Let’s talk about poop! Nutritionists love to talk about poop. Regular bowel movements are the body’s way of removing toxins, estrogen, cholesterol, and waste from the body.
Many people believe that the easiest and perhaps only way to relieve their constipation is to resort to laxatives. Still, these can be harsh on the body and are ultimately a short-term solution since they don’t address constipation’s actual underlying cause. To truly cure constipation, it’s key to identify the root cause and treat that along with the symptoms. Once you understand what is causing your constipation, you can properly treat it.
Fiber promotes bowel movement. Back in the day, as a hunter-gatherer, we humans ate 100 to 150 grams of fiber a day. Today most modern humans are lucky if they get 8 grams daily. I’d like to see people getting 35 grams. Fiber comes from plant foods. Besides eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, I like “super fibers” like chia seeds and ground flaxseed. Try adding two tablespoons a day to your smoothies or salads for an easy fiber boost. Nuts, seeds, and beans also contain high amounts of quality fiber; however, remember that beans can cause insulin spikes – so go easy if you are prone to blood sugar imbalances. (Search our Quest FB site for #fiber for my blog on all things fibrous).
You’ll also want to avoid foods that cause constipation. Dairy tops this list, and gluten is a close second. I challenge you to give those up for at least three weeks and see how your digestion and overall health improve.
Another BIG constipation culprit is magnesium deficiency. We don’t eat enough of this underrated mineral (magnesium-rich foods include nuts, beans, and greens), plus things like chronic stress, and too much sugar often deplete magnesium levels. Even if you eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, you probably need to supplement to get optimal levels. Use 200 mg to 1,000 mg of magnesium citrate daily. Gradually increase the dose until you go once or twice a day. If you take too much, you will get loose stools. If that happens, back off a bit.
Vitamin C is another excellent poop inducer. You can take 2,000 to 4,000 mg or more a day, along with magnesium supplementation. The same principle applies here: If you begin to get loose stools, just back off a bit.
Exercise is an excellent laxative. So move your body every day to help move those bowels. Finally, don’t forget water: Hydration is critical, so drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day.
If you’re still struggling after using the above tips, then consider having your thyroid checked. An often-overlooked culprit of constipation is a sluggish thyroid, affecting 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men (about half of whom are not diagnosed or not treated properly).
If you are prone to constipation, here are my top tips…
🥄 Chia Seeds (add 1/4 cup chia seeds to 2 cups water/almond milk and allow to soak. Take 2 tbsp per day of the gelatinized chia seeds). This will help add bulk to your stool.
🥥 Coconut oil: for a little extra lubrication!
Hydration: an essential ingredient!
🤾♀️ Movement: helps keep things moving.
🧘♀️ Yoga: the twists and turns can be useful.
Magnesium citrate. There are LOTS of different magnesium forms; citrate is the best form of magnesium for constipation.
Coach Christina MS, CNS, LN