Guest post from Kelli Shepherd, Fooduciary
Elimination; pooping; #2: No one wants to talk about it, but we all want it. We vigilantly watch our children's diapers to make sure they're doing it. And yet so often we don't experience it on a daily basis, and we don't know how to fix it and get things going again. We know all too well the frustration and grumpiness that comes when we're backed up, and the joy and triumph when we finally produce a little (or big) something. We're just so proud and relieved'literally! Here are some great tips to get your flow back on.
Make certain you are getting enough water every day. Whatever your body weight is in pounds, be sure to drink at least half of that number in ounces of water each day. This isn't a glamorous tip, but dehydration is a major cause of constipation.
Be sure to get plenty of fiber. Men should get at least 35 grams per day, and women should be getting at least 25-35 grams per day. Some great sources of fiber are beans, lentils, veggies, fruits and ground flaxseeds.
Besides helping to normalize bowel movements, fiber will also help you maintain a healthy weight and regulate blood sugar (which provides a host of benefits, from preventing diabetes to minimizing the stress response and negative thoughts and emotions). Fiber also assists the body in metabolizing hormones, especially estrogen, which helps protect against breast and other forms of cancer for women.
Take 150 to 300 mg of liquid-form magnesium citrate divided into two separate doses twice daily. If you are still not eliminating, you can take more. If your stools become loose, cut back on your dose. If you have kidney problems, consult your doctor before taking a higher dose.
Take probiotics daily: 50 billion CFUs of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Eat cultured veggies and foods, and drink cultured drinks like kefir. It's best to take the probiotics on an empty stomach, a half hour prior to eating. Try to eat something with a lot of fiber—another benefit of which is that it feeds these good bacteria in your gut. I've found probiotics to be very helpful in regulating bowel movements.
Is there anything yoga can't do? It is so helpful in so many ways for so many things. There are a number of poses that will help relieve constipation, especially twists, forward folds, and inversions.
Here's a specific pose you can try: Sit in the cobbler's pose with the soles of your feet together, letting your knees drop to the side and bringing your feet in as close to your groin as you are comfortable with. Interlace your hands around your feet, sit tall, roll your shoulders down your back, inhale, then fold forward with a flat back. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Having regular bowel movements is critical to your health and well-being, and is one indication and by-product of a healthy gut (which we can't overemphasize the importance of when it comes to health). If you get stopped up, following these tips should relieve your constipation. If you're still stopped up, get your thyroid checked.
Kelli was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as a child and has always paid close attention to her health. But when that disease went beyond the care of traditional medicine, she found answers, and healing, through lifestyle improvements and working with a functional-medicine doctor.