By Naini Setalvad
Constipation is not just a common problem, it is also very trying. Naini Setalvad offers a variety of measures to resolve it.
Constipation is a problem not everyone feels comfortable to discuss. Therefore, those who experience it suffer in silence. There are several types of constipation, mostly characterized by difficulty in passing motion. Either the stool is painful, or too little or too hard. Constipation results from the accumulation of faeces in the large intestine. The longer they remain, the more water is extracted and the harder they become. This accumulation may be caused by a reduction in the rhythmic bowel contractions that normally push food through the system or by a bowel obstruction.
Constipation means there is waste that is still present in your body. It results in a host of other diseases. Acne, dull skin, flatulence, gas and even hair fall can be a possible result. Constipation can be associated with pregnancy, an under active thyroid gland, irritable bowel syndrome and depression, as well as the use of painkillers and a diet that is low in fibre. In children, it may be caused by emotional disorders. The elderly are more prone to constipation because they tend to eat smaller quantities of less bulky foods, and exercise less.
Symptoms of constipation include pain on defecation and a feeling that the bowel has not been completely emptied. Persistent constipation in older people may indicate a growth in the large bowel, especially if this is accompanied by pain and bleeding. In the case of children, it may be due to a congenital malformation of the bowel. Sudden constipation together with pain and distension of the abdomen indicates an obstruction in the bowel, and requires emergency treatment.
All constipation benefits from an increased intake of fibre and fluids. Laxatives may also provide occasional relief although they should not be used regularly. There are three types:
In most cases, constipation is largely a result of eating a diet that includes a lot of refined and processed foods and relatively small amounts of fibre and water. The solution is to streamline your diet. In addition to curing your constipation, good dietary measures increase your iron content, lower your blood pressure, and act as powerful antioxidants, thus being excellent for your hair, skin, eyes and immunity. Most of these foods are also low in the glycemic index, thus being diabetes-friendly.
It is important to include at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises and pranayama to help combat constipation. This activates your digestive system and regulates it as well. Incorporate these simple measures and you will not face the problem of constipation again.
The recipe below will help prevent constipation and support your body if it is already suffering from constipation.
One dried fig
One dried apricot
About the author: Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist, specializing in lifestyle and immunity disorders. Her foundation, Health For You, throws light on healthy food habits.
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