5 Things to do for Constipation
ByJoanne Aponte, ND •February 18, 2023
1. Drink more water – It is not uncommon for me to hear, “I know I need to drink more water, but I don’t!” Staying well hydrated and drinking enough water is the #1 most important thing to do if you tend towards constipation. Prioritize this! The goal is 1/2 your body weight in ounces, so if you weigh 120lbs, drink 60 ounces of water. When you exercise and sweat you will need an additional 8 ounces. For those who are prone to constipation, your might need more along the lines of 80 ounces per day. To reach your water goals for the day, I recommend drinking 16-24 ounces of water with lemon in the morning before breakfast.
2. Eat more fiber and veggies – Increasing fiber is the most curative and health promoting way to address constipation. Fiber feeds a rich and diverse gut microbiome, and having a healthy gut microbiome is a key factor in our overall health. Aim for 40-50 grams of fiber per day.
- Eat 2-3 cups of Green leafy vegetables daily – spinach, collards, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, parsley, arugula.
- Eat more Kiwi – in this study 2 Kiwi fruits per day sped up bowel transit time and lead to better elimination.
- Consume 2 tbsp of ground flax and chia seeds daily – add to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt and baked goods.
- Include Oat bran – add this to smoothies, hot breakfast cereals and baked goods.
3. Exercise and move more – daily movement and exercise gets the blood flowing in the abdomen and helps with elimination. If you are sitting most of the day, the blood flow in the abdomen becomes very stagnant and the bowls slow down. Make sure you are moving daily. A 30 minutes brisk walk daily is excellent. Abdominal exercises like sit ups and planks are also helpful.
4. Take a prebiotic fiber powder – prebiotic fibers promote growth of a variety of beneficial gut bacteria. If you struggle with constipation it may because you are lacking the right types of bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics such as Acacia gum, PHGG (partially hydrolyzed guar gum), FOS, glucommanan and psyllium are good options. Taking a combination of these prebiotics is best.
5. Take Magnesium – constipation can be a sign of low magnesium. Taking 200-600mg of magnesium citrate late evening or near bedtime or is a great option for a non-habit forming gentle laxative.
If these things do not help your constipation OR if increasing fiber actually makes you worse. There is likely an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. Click here to learn more about what might be causing YOUR constipation.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.