Do you suffer from constipation? There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all have to “go”, and at some point or another, the process can become a bit jammed. Sometimes it’s easy to get things regularly flowing again, but other times, nothing seems to work and you can’t help but bear the discomfort of not, let’s say, off-loading for days on end.
Constipation is what happens when there is difficulty in emptying the bowels and is usually associated with pellet-shaped or hurtful, hardened stool. It can be caused by a number of things, most commonly the regular consumption of processed foods, poor hydration, infrequent exercise, irritated bowels, certain medications and stress. Constipation may be harmless if its effects are short-lived. However when it is long-lasting it can pose a threat to your overall health, and can manifest in the form of irritability, poor concentration, bad breath, bloating, headaches, backaches and can be the festering ground for a number of diseases because of the toxic environment created within the gut.
The good news is that you can remove the roadblocks that may be hindering the regular flow of digested food through your system.
Here are some remedies that are sure to help.
Senna Pods or Leaves
For immediate relief, senna is an excellent herbal laxative. With its potency being within its pods or leaves, senna can be consumed as a tea. Its pods or leaves may be purchased at most pharmacies and may be used without prescription. To make this tea, boil a few senna pods or leaves in a small pot of water. Let cool and drink a small cup of the tea at bed time. You may add a few grains of Epsom salts to the brew to reduce the pain of griping. It is not recommended that you become dependent on laxatives for bowel movements, as this could disrupt the body’s natural balance of digestion and elimination. Senna should not be used more than once weekly.
The Daniel Fast
The better, long-term solution to constipation is improving the diet. Fasting is a superb practice that lightens the load on the digestive system and promotes vitality in the body and mind. The Daniel fast is a biblical diet followed by the prophet Daniel in the self-named book in the Bible. This type of fast will greatly reduce inflammation in the body and provide sufficient roughage and nutrients to help the digestive system to regain its balance. It also improves mental alertness and clarity.
To perform this fast, either for 10 days or 21 days, you are to completely eliminate all forms of animal protein from the diet, including meat, milk, eggs or cheese. Alcohol, sugar, and processed foods are also to be avoided, including flour (and gluten products), oils and non-natural drinks. What can be consumed are: fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, oats, peas, beans, herbs, spices and plenty of water. Combine (this diet) with regular exercise and you’re sure to gain great benefits from this fast.
Sometimes, when we drink water can be more important than how much we drink when we do. Here are some quick dos and don’ts for effective hydration that can help to relieve constipation:
Do: Drink one (or more) glass of warm water in the morning upon rising before you eat anything at all. A few drops of pure lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to your glass will make it even better for bowel movements.
Do: Drink a glass of water an hour before or after meals.
Do: Drink a glass of water before you take a bath.
Do: Drink a glass of water an hour before bed.
Don’t: Drink large amounts of water (or other beverages) with meals. This dilutes the gastric juices in the stomach and slows the digestive process.
Don’t: Substitute water for juices or soft drinks. Water in its plain form is what the body needs to hydrate itself. Sugary drinks can instead contribute to constipation.
Lastly, slippery elm bark (available as capsules in most pharmacies) is a soothing herbal digestive aid, as it coats the mucosal lining of the stomach and intestines and enhances bowel movements. Acting as a lubricant, it can make the “go” smoother and less painful. Be sure to take these capsules as directed by your pharmacist, preferably on an empty stomach.
By following these remedies, you’re sure to be on your way to saying goodbye to constipation and hello to a healthier colon and a happier you.
Best wishes on your journey to better health.