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Condition - Constipation

By Nutri People

Constipation occurs when waste material moves too slowly through the colon, causing infrequent bowel movements, often with straining.  It causes discomfort, can lead to haemorrhoids and may result in headache, skin eruptions and illness, as toxins may be reabsorbed from the colon.  The transit time, which is the time taken for food to travel from the mouth to the rectum, is an important factor. A healthy transit time is 12 –18 hours but for those having a western diet the time is usually 24-72 hours. 

Contributing factors

  • Inadequate intake of water
  • Lack of fibre in the diet
  • Poor diet including over consumption of sugary and refined/processed foods
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging, and travel
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement

Useful supplements

  • Vitamin C– can help to loosen bowels without diarrhoea
  • Cold-milled flax seeds and flax seed oil– provides lubrication and fibre
  • Magnesium– a natural muscle relaxant – can help peristaltic movement
  • Aloe Vera– can gently help stimulate bowel movements and detoxify the colon.
  • Probiotic bacteria–helps balance gut flora and normalise bowel function
  • Chlorella – helps to cleanse the bowel.

Dietary advice

  • Increase fibrous foods such as fruit, vegetables – at least 5 servings a day
  • Increase wholegrains such as brown rice, oats and quinoa.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white flour products - bread, rolls, croissants, pasta, processed cereals, cakes and pastries. 
  • Eat beans and pulses sometimes instead of meat. These are good vegetarian source of protein as well as fibre.
  • Ensure adequate intake of liquidse.g. 1-2 litres of water per day plus herbal teas.
  • Avoid tea and coffee, which can be dehydrating.
  • Use food rich in essential fatty acids such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and healthy oils such as cold pressed flax and hemp seed oil.
  • Eat slowly. Chew food well as this stimulates the enzymes that aid digestion. 


Take regular exercise,for at least 20 minutes 3 times a week This helps to keep the muscles in the digestive tract firm and toned to maintain good peristalsis. 

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