During these days of quarantine, Marcelino has dedicated himself to organizing his new tapas venture at home. Vanessa is happy because she spends the day with her granddaughter and uses the time to make her some pretty dresses. Ricardo lives alone and is not having a great time being isolated, but fortunately he enjoys ordering takeout and watching series.
This new forced lifestyle has changed the way we carry out our day by day. Our schedules have changed, we have bought a barbaric amount of non-perishable food and snacks – and the eventual bottle of wine. Time has become abstract and sometimes we don’t even know what day it is until someone reminds us. We live on a never-ending Sunday.
But there is something in this lifestyle that, just like Marcelino, Vanessa and Ricardo, may be affecting you without noticing: you could be suffering from constipation.
When was the last time you used the restroom?
The lack of fresh products in your diet such as fruits and vegetables, the decrease in physical activity, an irregular routine and stress come together and create a cocktail that will not only make your visits to the bathroom less frequent, they could also make them a quite painful experience. (source: https://www.healthline.com/health/constipation#signs).
At Nature’s Discount we want to share with you 5 easy tips that will help you improve your health and avoid constipation during this quarantine:
1 Increase your fiber dose
When we talk about fiber, we are referring to the edible parts of plants or carbohydrates that resist the process of digestion and absorption in the small intestine, and which are then fermented together with other components in the large intestine.
We can find fiber in fruits (such as pears, apples, berries, oranges, and tangerines), vegetables (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, and potatoes), legumes (beans, lentils, peas), grains (whole-grain bread, brown rice, bran, oats), nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts). There is even a form of fiber called chitin that is present in the shells of shellfish such as crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.
High fiber foods increase the frequency of your bowel movements, contribute to increased gastrointestinal motility, and may even help increase the size of your stool (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fiber-and-constipation-truth).
The role of fiber in intestinal motility is like sweeping a broom around your house, only that you do it from the moment food enters your mouth until it leaves your body… What happens if you do it incorrectly, or if you just stop doing it?
Soluble fiber helps you absorb nutrients from food, and makes the texture of your stool more suitable for an easy passage through the intestines. The insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, allowing it to pass more quickly through the intestine, thus avoiding the feeling of constipation.
Adding fiber to your diet will not only improve your bowel movements and help you go to the restroom with a more adequate frequency, it will also make it a more pleasant experience.
2 Resume healthy eating habits
Starting or resuming some healthy eating habits and including high fiber foods in your diet can help you support your gastrointestinal movements and decrease symptoms of constipation (https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-constipation/foods-and-recipes).
Including healthy fats in your diet – and avoiding processed fats like the one on fast food and snacks – will increase the strength of your gut contractions, which will help your colon during bowel movements.
Healthy fats include foods like avocado, coconut, olive oil, assorted nuts, chia seeds, and fish like sardines and salmon. But be careful! Too much fat can worsen your constipation, so include balanced portions in your meals.
Some specialists recommend intermittent fasting with gaps of about 16 hours between the last meal of the day and breakfast the next day to restore the intestine and give it a rest. But this should be taken carefully, consult a specialist to make sure this is a good option for you.
Eating a hearty breakfast and pairing it with coffee or caffeinated tea can also help you start gut contractions that will help your colon.
When was the last time you drank water? In the absence of liquids, your body reabsorbs them from the large intestine, which makes your stool dry and its passage through the intestine and out more difficult and painful. Drinking water several times a day keeps you hydrated in more ways than you imagine.
As you can see, eating habits that you had in your day to day and that you may not be following right now can affect the way your body processes and discards food. (Source: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/constipation-what-not-to-do#1)
3 Supplement your diet with probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that are found lodged in our intestines and that are found naturally in foods such as yogurt, olives and pickles, raw cheese, sourdough bread, sauerkraut and kimchi.
The supplements that contain these microorganisms contribute to maintaining and re-establishing the gut flora in your body, and they are part of treatments for conditions such as constipation.
A supplement with at least 50 billion colony forming units (CFUs) will help regulate your digestion and build a healthier gut microbiome.
4 Maintain a life rhythm similar to the one you had
The idea of spending an entire day watching TV and listening to music from bed sounds tempting, right? And not to mention spending hours talking with friends and family in WhatsApp groups now that we finally have the time … It is like the call of mermaids.
But there are some aspects of your daily routine that you may not know are related to good gastrointestinal mobility.
First of all, move! Keeping in motion stimulates intestinal motility and also slows down the process of reabsorbing water in the stool from the large intestine.
Organize tours to the living room and kitchen, organize the books you have pending in the library, start checking what you had in that closet. Doing some cardio is ideal, but if exercising is not your thing, you already see that there are some ways to keep you moving.
Also, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, so be careful with those constant night owl soirées.
The circadian cycle goes beyond the cycle and the hours of sleep. If you start waking up at different times, you may confuse your body and it will not be clear on when it is time to fulfill its needs since for many of us this gets done as soon as we wake up.
And speaking of maintaining regular routines and schedules, try to keep a regular schedule to go to the bathroom so your body gets used to it and knows when the time comes to take a deep.
5 Try to stay calm
It is more difficult than it sounds, we know that very well. But your emotional state can influence your bowel movements (source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection).
In preparation for a major event, even at low-stress levels your body slows down bowel movements, which may cause constipation. You may think of stress as just a state of mind, but your body and intestines can feel it too and respond that way.
In addition to the eating tips and habits you’ve read so far, avoiding saturating yourself with information and limiting social media access can help you clear your mind, have better ideas, and feel calm for longer.
Constipation during quarantine is for sure not a hot topic among groups of friends and family, but it is a situation that someone you know, or even you, may be going through.
And if simply talking about it is not pleasant, imagine having to walk through that path.
With these 5 easy tips you will have more balanced bowel movements, and obtain the necessary amount of nutrients for your stool to have the ideal consistency for a trip out of your body without any problems. At Nature’s Discount we join you in the journey for a healthier life.