In today’s video we’re talking about everyone’s favorite topic POOP! Specifically, the type of poop that either doesn’t happen often enough or you have to strain to get out or just never leaves you satisfied….It’s Constipation.
My definition of constipation is when you don’t have at least one daily bowel movement that makes you feel like you’ve cleaned yourself out. I find that many people only poop every few days but that’s been their pattern for so long that they think it’s normal. Pooping less than 1x a day is NOT normal. Even 2-3 poops can be great. Also we don’t want tiny little pellets…we want a log.
So If you find yourself constipated what should you do? Here are the 4 keys we need for making healthy regular bowel movements.
Fiber – Most people do really well ingesting 35-40 grams of fiber per day. Fiber creates the bulk that makes poop healthy. Fiber helps to bind fats and cholesterol, fiber helps to stimulate your digestive tract to move. So if you aren’t eating enough fiber you may be having trouble forming a proper stool. How to go about getting more fiber? Google the words FIBER CHART. You will get a bunch of websites that give you a huge list of foods and their fiber content. Simply think about what you eat in an average day and count up your average daily fiber intake. If you are way low in fiber please don’t start adding a lot of fiber quickly. Add a little bit more each day until you have a healthy bowel movement.
Water – Fiber didn’t do the trick? Let’s talk about water. If you aren’t drinking enough water you also may get constipated. How much do you need? Everyone is different but a great place to start is a goal of half your weight in ounces each day. Remember, that’s a starting goal–some people hold water better than others and need less and others need a lot more. The best thing to do is experiment and see if it has any effect on you poop.
Magnesium – The magic mineral when it comes to constipation. It’s very rare that I speak with a patient that is already getting enough magnesium in their diet. One of the best sources of magnesium from foods is eating leafy green veggies like broccoli and kale. A good amount of magnesium for us to ingest each day is 400mg. Each serving of leafy greens has about 25-50 mg. Do you see why most people don’t get enough? We need more leafy greens in our diet. You can use magnesium supplements to make up for the rest. Try taking 100mg of magnesium glycinate before bed. If you have a great healthy bowel movement in the am, great. If not, you can increase the dose. Be careful because taking too much magnesium can cause loose stool. You should always consult a healthcare practitioner before taking high doses of supplements.
Probiotics – These are the friendly microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. Yes we have microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. If you don’t have enough of these bugs or the right type of these bugs you may have issues with your poop. We need these microorganisms to break down the fiber we just ate. Humans cannot digest fiber. When we eat fiber we are basically eating it so the microbes in our gut have some food to eat. These microbes in turn perform a lot of jobs for us, one being making our stool healthy. The right probiotic for you is another topic altogether. There is some testing I talk about in the video but there is also some experimenting that you have to do unless you work with a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Wait…what about Miralax? Miralax is a medicine prescribed for the treatment of constipation. Personally, I can’t understand why. The four suggestions I mention here should be tried first (outside of a known medical condition which would preclude their use, of course). Miralax may actually help to relieve constipation BUT it is NOT something the body needs. The first four things to think about when you have constipation are all things the body needs, so why wouldn’t we try them first? Also if they don’t help there are many more questions that pop into my head. I would always want to figure out WHY the constipation is there rather than merely treat the symptom.