According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) about four million American suffer from constipation. The NIH defines irregularity as having fewer than three bowel movements per seven days. Some people may have that many in a day, others in a month. The NIH estimate Americans also spend about $75 million a year on laxatives to relieve constipation.
You do not have to resort to using over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives that can become a habit. Instead, fine tune your diet, exercise and develop a stress management plan that is realistic to stay regular.
Get at Least 25 Grams of Dietary Fiber Daily
Consume about 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber a day, as the NIH recommends, to promote regular bowel movements.
Both soluble fiber such as found in whole grains such as millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and insoluble fiber such as the fibrous ribs found in celery or Swiss chard will provide the kind of roughage to help you keep your gastrointestinal tract clear. Eating fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, nuts, hot-air popped popcorn or plain rice cakes all provide similar dietary fiber.
Drink Hot Water with Lemon Juice and Herbal Teas to Detox
Begin each day with a cup of boiling water poured over half a lemon. Drinking this will help prompt peristalsis, the action that precedes colon detoxification. If possible, make this routine so that your body adapts to a regular schedule. It may only take a week or two to establish regular detoxification habits this way.
Also sip herbal teas known to help the colon cleanse: senna, cascara sagrada and buckthorn. These are not habit-forming and generally drinking one cup a day (or at night before sleeping) will bring relief within six to 12 hours.
Consume Pysllium and Ground Flax Seed to Stay Regular
Regularly add psyllium seed and ground flax seeds to your food to add bulk fiber to clear the bowels. This can be done easily: sprinkle a tablespoon of either over cold cereal, oatmeal or add to granola. Both psyllium and ground flax seeds can be added to almost any quick bread, cookie, muffin, pancake or waffle recipe. Generally, add one tablespoon to each cup of flour. This kind of dietary fiber will help form soft stool that promotes regularity.