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’s some great tips to get your flow back on:
1 – Water
Be sure you are getting enough water every day. Whatever your body weight is in pounds, be sure to get at least half of that number in ounces of water every day. This isn’t a glamorous tip, but dehydration is a major cause of constipation.
2 – Fiber
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 flax seeds.
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 helping minimize the stress response and negative thoughts and emotions). Fiber also helps the body metabolize hormones, especially estrogen, which helps protect against breast and other forms of cancer for women.
3 – Magnesium
Take 150mgs – 300mgs of magnesium citrate in capsule form 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.
4 – Probiotics
Take probiotics daily – 50 billion CFUs of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Eat cultured veggies and foods, and drink cultured drinks like kefir. Try 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 this good bacteria in your gut. I’ve found probiotics to be very helpful in regulating bowel movements.
5 – Yoga
Is there anything yoga can’t do? It is so helpful in so many ways for so many things. There are many poses that will help relieve constipation, especially twists, forward folds, and inversions.
Here’s a specific pose you can try: Sit in 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 healthy guts (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.