Diet. Treatment of your constipation may center on developing general healthy diet guidelines, in addition to making some key adjustments in your relationship with food.
Dietary recommendations for constipation include:
- Add healthy saturated fats to your diet such as organic extra virgin coconut oil to encourage digestive regularity. Read more about good fats and bad fats.
- Increase your omega-3 essential fatty acids by selecting ground flax meal, wild-caught salmon, minimal-mercury albacore tuna, fish oil, avocado, and walnuts.
- Add nutrient-dense and unprocessed foods such as sprouted nuts and seeds to your diet.
- Eat small meals throughout the day, rather than 3 large, heavy meals.
- Increase your daily intake of purified water, especially in between meals.
- Avoid drinking ice-cold water with meals. Ice-cold water slows down your digestion by lowering the amount of stomach acid (HCl) that you need to digest your food.
- Stay away from over-the-counter laxatives.1 Chemicals and herbs that induce bowel movements quickly (sometimes violently) by irritating your bowel, can cause cramps and diarrhea and lead to laxative dependence, followed by worse problems with constipation.2
- Fiber – Maintain an adequate source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps you maintain regularity by combining with food to form a gel that adds bulk and keeps the muscles of the colon stretched and working. Foods high in soluble fiber include: ground flax meal, nuts and seeds, coconut, apples, avocado, bananas, beans, brown rice, oats, oranges, potatoes, squash, dried apricots, and prunes.1
Foods to AVOID include:
- All simple or refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.) – Read more about good carbs and bad carbs.
- All foods containing refined sugar or synthetic sugar-substitutes such as aspartame, Splenda®, etc. Choose a natural sweetener like Xylosweet instead.
- Sweetened fruit juices that spike blood sugar levels too rapidly
- Alcoholic beverages in excess since they hinder the functioning of the immune and digestive systems
- Excessive caffeine intake – While moderate amounts of caffeine may be beneficial, excessive consumption can disrupt the body’s systems, causing insomnia and digestive irregularity (constipation or diarrhea).2
- All tobacco products – Nicotine disrupts the bowel in the same manner as caffeine.2
- Bottom crawlers, such as oysters, clams, and lobster that may contain toxic levels of mercury
- Deep-sea fish such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish that may contain toxic levels of mercury. Choose minimal-mercury albacore tuna instead.
- Farm-raised fish that contain PCBs and not enough omega-3 essential fatty acids, due to their land-based diets. Choose wild-caught salmon instead.
- Sodium nitrite found in processed foods such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) found in many foods as a flavor enhancer
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in many processed foods, deep-fried foods, fast foods, and junk food – Read more about good fats and bad fats.
- Products (such as soy milk and ice cream) that contain carrageenan, a seaweed extract that’s added to foods to retain their creamy texture. For some people, carrageenan irritates the stomach.
Exercise. Exercise encourages your bowel to remain relaxed and function more efficiently. When you have constipation, perhaps the last thing you want do is exercise, but even going for a walk is a step in the right direction.
Other tips for constipation sufferers
- If you have “silver” dental fillings, get an evaluation from a mercury-free dentist who specializes in the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings. Mercury in the body can damage the gastrointestinal system and be a cause of constipation. Find a mercury-free dentist in your area now!