You can’t have one without the other!!
Have you guessed what I’m referring to? Probably not as you are rarely told about it.
The answer is of course Dietary Fibre!!!
When you complain of your irritable bowel or constipation or any kind of bowel problem you are generally told to increase your fibre intake. The truth of the matter is dietary fibre is essential for a daily healthy bowel movement…However, water is even more important as FIBRE cannot work without sufficient water to pass the fibre through. Water is required to allow the fibre to bulk up, soften and swell so it glides through the bowel with a very gentle sweeping effect.
Today I decided to write this article as over the past few weeks I have been working with an amazing lady who suffered from a lot of tiredness and had irregular bowel movements. On top of this she had a series of other complaints and nasty frequent kidney infections. She was told to increase her fibre which she did to no avail…in fact she felt even worse the more fibre she took.
Following on from working with her on day one , it quickly became apparent she was dehydrated as she drank little water on a consistent basis. She was always wondering why her urine was so dark!!! Six weeks later she feels like a new woman. She asked me , WHY are we all told to take more fibre and not a mention of drinking water with it?. Such a simple change she said and One I was completely unaware of…
If this story sounds familiar to you I hope you will be inspired to take action and increase your water intake. If you do not, DO NOT INCREASE YOUR FIBRE INTAKE specially of grains and high fibre brown bread etc as they are so dry to begin with. It will only stick in your gut exacerbating the problem, creating bloating, flatulence, reabsorption of toxic wastes and much more.Fruit and veg are much easier to digest as they have a higher natural water content to begin with.
Constipation is an everyday fact of life for many. It is something I treat very successfully through the course of my treatments. It can make you feel grumpy, tired, irritable, unmotivated, uncomfortable, feeling full without eating, bloated and so on. Suffering from abdominal cramps/pain, headaches, haemorrhoids can be the norm..
If you are resorting to laxatives your digestive system is in need of a reboot. Ideally your bowels should move daily with ease, without any strain or difficulty. Your digestive system works in a simple four step process, food in, food digested, food absorbed and utilised by the body, waste eliminated. If any of these stages are not working to their optimum, neither will you! Disease pain and illness can occur. Think of your bowels or intestines as the bin in your kitchen, what happens when you don’t empty it or clean it regularly? It becomes, stale, mouldy, rotten and STINKING!! Just like the waste in you.
Constipation is a symptom that something is wrong or not working, either physically, nutritionally or emotionally. Believe it or not your thought patterns and how you feel can have an awful lot got to do with your bowel habits. This is usually something people are totally unaware of until it comes up during the treatment. Your gut is like a second brain.
Our emotional wellbeing plays a huge role in the proper functioning of our entire digestive system. If you are feeling very anxious, experience frequent knots of pain or tension in your abdomen, feel uptight, upset, depressed or if you are grieving etc all these feelings can affect your mood, how you eat, when you eat and if the system is stressed it cannot process and digest food like it is supposed to do.
Our gut is controlled through brain sensors, nerves, chemical messengers and more and constipation can be symbolic of some of the following, so ask yourself these questions and see if they sound familiar to you …
Are you ‘Stuck’ in your ways or inflexible, are you grieving a loss, do you hoard things or find it difficult to let go of things or thoughts, are you uptight or worried over money constantly? Do you eat the same food day in day out or follow the same regime day in day out? Are you leading a sedentary lifestyle?
There are many other causes of constipation all of which are assessed and treated accordingly to you specifically. Other causes may include food intolerances, not enough liquids in the diet, thyroid imbalances, medication, trace mineral imbalances, high stress levels, weak muscle groups, liver congestion, nutritional deficiencies, structural problems, toxicity from an infestation of parasites, nasty bacteria or fungus, all of which can overload and congest the system resulting in a sluggish you.
At least 80% of the people I treat suffer from constipation. They feel they have no choice but to live with it or take increasing amounts of laxatives for the rest of their lives. The best news is it does not have to be this way at all. It can be treated in natural ways so easily and successfully.
Also, many actually feel if they go to the loo maybe once or twice per week they are not in fact constipated! According to the Bristol stool chart …Your stool should be a good brown colour , well formed and smooth like toothpaste. it should pass quickly and with ease and be free of offensive odours!!!
A well balanced diet with plenty of variety, with sufficient bulk, protein, carbohydrates, water and lots of vegetables are the key. An absolute minimum of 5 portions of fruits and vegetables daily are required. Many people struggle to reach the 5 per day. Chewing your food properly is extremely important in keeping your digestive health well and functioning properly. In fact this is the most critical point ever!!!
Fibre can be found in fruits and vegetables, cereals/grains such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, seeds, wholegrain breads etc There is no fibre in animal products, cheese, meats or white starchy highly processed sugar laden foods, alcohol and so on…after all these are called unhealthy foods for a reason.
Always increase fibre very slowly otherwise you can set the gut into spasm and feel even worse with cramps, pain, more constipation etc. Fibre is so important for other things too, apart from adding bulk to the diet and helping transit time, fibre also helps us to feel fuller for longer so it can help significantly with weight management, cravings, blood sugars imbalances etc Fibre also plays a very impotent role in removal of waste cholesterol and bile from the system.
It plays a huge role in feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Most people have poor quality good bacteria in their gut as these good guys need fibre to feed on and get strong and healthy so they can survive all the happenings of the gut. Please remember there is no fibre in sugar or white processed foods and this is many peoples staple foods.
Toxins such as fungal overgrowth,/candida, parasites can also cause your gut to stagnant and block up. Low iron or magnesium or both in some cases are often culprits in being the root cause of constipation too. Meat especially red is a great source of easily absorbable iron and green leafy vegetables are a fantastic source of magnesium and non-haem iron too.
It is very important if you are experiencing any sudden changes in your bowel habits, stools, blood loss or anything like that , that you immediately get checked out by your GP. Often a colonoscopy is recommended to double check there is nothing more sinister going on in the inside. Also it is very important if you are experiencing ongoing constipation and you feel you are eating right and moving enough to chat with your GP and health professional and ensure it is not a side effect of your medication or something like that.
There is so much more you can do to help yourself…
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