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5 Reasons Why You’re Constipated – And How To Fix It

  • By
  • Teresa Cutter

 

There are many contributing factors that effect digestion and the elimination of wastes from your body. Factors such as diet, food intolerances, stress, hormones, lifestyle, emotional disposition, anxiety, chemicals, bacteria, medications, and sleep will affect the state of your health and how your body works.

Having battled my own share of digestive issues since I was young, I’m driven to help people on their journey to better digestive health – the reason why I wrote my book Perfect Digestive Health.

Here I’ve listed some of the most common reasons why your digestive health may not be functioning as optimally as it should, and how you can get it back on track.

1. BACTERIA IMBALANCE

There is a balance between good and bad bacteria in our digestive system, which is responsible for the way our bowel functions. These microorganisms also aid in the elimination of toxins, influence our ability to fight off infection and illness, and help to regulate our metabolism. Constipation can involve an imbalance of gut bacteria. Gut bacteria help to control bowel motility, or the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract. When gut motility is too slow, constipation results. The bad bacteria literally secrete toxins into the gut, slowing gut motility.  These bad bacteria are pretty hard to eliminate as they live amongst the biofilm, in which case a targeted treatment plan and probiotic regime is necessary via your specialist.

Not having enough of the good gut flora is the most important link to constipation.  

What to do about it:

Probiotics are essential in keeping your gut healthy and functioning properly. Food sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as tempeh, disruptors, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and cultured yoghurt. Other forms of effective probiotic therapy include high dose probiotic supplements and FMT (Fecal Microbiota Transplant) that research shows positive results. Kombucha on the other hand, refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria in our large intestine, helping to promote balanced gut flora and healthy bowel function.

Fresh vegetables and salads are one of nature’s greatest prebiotics, so it’s important to enjoy them every day and at every meal if you can.

When our good bacteria eat prebiotc fibre, they produce beneficial short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which inhibits the growth of disease-causing pathogens and maintains the health of our intestinal lining. Rich sources of prebiotics include all fresh fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, artichoke, carrot, beetroot, berries, sweet potato, dandelion greens, asparagus, garlic, leek, banana and kiwi fruit. That’s why I love my SuperFood Supplement as it’s the perfect prebiotic mix of vegetables, leafy greens and berries.

Organic Wheatgrass Juice can also help with elimination and alkalinity of the digestive system and Natural Immune Support works like a natural anti-inflammatory in the gut as it contains a high dose of  turmeric and ginger that helps to calm the digestive system.

 

2. YOU’RE STRESSED

Chronic stress can alter hormone and neurotransmitter production, which has a direct influence on muscle tension, inflammation, enzyme production and overall digestive functioning. When you’re stressed, you’re also more likely eat and chew your food in a hurry, making you feel bloated.

What to do about it:

Carve some time out to sit and chew your food well to reduce bloating and incomplete digestion. If you’re always stressed, look for ways you can reduce your stress. Try meditation, and getting enough sleep that will help you stay calm and reduce stress.

If you’re always stressed, look for ways you can manage it. Also, aim to deep breathe and meditate for 5 minutes a day – this can often help calm the body. I also find teas such as Rose Absolute and Relax & Renew are wonderful to help reduce stress levels. I’m also always sipping Rose Absolute tea at my desk at work which I find calming on stressful days. Meditation, yoga, walking and pilates are all great forms of stress relief.

3. YOU’RE NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

Constipation is related to dehydration in the colon, so it’s essential you’re drinking a minimum of 2–3 litres per day (8–12 glasses). Water nourishes the digestive system, supports the absorption of nutrients and helps to remove waste and toxins.

What to do about it:

I enjoy the juice of one fresh lemon in two glasses of filtered water and wheatgrass. This helps to stimulate the production of bile, which acts like a natural laxative and increases stomach acid allowing you to break down your food more effectively.

I also love my Lemon Delicious and Gingersnap teas as they have ingredients such as lemon balm and ginger that assist with better digestion and have a calmative effect on the gut.

4. YOU’RE LACKING IN FIBRE

Fibre is naturally found in plant foods and consists of complex carbohydrate compounds that cannot be broken down properly by the body. Fibre is essential to digestive health as it adds bulk to help rid the body of waste products. While there is no one supplement that works for everyone, I’m a big advocate for LSA, chia and leafy greens for getting your daily dose of fibre.

What to do about it:

Eat fresh and natural foods for maximum nutrition. Make sure the majority of your meals comprise of vegetables and leafy green salads. In this way, you will naturally getting enough fibre to help support healthy bowel movement. A delicious way to get more fibre is to enjoy my Green Smoothie That Will Change Your Life… it’s one of the most popular green, detoxifying and gut healing recipes on my website!  The recipes in Perfect Digestive Health are all designed to be low FODMAP, gluten and dairy free to give your digestive system the best chance of restoring its health.

5. HORMONE IRREGULARITIES

The thyroid gland controls the speed at which vital body processes occur. Hypothyroidism slows down the processes of the body, which can often lead to slow transit time, constipation, absorption issues, and dysbiosis. Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease and diabetes, and hormonal irregularities, such as PMS and adrenal fatigue, are also potential digestive disruptors.

What to do about it:

It’s important to get your health checked properly by a qualified health practitioner that specialises in hormone dysfunction if you suspect hormone irregularities are linked to your digestive issues. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that helps promote healthy thyroid function. This includes leafy greens such as sea vegetables, wild caught fish, organic chicken and organic eggs, dairy free milks such as almond milk, macadamia milk, and other foods that I love to regularly use such as extra virgin olive oil, sweet potato, ginger, avocado, nuts and seeds and berries.

Avoid thyroid distruptors such as peanuts and soy products, alcohol and sugar. Also make sure to eat your cruciferous vegetables steamed or lightly cooked.

Remember to make meals yourself, or get it prepared by someone who loves you, that way, you’ll know exactly what’s going into your body.

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One Response to “5 Reasons Why You’re Constipated – And How To Fix It”
  1. Michelle says:

    Not moving enough is also a fairly major contributor. Great article.

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