Feeling clogged up?
If you’re over the discomfort that comes with constipation, here are three healthy ways it can be alleviated - so you can get back to feeling like your energised self. By Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine.
A plant-based nutrient, there are two kinds of fibre – soluble and insoluble, which can both help get things moving along nicely.
Inherent to plant cells, soluble fibre attracts water and can help alleviate constipation by increasing transit time - the time it takes for the food you eat to pass through the other end. Oats, legumes, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds are all good sources. Psyllium husk, a popular fibre supplement (derived from psyllium seed) contains a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibre.
This is what makes up the structure of plant walls. It’s also your indigestible fibre, which helps add bulk and form to the stool, making for a more comfortable bowel movement. Bran (like wheat bran or rice bran if you’re gluten free), whole grains (like whole wheat, brown rice and quinoa) and fruit and vegetable skins (e.g. from sweet potatoes and tomatoes) are all rich in the stuff.
Another reason we love fibre: it serves as food (a ‘prebiotic’) for good gut bacteria (probiotics). Whole grains are especially rich in prebiotics, undergoing fermentation by gut bacteria and creating an environment that encourages certain beneficial probiotic strains to flourish.
Some ways to increase fibre in your diet:
Eating bran for breakfast everyday but still constipated?
The issue might be that you’re not drinking enough water. Water and fibre work together to get things moving along your digestive tract and to add bulk to your stool. If there’s not enough water to push it along, dietary fibre can actually clog you up further and leave you feeling bloated, gassy and lethargic.
If you have something like a tablespoon of chia, bran or psyllium husk in your smoothie or cereal for breakfast, following it with a glass or two of water can make a big difference.
Ever notice that nature calls as soon as you’ve finished (or sometimes during) your workout? Movement encourages peristalsis – the contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the digestive tract, which helps to propel food matter along.
Whether it’s a power walk, run, gym or pilates class, see if incorporating regular exercise into your routine on most days of the week makes a difference to your bowel habits.
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