A lot of people get constipated at various times in their lives. For some this can last a few days, for others it can be a regular occurrence. It is not ideal and long term it can be the cause of many problems.
Gone are the days when the best thing for constipation was a harsh chemical laxative. This is only a short-term solution and does not solve the problem sensibly and can cause side-effects.
Natural methods to assist constipation are usually best. Regular constipation can lead to severe stomach and intestinal difficulties.
What is constipation?
Constipation refers to infrequent or irregular bowel movements, usually with difficulty. Sometimes there is pain on passing dry hard faeces. It is usually harmless if it isn't a regular thing, but it may be an indication of an underlying problem.
Many people only have one bowel movement each day and sometimes even less than this. The ideal should be 2 or 3 bowel movements each day which approximates to a bowel movement for each meal consumed. This isn't exact, but having just 1 bowel movement a day isn't optimum and 1 movement every few days is definitely not ideal.
There are many severe health problems connected with periods of lengthy constipation. Studies have now shown that troubles with the intestinal tract and poor absorption of nutrients can stem from periods of constipation.
Some causes of constipation
One of the main causes of constipation is diet. While there are many other contributing factors like immobility, haemorrhoids, an anal fissure, hypothyroidism or hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, diet does play a large role in constipation. Most commonly it is a diet lacking in fibre.
Most people would not need assistance if they ate right and certainly wouldn't need strong laxatives. Unfortunately, artificial laxatives can contain harmful chemicals which can have side-effects over time.
But getting your diet right can take time and sometimes that is when a little help can prove to be beneficial.
Don't let it become a long term problem
Eating incorrectly can have long-term effects. One may not notice it when younger, but over a few years, to many meats, fats and dairy products can result in constipation.
The modern diet too often consists of fast food, high processed foods and the fresh fruit and vegetables fall away, to your detriment. Continual constipation does require a change in life style. Every whole grain item and every fibre-rich fruit and vegetable helps prevent and relieve constipation.
It is important to make changes because it can become a more serious problem. It is also interesting to realise that the relief from getting things back on track isn't just physical. It can improve your emotional state and general outlook on life!
Some natural help and relief is available
Foods that have special recognition as laxatives include almonds, apricots (dried), avocados, chicory, coconut, dandelion (yes get out in your garden and eat those dandelion leaves, so long as they have no chemicals on them!), dates, endive, figs, flaxseed, grapes, mango's, olive, papayas, parsley, persimmons, pineapple, prunes, rhubarb, soybeans, turnips, walnuts, watercress.
Include a combination of these in your diet as fresh salads, soups or snacks. Increase your intake of the above and if still constipated, increase again and lessen your intake of meat, dairy and highly processed food.