by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, RHN
Constipation is one of the most common health complaints in our society. Constipation is completely controllable and stems from a number of factors including a poor diet (low fiber, low essential fatty acids), a lack of exercise, stress, and dehydration.
If left untreated, constipation leads to a host of other problems including parasite infestations, increased risk of colon cancer, weight gain, gut inflammation leading to leaky gut syndrome, and more.
Without regular bowel movements, we end up keeping rotting food, fecal matter, and toxins in our body where they can putrefy and create further toxic build-up inside the body. Think of like not being able to take out the trash in your home. Eventually, things would get pretty scary. Yuck!
Thus, getting regular and talking poop is serious business.
What you poop and how often you poop is the result of what you eat. The body absorbs some of your food intake and the rest is sent to the colon to be eliminated (as poop). But your body cannot optimally absorb nutrients or remove waste without a healthy functioning colon and digestive system.
A healthy colon and digestive system, including the stomach, and large and small intestines, has certain features. The first feature is the presence of happy, healthy enzymes that break down food, move it through the body, and increase the amount of nutrients absorbed. The second important feature is the lack of sticky mucus or old, rotting, unprocessed food or fecal matter.
If your intestines, stomach, and colon don’t have these two features, chances are, you will be backed up, constipated, and feeling tired and weak. Or, you might be fluctuating between constipation and diarhea, or fighting irritable bowel syndrome, or other health problems.
But what constitutes constipation? How often should you be pooping?
While everyone has a different body, with a unique physiology, it is still considered constipation if you poop less than once a day. I know that seems like a bit much. Western doctors only recommend pooping once a day to be healthy and some people even think it is fine if you go only (EEK!) three times a week.
But, as a sign of good health, you should passing healthy, non-strenuous poops at least twice, if not three times, per day. This indicates that your body is processing foods and moving them through and out of your body.
When food is moving through your body this efficiently, none of it is rotting in the colon for fungi or parasites to feed on. Food processed this quickly also is not irritating the intestinal walls, causing food to leak into the blood, and creating toxicity in a process called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a major health concern and may even be linked to lupus, asthma, and other allergic reactions.
So with that foundation, let’s look at 3 ways to cure constipation once and for all. You might actually be surprised at how simple it is.
Drink More Water, Eat More Fibre, and Lubricate Your Gut
For your bowels to function properly, they need 3 specific nutrients – water, fiber, and essential fatty acids.
Water is necessary to move waste through your colon in much the same way that a water slide shoots kids from top to bottom. No water, very little flow.
Fiber is necessary as it provides bulk to your stool, while absorbing toxins and cholesterol to be eliminated. Fiber intake increases your body’s need for water. The easiest way to ensure these 2 nutrients are balanced is by eating more fresh food like fruits and vegetables. These uncooked plant foods have high amounts of fiber and water, which would otherwise be minimized and lost, respectively, when cooked.
Finally, to lubricate the lining of your gut, allowing the easy passage of stool, essential fatty acids like omega-3s are needed. Flax oil, hemp oil, fish oil, and even monounsaturated fats like olive oil and avocados are great sources of these healthy fats that lubricate your gut.
In addition to these 3 simple tips for curing constipation for regular poops, getting regular physical activity, especially “bouncy” type of activities like walking, running, and rebounding are very helpful.
Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, fitness expert, and highly sought after High Performance Health Coach. He’s also a former professional soccer player and served as the Head Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition Coach for men’s soccer at the University of Toronto for 7 seasons. For more than 13 years, he’s empowered more than 80,000 people to greater health with his no-nonsense approach to health, fitness, and nutrition.