS. L.Ac. –
Therapies for healing mind, body, spirit

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Coping With Constipation

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