World Toilet Day is a United Nations (UN) observance, on November 19, that highlights a serious problem – 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation. About 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.
So my mission with this article is to help as many people as possible to stop being so full of shit. No really thats my intent. Why? Because I am a Global Citizen who gives a fuck about global impact.
Well apart from that, us Indians think we have the best solution when it comes to sorting out a backed up problem. Yes I am talking about that home remedy we all had to endure as children.
I think it should be a swear word now for us. That thick oil substance that was shoved into our mouths and followed by a generous serving of sugar or honey to mask the taste barely helps.
This is the equivalent of adults having their tequila shooter and the lemon. Come to think of it both the castor oil and the tequila give you the same outcome. Sheer embarassment.
One out the ass and the other through your mouth with the feeling you will pass out in both instances.
Constipation is a shitty experience for many people: tense mornings, bloating, unease and the other despicable act is diarrhoea.
The unease and bloating associated with it, a clean colon also means more good nutrients and less baddies in our blood, so everything works better – from digestion to glowing skin.
But first the culprits: low fibre and water in the diet, lack of physical activity, overuse of medications (antacids are a common culprit, as they may cause the entire digestive system to back up, precipitating a vicious cycle that features heartburn and indigestion).
Laxative abuse – these are habit-forming to the point where you need more and more until they simply stop working, sudden lifestyle changes (travel, different work shift), ignoring the urge when it does strike (your body is soon trained to ignore it every time), and medical issues like blockage of the bowel due to a hernia or some growth, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), low levels of thyroid hormones and depression.
Mostly though, it can be sorted out by simple food and lifestyle changes.
Here are seven simple steps:
1. Fibre is the word
We need upwards of 30-35gm a day. Minus this there is no bulk. It’s that simple! And while you are at it, get the right kind; insoluble fibre (also known as roughage) increases feeling of fullness, stool size and bulk, and thus helps reduce constipation. Shun refined foods and zero in on whole foods, and consciously include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
If you want to know specific foods that work, my top three top picks are: okra(besides constipation-fighting insoluble fiber, it is also loaded with vitamin B6 and folate, both of which help), prunes (packed with natural laxatives sorbitol and dihydrophenylisatin) and amla (stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and thus has a positive effect on digestion).
2. Pair right
If you are a die hard non-vegetarian, make sure you balance meats, fish, eggs and cheese (which have no fibre) with a hefty helping of vegetable or fruit (palak gosht anyone?). And also remember, it takes more water to digest protein, so drink up. Plus pairing carbohydrates with protein helps hold that water in the intestines, otherwise digestion might slow down resulting in err… hard stools.
3. Glug more
For most people just this one step is sufficient – consciously increasing the amount of water they drink can help ease up. Warm water is a good idea too, as hot drinks in general help stimulate the digestive system. Warm milk may also help some people due to its stimulating temperature as well as relaxing effect (it helps release the soothing hormone serotonin in the body, which can help if stress is what slows your digestion down).
4. Cut stress
It actually works both ways. Not only can constipation cause stress, stress can mess you up too! That’s because of the fight-or-flight mechanism triggered by stress hormones that draw blood away from the digestive system to power the heart, lungs and limbs instead – which slows down your innards. So instead of rushing to go first thing in the morning, linger over your tea, meditate a bit, or relax with some music. Slow down… and then go sit on the throne.
5. Get some good bugs in
Yoghurt and probiotics, both give a mega dose of digestion-aiding bacteria, and that’s a good thing as these bugs get working on the dietary fibre you eat to produce bulk and thus keep the digestive system humming.
6. Move your body
It helps move your bowels too. Yes, the daily morning walk does help, probably because the slight jostling is a bit like a massage! Also every morning, before you get out of bed, rub your tummy with your fist clockwise – gently, and not too hard, but make an impression for just about 10 seconds. Helps most people!
7. Common sense
Finally that old common rule: eating a heavy meal just before sleeping is asking for constipation the next morning. Rich meal and sleep together slows down digestion leading to unease next morning. So you choose!
Sorting out constipation ain’t that tough, as long as you cover the basics first instead of running after specialised treatments (medications, supplements etc).
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