It’s a topic that many people don’t talk about but staying regular is really important for your overall health. Going number two gets rid of toxins that your body has no use for, reduces the risk of bowel cancer, and prevents blockages (which can lead to having sections of your intestine surgically removed).
First of all, what does it mean to be regular? “Regular” is going to be different for everyone – some people go multiple times a day while others go every couple of days. Many people have conditions that affect their bowel function including inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, and Celiac disease which require special diets and treatments. That being said, the following advice is GENERAL and is not necessarily appropriate for everyone.
Tips for a healthy bowel:
- Drink enough water (at least 8 glasses/day + more if you exercise)
- Get moving! Exercise promotes healthy movement in your gut
- Add more vegetables into your life. Make a salad with dinner, add some lettuce & tomato to that homemade burger, or chomp on some carrot and celery sticks with hummus. You body will get more vitamins & minerals, in addition to fiber and water needed to keep things moving.
- Relax. Believe it or not, your brain plays a big role in how your digestive system works. When you relax, the brain tells your body to get to work and process the food in your body. On the flip side, when you are stressed out, you can have indigestion, heartburn, and constipation. Yoga can be very helpful in this regard (as well as many others).
- Reduce artificial sweeteners & fake foods. Chemicals like fake sugar are not digestible by the human body and can hinder digestion & absorption of other foods. Try to limit your intake as much as possible. Also, take a minute to think about how much money you spend on “diet foods” relative to how much nutrition they contain. You are getting ripped off big time! Now, this isn’t to say that a little artificial sweetener here and there cannot be part of a healthy food plan, however it shouldn’t be its own food group.
- Switch from cereal to steel cut oats. Jazz up your oatmeal with dried or fresh fruits, homemade applesauce, flaxseed, nuts, and even vanilla protein powder. The soluble fiber in oatmeal helps keep you regular and has been shown to lower cholesterol. Oatmeal is a really good bang for your buck and is completely versatile (I have been known to mix it with cooked ground turkey and dried cranberries for supper).
- Eat your healthy fats. Salmon, trout, nuts, seeds, avocado, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are all great examples of healthy fats that you should incorporate into your diet regularly. Without essential fats our bodies cannot do all the things they are supposed to and you may find yourself pushing a little too hard, which can in some cases lead to hemorrhoids. Dry stools are not happy stools.
- Avoid irritant foods. If you have troubles every time you eat cabbage, spicy foods, or acidic fruits, try taking them out of your diet to see if it helps. Just because broccoli is a “healthy” food, doesn’t mean it is good for you. Every body is different and often making a few changes in your diet can relieve a lot of bloating & discomfort.
Hope this is helpful~!