Let’s Talk About Digestion:
By Dr. Lauren Quinn
You’re going to ask me about my what? A Healthy poo = a healthy you!
Although it is not often a conversation topic, I am sure many of us have experienced the dreaded discomfort associated with constipation at some point in our lives. Regular functioning bowels help eliminate unwanted waste and toxins from the body and are an integral part to our health and well-being. Normal healthy bowel movements should occur 1-3 times per day, should be medium-brown, soft but formed, and should not be associated with any straining, pain, blood, mucus, or undigested food.
The following are some tips to help get those bowels moving:
- Drink water and plenty of it! Constipation can be a sign of dehydration, so try and get 2L of water per day. Having a cup of lemon water first thing in the morning will start the day on the right foot and get the digestive juices flowing.
- Get moving! Although it is important to “rest and digest,” a lack of exercise can contribute to constipation. Can’t seem to find the time? Start with a brisk 20 minute walk 3x/week.
- Eat a well balanced, whole foods diet with lots of veggies, fruit, and whole grains. Try adding 2 tbsp of ground flax into your daily routine as it is a great source of fibre as well as essential fatty acids.
- Consider a probiotic to help replenish the GI tract with bowel-friendly bacteria. When the bad bacteria outweighs the good, it can wreak havoc on our digestive system.
- Before bed, rub some castor oil onto the tummy in a clockwise direction. Great for individuals of all ages (including infants)! Remember to wear an old shirt, as the oil can stain clothes.
- Try this Bowel Buddy Breaky: Dates, prunes, and apricots chopped up with 1 cup oatmeal, 2 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 tbsp chia seeds, a couple pinches of cinnamon and 2-3 cups of water.
Additional naturopathic therapies can be used to address the cause of the issue, as well as to help alleviate the symptoms associated with constipation. These include, but are not limited to nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, and acupuncture. Constipation can sometimes be associated with other conditions, so it is important to have a thorough work up done by your health care provider.
Dr. Lauren Quinn is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine currently working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario. For more information please contact Dr. Quinn at 905-853-7900 or [email protected]