Constipation is a problem that people are sometimes embarrassed to talk about, but it is an issue which is fairly widespread, especially in an aging population such as the one in the United States. A high-fiber diet with adequate hydration and regular exercise can help fend this problem off for the most part, but there are also other lifestyle changes that can be made to promote healthy, regular bowel movements.
Don’t Hold It!
Across the board, medical professionals agree that one risk factor for chronic constipation seems to be the instinct that some people have to “hold it” even when they feel the urge to go to the bathroom. Whether this is because of a busy schedule or an aversion, for instance, to using public facilities, it can dampen the body’s awareness of when it’s time to go and if feces dries out in the meantime and become hard, then normal bowel movements are much less likely.
Another natural way to avoid constipation is to supplement the diet with enzymes when you sit down to a meal. Supplementation can often be necessary since enzymes are often part of uncooked plant food and unless someone is eating a lot of raw fruits or vegetables (which is something most Americans do not include enough of in their diets), these can be lacking in the meal.
Try an Aperitif
A small glass of water containing apple cider vinegar, if drunk before a meal, can help stimulate the formation of stomach acid which is so vital to good digestion. The good digestion, in turn, will help reduce the risk of constipation problems. Such an aperitif is especially important to help promote good digestion in the elderly, who frequently suffer from constipation.
Start the Day with Lemon Water
A glass of water with lime or lemon juice squeezed into it, taken early in the morning after waking, is also a great way to help reduce constipation risk. This is because the lemon water stimulates bile production in the liver which helps to promote the effective digestion of foods.
This herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic discipline traditionally practiced in India and will not prove effective right away; however, if used over time, it can also prove helpful in promoting digestive health, especially if taken in the morning in conjunction with the lemon water.
Avoid a Low Fat Diet
It has been shown that people who follow low-fat diets can actually be more prone to constipation than those who include healthy fats in their diets. Sources of healthy fats include coconut, avocadoes, olive and safflower oils and eggs, just to name a few.
More and more medical research is emerging to prove that healthy intestinal flora is key not only for good digestion, but for immunity and overall health. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or be taken in by eating yogurt with live active cultures.
Constipation is not only an inconvenience, but can constitute a serious health problem, particularly in the elderly, and can also put someone at greater risk for colon and other digestive cancers. However, these modifications along with an overall healthy lifestyle can great reduce the chances of a chronic problem with bowel movements.