Constipation is a very prevalent condition in our Western society. Many people are not aware of the definition of constipation and to assist, a picture of the relevant stools is often a useful. The longer that fecal matter is allowed to stay in the colon (over and above the optimum time necessary for the absorption of nutrients), the more danger of us re-absorbing toxic matter and increasing our levels of discomfort. Ideally our stools should have the consistency of the Type 4 pattern
Believing that the colon is only involved in evacuation and elimination of unwanted food matter, we tend to want to forget that it even exists! Unfortunately like with all systems (even city sewage), getting rid of waste matter is of utmost importance to the surrounding health and wellbeing of all. Few people consider that many feelings of sub-optimal health could be due to internal sanitation issues. For many of us we are being poisoned from the inside! Unbeknown to many, our health actually starts in our colon. The bowel is a power house of activity and not an inert tube for evacuation. Did you know that there is about 2.5kg of healthy bowel bacteria that should be camping inside of us and that they ensure that many other processes in our bodies function at their best? Here are some examples:
- The manufacture of B-vitamins (biotin, niacin, pyridoxine and folic acid)
- In providing lactase (the enzyme that enhances the digestion of milk based foods)
- They act as an anti-carcinogenic factor
- Assist in the control of undesirable organisms (eg Candida Albicans)
- Ensure shortened bowel transit time (ie regular and healthy bowel function)
- Assist in controlling high cholesterol levels
- Assist in controlling facial acne (especially in adolescents)
- Assist in protection against the effects of radiation and toxic pollutants, enhancing immune function.
- A good gut microbial count is known to be useful in the treatment of thrush, eczema, allergies and food intolerances, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches/migraines, cystitis.
In many instances even if there is regular bowel function (2-3 times/day) but the diet consists of overly processed foods, excess sugar and fats, low amounts of fibre and bulking foods, it is extremely difficult to have optimum colonic functioning.
To assist in normal bowel function, Psyllium Husks provide healthy fibre for the colon and with sufficient water, swell to provide the bulk necessary to pass fecal matter.
If the peristalsis of the colon is sluggish, Sally T. Magnesium Oxide helps to increase this movement of the fecal matter through the colon. For best results these products must be adjusted to produce the Type 4 picture. Transit time of food in the gut should be 12 to 24 hours maximum.
Essential for healthy colon ecology and in all bowel irregularities, friendly colonic bacteria must be added to our daily programmes. Dosages need to be adjusted for personal needs.
Pure, still water is essential for the healthy functioning of our entire digestive system and is especially important in alleviating constipation. All other caffeinated or sugary carbonated drinks must be eliminated.
This is a very important tool in getting the gut to work. A sedentary life style causes our gut to ‘go to sleep’. Exercise wakes it up and gets it moving. This assists in the expelling of toxins through the faeces.
A regular bowel function habit should be instilled by training the colon to produce a healthy stool after breakfast. A minimum of one stool should be passed per day. Certain food types generally assist in healthy bowel evacuation. It is suggested that foods with roughage, like legumes (lentils, baked beans, chickpeas), fruits (especially pawpaw) and vegetables (beetroot in particular) , whole grains (including brown, red or black rice) and even some natural oils (obtained from fresh sunflower seeds) be included on a daily basis. Overuse of refined, processed foods is discouraged as well as an excess of meats and saturated fats. For some people wheat products and even rye can be constipating.
People who have committed to a high protein, high saturated fat diet often have issues with constipation. Excess saturated fats can sometimes produce a ’soap’ like compound in the gut that is difficult to pass. Increasing the variety of dietary fibre in the form of leafy vegetables and legumes can be of assistance together with a good 2 litres of water and exercise, every day.