What is constipation?
Constipation is when you have trouble taking a dump. You want to poop but you can’t poop. Constipation is a very common problem and it just ruins your day and mood to the next level. A great day starts with a great dump. If you suffer from constipation you probably know how good it feels with a clean digestive tract in the morning.
You might have heard that a lack of fiber in the diet causes constipation or it is likely that you’ve been told to eat fiber rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits and drink a lot of water through out the day to fix your constipation. However, that advice does not work for most of the people because it does not addresses the root cause of constipation.
Neither eating a lot of fiber nor drinking enough water throughout the day will fix your constipation. It is something else. By the end of this article you will know how to fix your constipation and get rid of it completely.
What causes constipation?
Stress is one of the most potent causes of constipation. This is because your gut is strongly related to your brain. When you are constantly under stress your body always stays in a flight or fight mode rather than rest and digest mode. This compromises the digestive system resulting in poor and slow digestion. On the other hand when you are relaxed and not stressed out the digestion process goes smoothly without any problem and you experience no constipation.
Constipation usually occurs when you are constantly stressed about something that is not moving through your life such as breakup with your partner or death of a close one or something else. Also, worrying about pointless things all the time will make you stressed out and can induce constipation.
2.Eating a high fiber diet
Human digestive system is not made to digest large amounts of cellulose(fiber). Fiber adds bulk to the poop making it easier to pass through the digestive tract but in logic does it even make sense to make something bigger to move it through a small hole? Bulking the poop to make it easier to pass through the intestines is like adding more cars to open a traffic jam.
If lack of fiber was the root cause of constipation then there are people who eat little fiber in their diet but they rarely experience constipation or digestive issues. In fact eating large amounts of fiber causes gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort in most people.
3.Eating hard to digest foods
Foods such as whole grains, raw vegetables, raw nuts, half cooked rice and pulses, soy etc. are very difficult to digest and hard on the gut. These foods are naturally very hard and most of the people cook them improperly which decrease their digestion resulting in poor stool formation ultimately causing constipation. On top of that they also contain plant chemicals which irritate the gut.
4.Weak stomach acid
Besides chewing a strong stomach acid is very essential for proper breakdown of the food. If you have a weak stomach acid you will not be able to fully digest the food which will prevent the proper formation of stools in the intestines thereby, inducing constipation. Indigestion, gas, bloating, acidity or acid reflux are the symptoms of weak stomach acid.
How to fix constipation?
1.Reduce your fiber intake
There’s this study which demonstrate that reducing fiber intake or removing it completely can fix constipation. This study recruited 63 patients with constipation and three types of diets were given to different patients. A high fiber, A low fiber and a zero fiber diet in which they removed all the fruits, vegetables, cereals, rice, whole grain breads etc.
Those who went on a high fiber diet their symptoms of constipation such as pain, anal bleeding, gas, bloating actually worsened! Those who went on a low fiber diet showed moderate reduction in the symptoms of constipation but surprisingly majority of those who went on a zero fiber diet actually showed no symptoms of constipation! Not a single person on the zero fiber diet showed symptoms of constipation.
As already mentioned that human gut is not made to process large amounts of fiber. Take a look in the nature and you will see that animals who eat lots of fiber have a very complex digestive system as opposed to meat eaters who have a very simple digestive tract.
Ever wondered why your friends and family members eat whatever they want and experience little to no constipation? Sure they might be eating unhealthy food which will compromise their health in long term but right now we care about constipation. Then there’s you who eat a high fiber diet, take probiotics, drink a lot of water and so on but is still constipated and experience symptoms like gas and bloating.
This is because you are stressed out all the time. Stress occurs if you have experienced a stressful event in the past which you can not move on with or you stress about pointless things all the time and take unnecessary tension or you are simply stressed because of being overly active by over exercising or sitting all day in front of the screen but not indulging in any activity to improve your mood.
Stress compromises digestion and reducing it will drastically help your bowels.
How to reduce stress
- Take a magnesium supplement such as magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate. Magnesium will help you relax and calm down your nervous system so that you can get in rest and digest mode.
- Avoid drinking coffee and energy drinks. These things spike your cortisol which will increase stress in the body. A cup of coffee in the morning may be fine but avoid it completely rest of the time.
- Identify the stressful event you have experienced and try to move on with it. Divert your mind by indulging in other activities or by spending time with your closed ones.
- Stop stressing about pointless little things that do not matter or hold little to no value to you.
- A deep 7-9 hours of sleep overnight is a must. A poor sleep will certainly stress your mind and body. If you have trouble sleeping at night eat a fruit sprinkled with some salt 30-40mins before bed.
- Avoid fasting as fasting increases cortisol which will put you under stress.
- Take warm/hot showers and avoid cold ones.
- Stop over exercising or always pushing yourself in the gym. Doing this taxes the body and the nervous system and prevents you from getting in a relaxed state.
- Looking at screens and staying indoors under the artificial light all the time stresses the mind. Go and get out in nature or do some outside activity to improve your mood. If you have a desk job take little breaks outside especially during the day time.
3.Avoid hard to digest foods
Raw or partially cooked vegetables, soy, whole grains, half cooked rice and pulses are all very hard on the gut. Soy especially is loaded with plant chemicals which wrecks havoc on the digestion and intestines. Always thoroughly cook your vegetables, rice and pulses or avoid them completely. Avoid soy, soy products, whole grains and whole grain products at all cost.
Opt for something easy to digest like fully ripened fruits, boiled potatoes, bananas, raw milk, yogurt, well cooked meat etc.
4.Fix the stomach acid
Human stomach has one of the strongest stomach acid among all the animals. It is very important for proper breakdown of foo. A weak stomach acid will hinder your ability to properly digest the food. If you suffer from weak stomach acid you might experience acidity, acid reflux, gas, bloating, feeling stuffed for longer after eating food.
How to fix weak stomach acid?
- Drink 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with one cup warm water 1 hour before meals everyday.
- Increase your salt intake. Salt is the key component of stomach acid. Many people do not eat enough of it.
- Betaine hydrochloride is a supplement used to treat weak stomach acid. Start taking it before meals on a regular basis.
- Eat more protein from good quality sources like eggs, milk, meat, fish as it stimulates stomach acid.
- Stop taking ant acids. They do stop acid reflux but they do nothing to improve the stomach acidity.
- Remove fibers from the diet.
What foods are good for constipation?
It is important that you eat easy to digest foods which provides energy in easily absorbable form. You can go for boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes, bananas, papaya, mango, raisins, raw milk and it’s products such as heavy cream, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, butter etc. raw honey and maple syrup are also great, moderate amount of well cooked meat, fish, eggs and thoroughly cooked rice.
Avoid raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses, whole grains, vegetable oils, pasta, cereal, crackers, biscuits and wheat products.
Lastly chew your food properly and always eat slowly in a relaxed environment. Do not stuff yourself, eat only that much that you feel full and satiated.