Constipation

Constipation is a condition with passing hard stools and uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements. In most cases, simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can help relieve symptoms and manage constipation. Consider one or more of the following:

Intake enough fluid:  Drink plenty of water to help soften and move the bowels.  Ideally,  drink 8 glasses (64 OZ) of water a day, start with 2~3 glasses on an empty stomach in the morning, which promotes the gastro-colic reflex, stimulates the gastrointestinal motion, increases intestinal contractions and urges defecation.

Eat a high-fiber diet: the Mayo clinic suggests taking fiber at least 20 to 35 grams daily to help form soft and bulky stools.  High-fiber foods include beans, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables .  Avoid processed foods that have little to no fiber.

To keep the digestive tract healthy and functioning, the body needs two types of fiber: 1) the soluble fiber lubricates the colon and helps drain waste, 2) the insoluble fiber provides bulk and moves food quickly through the digestive tract.  The 4 Foods below contain both fibers that work well for a bowel movement:

Eat 8 oz of cherries daily, normally you will have a bowel movement 2-4 hours after, which will help clean the digestive system.

Eat an apple or orange before each meal to help with elimination and weight control. These fruits are rich in fiber and will make you feel fuller.

Yam or sweet potato: eat 8 oz of yams every day. If you drink enough water, you should have soft bowel movements 2 or 3 times a day after eating them.

In the evening, if you eat one or more of the high fiber foods listed below right after drink 1 cup of water.  The next morning, drink 1or 2 cups of water on an empty stomach, wait 10 to 15 minutes before breakfast, you should have a bowel movement soon after.

Dried fruits: eat 5 dried plums or 10 dried apricots.

Nuts: Eat ¼ cup of almonds or ½ cup of boiled peanuts (the fungal contamination is removed by boiling)

Fresh vegetables: eat 1 cup of raw Jicama, Daikon radish or Carrots.

Ping’s green drink is a natural colon cleanse. The basic ingredients are asparagus, broccoli, celery, kale and lemon. Blend with 8 oz or more of water (see healthyping.com for details). This drink contains both fibers to help have normal stools 2 or 3 times a day. The drink helps with digestion and detoxification.

Natto is a Japanese food eaten daily and made from fermented soybeans. It contains dietary fiber and bacillus that are good bacteria to balance the intestinal flora and help with gastrointestinal function. Taking Natto 50 to 100 grams daily is good for general health, digestion and elimination.

Probiotics are friendly or good bacteria that normally exist in the digestive tract. Without good bacteria, the bad bacteria and yeast overgrow which causes bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive issues. Taking probiotics as a daily supplement benefits colon health.

In the morning, on an empty stomach you can try one of the suggestions (a-e) listed below. Then right after drink 2 cups of water. Wait 10 to15 minutes before having breakfast, shortly after you should have a bowel movement.

a) Fresh lemon juice: mix 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with 1 cup of water.

b) Apple cider vinegar water: mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup of water.

c) Vitamin C: take 500mg.

d) Green tea: drink 1 to 3 cups of cold green tea. If you drink 3 cups of tea, then 2 cups of water after is not necessary.

The above ingredients (a-d) are natural stimulants to increase gastrointestinal rhythmic contractions.

e) Pure honey is a natural lubricant to move the stools through the colon more easily. Take one tablespoon of pure honey.

In the evening, take magnesium 400 mg with 1 cup of water. Magnesium supplement is a natural laxative which draws water into the colon to lubricate the stools. It also helps your bones and with sleep.

Daily exercise: walking, swimming, Tai Chi and Pilates help with bowel movements. Exercising 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day is recommended.

Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement: The longer you delay, the more water will be absorbed from the stool and the harder a bowel movement becomes.

Keep caffeine to a minimum: Caffeine is a diuretic drawing fluid from the colon and leaving the stools hard. Except for green tea it does have caffeine, but also is a stimulant that won’t cause constipation.

Caution: if you don’t drink enough water or other fluids every day, taking fiber supplements it will worsen constipation (by Mayo clinic). These over-the-counter laxatives should be considered as a last resort as they can become habit-forming.

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