Fall brings colder, crisper weather along with cravings for rich and comforting meals. Pair that with the desire to cozy up indoors instead of being active, and this can create the perfect backdrop for constipation.
It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Talking about poop is normal for dietitians like me, doctors and pharmacists, so don't be afraid to bring it up. My great grandma used to ask me every time I saw her, "Did you have a bowel movement today?" It was her way of finding out what was going on with my health. Trust your gut on this one - constipation is a sign that you need to take action.
First things first: how do you know if you're constipated? If you aren't going "number 2" at least three times a week or if your bowel movements are difficult to pass, you're dealing with constipation. You're not the only one: 1 in 4 Canadians of all ages experience symptoms of constipation.i Many are stuck feeling uncomfortable because they aren't sure what to do about it.
Here are some tips to help relieve constipation that you can try now.
Tips to help you get regular
1. Focus on fibre
Fibre is the roughage in foods that come from plants. It adds bulk to your bowel movements so they can pass through more easily. Aim to get 20 to 30 grams of fibre every day.
- Ensure that vegetables and fruits take up half of your plate at every meal and include them in your snacks.
- Keep the skins on produce such as sweet potatoes, apples and carrots for even more fibre and nutrients.
- Incorporate fibre-rich foods such as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa and steel cut oats) legumes (chickpeas and lentils) and seeds (chia and flax) into your meals and snacks.
- Include foods rich in soluble fibre, a special type of fibre that forms a gel and makes your bowel movements soft and easier to pass. Great sources include apples, pears, oranges, barley, oats and beans.
2. Feature fluids
If you're following tip #1 and increasing your fibre intake, it's even more important that you drink plenty of water. Aim for 8-10 glasses a day, and opt for water rather than beverages loaded with sugar or caffeine.
3. Feed your good bacteria
Probiotics are good bacteria that support healthy digestion.iv Foods that are rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha. Along with taking in the good bacteria, eat foods that will help them flourish; in other words, foods rich in prebiotics. Garlic, onions, whole grain bread and bananas are good sources.
4. Get into a healthy routine
Your body craves a regular, healthy routine. Making sure your eating habits, activities and sleep schedule are consistent can help your bowel movements fall in line as well.v Try to have your meals and snacks at set times throughout the day and wake up and go to bed at consistent times. Relieve stress with regular exercise, yoga and meditation to boost digestive health and wellness.
5. Trust your gut
Just like you should trust your gut feelings (mom was right), tune into what your gut is physically telling you. When you feel the urge to go number 2, don't put it off until later. The longer you let the poop hang out in your rectum, the more dried out it gets. Answer the call of nature so your body learns you'll respond to its natural urges.
6. Try a dependable laxative
If you've tried the tips above and are still dealing with constipation, you may need help to get things moving. Dulcolax® Laxative tablets can provide dependable, effective overnight relief of occasional constipation to get back to your regular self. Then, you can turn your attention to things that really matter, like planning your next dinner party!
For more information, visit dulcolax.ca to be sure this product is right for you. Always read and follow the label when it comes to over the counter products or speak to your doctor/pharmacist for more information.