Maintaining Good Digestive Health

Constipation seems to be something that people keep to themselves, unlike the common cold which we are all comfortable talking with our friend’s about - ‘I was up all night, nose running, hacking cough and fever…it was terrible’. However, constipation does not seem to be much of a conversation starter “I have not pooped in four days” doesn’t really cut the mustard as good lunchroom conversation.

Yet, Americans spend nearly $1 billion dollars every year on laxatives as a short-term solution to constipation, which will only compound the problem not to mention wreak havoc on the body, so perhaps it is time for a poop conversation.

Poor digestive health often leads to lack of regular bowel motions and can also seriously impact on your overall health –constipation, fatigue, food cravings, headaches, bloating, gas, acid reflux, diarrhea, nausea, poor appetite, poor skin condition and weight gain are all symptoms of weakened digestive health.

We are hoping if you can relate to any of the above we have your attention - now let’s get you pooping like a champion…

Bacteria is necessary

Cultivating the beneficial bacteria required to sustain good digestive health is simple, but ongoing.  You feed the good bugs.  Intestinal bacteria need to eat.

Prebiotics are primarily found in high-fiber foods including kiwifruit, onions, leeks, garlic. For optimum results, and to tilt the balance towards good bugs, they need to be eaten raw and often.

Putting it simply the beneficial bacteria will be increased and strengthened by either eating the above food raw and often, or incorporating a high quality prebiotic supplement into your daily diet.  Your good bacteria cannot flourish without prebiotics, which are perfect for daily consumption.

A common misconception is to turn to probiotics – after all, that means increasing the number of good bugs right?  Not quite, as taking probiotics daily may cause our bodies to become lazy and reliant, instead of taking care of itself.  Probiotics are great after a bout of antibiotics, to replenish the good bugs; but the best way to take care of our digestive system long term is with prebiotics

You will need

  • 1-2 Kiwi-Klenz supplements daily 

Get Moving…

Moving is soothing because if you move it you may well lose it! Our lifestyles seem to involve sitting much more than being active. Simply getting up and moving can help constipation. A regular walking regimen - even 10 to 15 minutes twice a day can help the body and digestive system function optimally. If you are already fit, you might opt for aerobic exercise: running or swimming. Certain Yoga positions are said to alleviate constipation as well, because Yoga increases the flow of blood and oxygen in the system. Since most of the yoga postures involve pelvic movement, yoga practice can really help in relieving constipation woes.

The Yoga position Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist Pose) stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, and ascending and descending colons; hence improving bowel movements and providing relief from constipation.

You will need

  • A yoga mat
  • Time 

Bottoms up

One of the best things you can do for good digestive health AND regularity is drinking 1 – 2 large glasses of lukewarm water IMMEDIATELY upon waking each morning. If you suffer from digestive problems such as bloating, intestinal gas and heartburn add some fresh lemon to the water, but don’t let lack of fresh lemon be the deal breaker, lukewarm water on it’s own will do the trick.

You will need

  • 1-2 large glasses lukewarm water
  • 1 fresh lemon (if required)

Sweet Beverages

Liquids are important for anyone who suffers from constipation because water in the bowel gets absorbed by the stool, making it easier to pass. However, avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol. These are diuretics, substances that pull more water out of your body than they provide. The best fluid is water, but if you must have sweet beverages, choose decaf coffee or herbal teas. Herbal teas are available in most grocery stores and most of them contain no caffeine at all - which accounts in part for their mellow, soothing personality –a beautiful thing in today’s hectic, high-pressure world.

Try these blends

  • Cranberry Apple Zinger Herbal Tea
  • Forest Delights
  • Peppermint
  • Green Tea
  • Lemon Zinger

Think about what you eat

An overall healthy diet just improves everything; our bodies know how to process fruits, vegetables, grains and roughage more than artificial foods or over processed and refined foods.  Beans have more than 10 grams of fiber per cup serving - that’s more than almost any other fiber source. Beans have a great mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps the food keep moving through your intestines.

Take your pick

Beans - baked beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans. Add any of these to salads, soups, casseroles, or pasta.

Also include foods like this in your diet - kale, broccoli, pears, apples, kiwifruit, grains and nuts. Don’t forget the prunes and prune juice - super high in fiber.

Additionally, the before mentioned Kiwi-Klenz is packed with soluble fiber.

You will need

  • Fast food is not poops friend so plan ahead – write a list of poop friendly foods to include in your shopping.
  • 1-2 Kiwi-Klenz caspsules daily 

Oil up

The good oil that is! There was a time when moms gave their kids a spoonful of castor oil to ward off anything ailing them. The bad taste made the remedy an unpopular one; just the thought of that teaspoon of foul smelling stuff will get many a baby boomer gagging! Consuming most types of oils can help get the ball rolling in the bathroom since oils act as natural lubricants. Omega-3 fish oil, however, provides added benefits. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fish oil help reduce inflammation in the intestines and colon while the fish oil itself works as a great lubricant for smooth and gentle elimination.

You will need

  • 2 Omega-3 oil capsules daily

When nature calls –take the call

If you need to go to the bathroom, GO! Your body is telling you for a reason, and it’s a good idea to listen! Why? The longer you hold on, the more water is absorbed from the stool, and the harder it becomes, ouch. But it’s not just that, your body only sends the signal to go to the bathroom for a certain amount of time. That is why if you really have to go, after a while you stop feeling like you have to go, you might think you have dodged a bullet in the work place bathroom, but the reality is your body might not give you the heads up to go again until you are even more bunged up… double ouch.

You will need

  • A bathroom
  • Air freshener!

When it comes to overall wellness, maintaining your digestive health is just as important as maintaining the health of the rest of your body, in fact some would argue it is more important. Start making simple, proactive changes to your diet and lifestyle that can benefit your digestive system now, and all throughout your entire life.

But if you’re not convinced think about this - laxatives might interfere with your body's absorption of some medications and nutrients. Some laxatives can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, especially after prolonged use. Electrolytes - which include calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sodium - regulate a number of body functions.

However see your doctor if you have been constipated for three days or more.