On-going constipation is a common problem today and can be a large burden the liver, gallbladder and other digestive organs. Constipation is a manifestation of the ecosystem of the digestive tract being out of balance.
Our digestive tract has approximately 500 different species of microorganisms living there as a balanced eco system, this is an area of science and medicine that we don’t know much about and need much much more research done. We know a lot about only 10% of these microorganisms and more and more we are discovering that they are extremely important for a healthy body and a healthy immune system.
CauseFor many reasons today this ecosystem goes out of balance, be it environmental, emotional, medication, diet and nutrition etc. Because of this many mild and severe digestive conditions develop of which constipation is one. The key to reversing constipation is to bring balance back into the eco system of microorganisms that live in the gut and then, in time retraining the bowel muscle to contract and behave to a consistent regular pattern. To achieve this diet and foods are very important.
Fermented foods and Probiotics
Probiotics are the beneficial intestinal flora, found naturally in fermented foods. Unfortunately fermented foods have largely reduced in our diet today, mainly due to the invention of the fridge and the demand for convenience. In all traditional cultures fermented foods were used very prevalently. Fermentation was a way to naturally preserve a food to use on an on-going basis or during the winter when fresh produce was scarcer. With the advent of refrigeration fermentation was seen as no longer necessary and has become less common, and in a way had gone out with the ass-and-cart. However, we know now from recent science that there is a lot more to fermented foods than just preservation, they are abundant in probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are vital to the proper functioning of the digestive tract and the body in general. Probiotics are rooted in all listed digestive diseases and play a role in many general chronic diseases today. Prebiotics are what probiotics eat when they are in the gut, its like their food source and is important. There are hundreds of strains of probiotics, the more popular ones are being made in supplemental form containing Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These supplements are very helpful in the treatment of constipation but we really need the full complement of probiotic strains and fermented and cultured foods are the best source. These include, natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, unpasteurized milk , unpasteurized cheese, Miso, kimchee, kombucha, , sour pickles, properly made sourdough bread, cream freshe. Its important to consume in raw, unpasteurized form as heating it kills the beneficial microorganisms. Eat only foods that spoil, but eat them before they do.
Prebiotics and fiber
Prebiotics are important for the nourishing and survival of beneficial microorganisms in our digestive tract. They can be found in all vegetables and most fruits and exist in dairy foods and fibrous foods also. Fiber is important to give bulk to the stool and as a prebiotic. It’s a common mistake to immediately think of cereals and breads when you consider a fiber source. With the exception of whole oats porridge, every other cereal (bik, flake, shred, crisp, pop, bite size etc) are all heavily processed and nutrient devoid foods and should be avoided. You best source of soluble and insoluble fiber is from nuts, beans, peas, seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits
Coeliac disease and Gluten sensitivity are very common in Ireland and is associated with constipation. Ask you GP to test for gluten sensitivity (it’s a simple blood test for the presence of anti-gliadin antibody). If positive omit gluten from diet. Other food allergies to yeasts etc can cause constipation also
Herbal MedicineThere are very effective and safe non dependant herbs to treat chronic constipation until the fix is brought about by dietary changes. Contact the clinic 0719142940 for advice on same
Make sure your well hydrated with 2-3 pints of pure water daily and avoid a diet high in sugars and alcohol and processed grains, as these will feed that pathogenic (bad) microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and can cause constipation. Regular physical exercise is important.