Friday, November 23, 2007

Overcoming Constipation Naturally

Constipation may be defined as infrequent or incomplete bowel movements often characterized by stools that are hard, dry and difficult to pass due to slow transit time through the gastrointestinal tract. Transit time is the amount of time that elapses between the ingestion of food and when it is excreted in the form of stool.

In conventional medical circles, it is considered ?normal? to have a bowel movement as infrequently as three times each week, but many holistic practitioners would consider the normal range of bowel movements to be between two and three every day. The thinking here is that three movements would be ideal because we generally eat three meals daily. Ideally, when food enters the stomach, a nerve impulse is sent to the colon, prompting it to contract and release its contents. This gastrocolic reflex, when functioning properly, would cause us to empty our colons after each meal.

With constipation, a wide range of symptoms may be experienced. These can include abdominal discomfort, rectal discomfort, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, lower back pain, and a general feeling of malaise. When bowel transit time is slow, waste is not promptly eliminated from the body. It will consequently decay or ferment, producing poisonous chemicals. This reabsorption of toxins into the body can increase the risk of developing colon disease and other serious digestive health problems.

As an alternative to conventional laxatives, optional nutritional approaches may help prevent and provide relief for occasional constipation. A high-fiber diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds may help ease elimination and promote two to three healthy bowel movements each day. These foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which work together to soak up toxins in the digestive tract and sweep the colon free of debris by removing toxins from the intestinal wall. Herbal supplements may also help to cleanse and detoxify the body, and a gentle, natural colon cleanse formula can hydrate and strengthen the colon.

Lifestyle changes may also help reduce the risk of becoming constipated. Try waking up a little earlier each morning and allowing yourself time to go to the bathroom, and set aside time during the day to do the same. Make sure when you are on the toilet that your feet are elevated and you assume a squatting position. This will ensure that the colon is in the proper position for elimination.

Exercise also helps stimulate the body?s digestive process. Incorporating at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine may help stimulate peristalsis (the wave-like movement of food through your intestines) and promote healthy elimination.
Brenda Watson is passionate about helping people worldwide live healthier, longer lives through daily diet and lifestyle changes. She is the President of Renew Life Formulas and founder of five natural healthcare clinics. Constipation Remedy