No one likes to admit it. This most private and personal of subjects is really not brought up in polite conversation. But, let’s be clear: regular bowel movements is an essential part of optimal health. By regular, I mean 1-3 times a day. If you’re not clearing your colon a minimum of once a day, you’re constipated. So let’s have that conversation, just between you and me! Here’s the best permanent fixes for constipation:
Eat Foods High In Soluble Fiber
The muscles in the walls of our intestines love bulk. It gives them a soft mass to grip and move along through the small intestines and into the large intestines. There, insoluble fiber provides the bulk of our stool while soluble fiber keeps our stool hydrated and soft. Fiber also helps sweep along toxins and cholesterol. It literally cleans your pipes!
For best results in curing constipation, you want to eat a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber. All plants have insoluble fiber but finding the ones that have high levels of soluble fiber is the trick.
When I created TeeChia Super Seed Cereal, I chose 3 foods with the highest amount of soluble fiber: oats, chia and flax seeds. These three super foods produce a mucilage that is thick and viscous when hydrated. Literally, they make your poop slide out of your colon effortlessly.
I was inspired to create TeeChia because I needed a solution for my husband’s constipation which was brought on suddenly by nerve damage in his spinal chord. Immediately, it did the trick and now he doesn’t go a day without his bowl of TeeChia. Overnight my family became huge fans of soluble fiber!
Consume Prebiotic Fiber
In the early days of selling Teeccino, I got a call from a woman who said, “What’s in this stuff? I’ve been constipated for 20 years and now that I’m drinking Teeccino, I’m regular for the first time in my life”. Then her doctor actually called with the same question because he couldn’t believe the difference Teeccino had made to her digestion. That sent me scurrying to figure out what was in Teeccino that had such a great effect on constipation.
It is known that a morning cup of a hot beverage helps people have the “urge to go”. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea provide even more stimulation to the peristalsis of the large intestines that moves your stool out. But you can get dependent on caffeine just like you can on other laxatives sold over-the-counter in drug stores. Dependency on stimulants isn’t the healthy way to cure constipation on a daily basis.
When I looked at Teeccino, I discovered that beyond the effect of drinking a hot beverage, Teeccino is full of an essential ingredient for the health of our colons that extracts into a cup of Teeccino during the brewing process. Of any plants we eat, one of Teeccino’s main ingredients, chicory root, has the highest amount of inulin, the prebiotic fiber found in over 36,000 plants. Wheat, garlic, onions and bananas all have small amounts of inulin, but drinking Teeccino can greatly increase your daily intake of inulin. Inulin gets digested and fermented by beneficial digestive flora in the large intestines that produce essential vitamins, provide immune factors and increase the absorption of nutrients.
Prebiotic fiber is literally food for our digestive flora. In our hunting and gathering era, we ate 15 grams of inulin daily. With today’s diet, we’re lucky to get 2 grams. The 650mg of inulin in a cup of Teeccino can quickly double your consumption of prebiotics when you drink a couple of cups a day.
A healthy gut micro-biome is the subject of much research as scientist discover more and more ways they effect our health. By consuming more inulin, you will get all the benefits of prebiotic fiber including being regular!
Eat Dried Fruit Like Raisins and Prunes
Dried raisins and prunes are a high fiber food that have an added benefit of helping relieve constipation. Raisins contain tartaric acid which has a gentle laxative effect. Prunes contain sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol that you’ve probably seen as a sweetener in sugar-free foods. Sorbitol seems to assist the colon in retaining water in the stool as well as when consumed in large enough quantities, it produces gas and abdominal cramping which causes you to go.
I brought home a big bag of prunes from CostCo – they actually called them “plums” because prunes are dried plums (in case you didn’t know that) and that sounds better than old fashioned prunes. My husband got into them and ate a good deal more than he should have. Oh my. Yes, they do cure constipation but he is now much more cautious about eating them. He’s happy sticking with his morning bowl of TeeChia!
Eat Healthy Fats
Fats are lubricants and lubrication is what our large intestines require. Water, of course, is our main lubricant and keeping sufficiently hydrated is a huge part of curing constipation. But eating the right kind of fat can also help.
The super seeds that I put in TeeChia are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Recent studies show that omega-3 fats, well known for their anti-inflammatory properties, can also reduce symptoms that lead to hemorrhoids. Inflamed veins around the anus and lower bowel are the cause of hemorrhoids, which are often associated with constipation. Omega-3 fats also may help to soften the stool. Although they won’t cure hemorrhoids, they are helpful in preventing them by reducing the inflammation that causes them.
Track Your Elimination
A meal should move through your intestines in 12-24 hours. We eat 2-3 meals a day, which is why we should poop 2-3 times a day.
Here’s the best way to check if your intestinal motility is up to par: eat beets! Beets in themselves are laxative because they contain so much good fiber. But it is the red color of beets that will let you know how long it took your intestines to eliminate the meal they were part of.
My favorite is to add roasted beets to a salad or meal. Here’s a super simple recipe that turns everyone into beet lovers:
Scrub the beets clean in water. Cut off their tops and ends, and cover them with olive oil. (Spray olive oil makes it really easy.) Roast them at 400º F until a fork goes into them easily. Take them out and chop lengthwise into quarters or eighths. Drizzle some more olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them and add a bit of herb salt like Spike®. Toss and enjoy. Yum!
Ok, if you haven’t seen red in the color of your poop within 24 hours, you’re backed up. Take my suggestions above and get yourself regular on a daily basis for optimal health!