The human body needs many things to stay in optimal health. What you consume into your body may be the most important factor to staying healthy for a long time. There are countless vitamins and minerals that support a healthy body. This article is going to focus on something that is very important but is often forgotten: fiber!
What is Fiber and How Does It Work?
There are two types of fiber that the body can use. Those two types are soluble and insoluble.
Soluble Fiber is fiber that can be absorbed into the body, similar to how the body absorbs other vitamins. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as bread, oats and unripe bananas. This fiber helps to stabilize blood glucose levels, normalize insulin levels, and can lower blood cholesterol.
Insoluble Fiber is fiber that cannot be absorbed into your body. Instead of doing its work in your bloodstream, insoluble fiber stays in your intestines. As it travels through the curves of your intestinal track, it pushes and pulls solid materials through your body and pushes it out through your colon. The result is regular bowel movements, no constipation and better absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
High Fiber Foods
The easiest way to get fiber into your body is through the foods that you consume. Here are the top 3 fiber rich foods:
1. Beans- A good combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, beans are good for your heart and good for your digestive system.
2. Strawberries- These juicy berries contain lots of vitamins on the inside of the fruit. On the outside, plenty of fiber can be found in the hundreds of tiny seeds that each strawberry has.
3. Bran Cereal- Take one look at bran cereal and you can see how it would help to keep your digestive system regular. Buying cereals fortified with other minerals will boost the health benefits that can be gathered from each bowl.
For an added boost of fiber, powdered fiber supplements are available that can be mixed into drinks and smoothies.
Beware of Too Much Fiber
Even good things can be detrimental if you consume too much of them. Consuming too much fiber can result in bloating, constipation, and loose stools. Experiencing loose stools means that your food did not get enough time to digest before your fiber intake pushed it out.
Feeling bloated and/or constipated usually indicates dehydration. Luckily, an easy remedy is to drink more water!
Chocolate! One of the world’s most beloved treats. We turn to chocolate when we are happy, when we’re sad, to celebrate different holidays, or even to give to a beloved as a sign of our affection. There’s dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with almonds, and choices galore! Let’s face it, we love chocolate.
However, after indulging in this scrumptious and delicious treat, you may find adverse consequences to pay for your enjoyment, such as constipation. There has been much suspicion and controversy as to whether or not chocolate does indeed cause constipation. There have been studies after studies conducted, without any clear verdict or answer to the question of whether it does or not.
It has been determined that chocolate does not in itself cause constipation, unless you have some other type of underlying problem. These problems could be something such as irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, is a problem that affects your lower intestines. It causes cramping, bloating, pain, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea and constipation. With this condition, coupled with certain kinds of foods, triggers may occur causing constipation. Within this trigger typed foods, chocolate is one of the culprits. Everyone responds to food differently, but the possible link here may be clear.
Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and may have other benefits for the human body such as lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, helping clean out your system, and more. However, with people that suffer from underlying problems that they may not even be aware of, the antioxidant full chocolates can trigger an onset of symptoms in IBS, including constipation. This includes also using chocolate in flavorings, such as hot cocoa and chocolate milk.
Today, one in five of all Americans suffer from signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Most do not realize their discomfort is anything unusual and thus do not seek medical help or advice for their symptoms. Among all the studies, the results have actually even revealed that in some people, chocolate helped ease their constipation. So I believe it’s safe to say that it really is a person by person case, as to whether or not chocolate will cause constipation. The only connective dot that seems to rear its head time and again is the link between chocolate consumption and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also worth noting that the benefits of chocolate come from the dark chocolate, which contains far more antioxidants than it’s semi-sweet or milk counterparts.
When constipation strikes many people turn to medications for relief. There are a variety of options available and knowing a bit about each can help determine which to use.
These medications work by bulking up your stool. They do this by absorbing fluid from your intestines, creating a bulkier stool. This in turn causes the bowel to contract in order to push out the stool. It is imperative to take this medication with water otherwise it can lead to a blockage. Some side effects of this medication include bloating and abdominal pain.
These medications cause the stool to retain more water, which in turn makes the stool softer and easier to pass. These can take a few days to work so will not offer immediate relief. They can cause dehydration and mineral imbalance so certain people should not take them. These may also lead to gas and bloating.
These medications help mix more water from the intestines into the stools, making them easier to pass. These are often used for people who should not strain during bowel movements. Side effects can include stomach cramping and diarrhea.
These help the stool move more easily through the intestines by lubricating the surface of the stool. This also makes the stool easier to pass. The most common form is mineral oil, which is gentler than alternatives, although it should not be used for an extended period of time.
These are generally reserved for those with severe constipation and work by causing the intestine to contract, thus pushing the stool out. Side effects can include irritation, cramping and upset of the stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
There are two common prescription medications that both help to draw water into your intestines, making stools softer and easier to pass. They also increase the frequency of stools and can decrease abdominal pain. See your doctor for further information.
Occasional constipation is incredibly common. In fact, it is one of the most common medical maladies in the world. Everyone experiences constipation from time to time. Constipation is defined as when you have bowel movements that are particularly difficult or infrequent.
Everybody goes, but everybody does it on a different schedule. Some people go three times a day. Other people may go once a day or even once every other day. So knowing if you are constipated is really up to you. Knowing your body is the first step in identifying constipation. If you are used to going a couple of times a day and you skip a day then you may be constipated, while others may need to skip a few days in order to be worried.
Once you think you may be constipated, it is important to know the common causes of constipation. Armed with this knowledge you may be able to avoid constipation in the future and you may be able to remedy your blocked up situation. Below you will find the five common causes of constipation.
The human body eliminates waste using certain muscles. Your brain sends electrical impulses down nerves in order to control muscles. If a nerve leading to your bowel movement muscles is pinched or affected by other diseases, such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, you may have difficulty eliminating waste. Other causes of nerve problems that may inhibit the ability to go include neuropathy, a pinched nerve, stroke and multiple sclerosis.
When your stool becomes hard it may be difficult for your body to eliminate. An unhealthy diet and dehydration can lead to hard stool. Fibrous, healthy foods can help you go. Dense fiber cells are difficult for the body to digest and the travel through the digestive track fairly quickly, dragging out excess waste along the way. Staying hydrated can also help you alleviate by softening stool inside your system.
Blockages in your bowels can also make it difficult to go. There can be physical bowel obstruction or other medical conditions that create blockages. Bowels stricture, or the narrowing of the bowels, is a condition that can lead to blockages with normal stool. Other conditions that create blockages include cancerous tumors in the abdomen and anal fissure.
Weak or Tight Muscles
Sometimes it’s as simple as the muscles that control your bowel movements. These muscles can get tight and remain spasmed making it impossible to eliminate. These muscles can also get weak and relinquish the ability to eliminate waste. Sometimes the muscles are just not able to expand and contract in the right sequence. Relaxing, doing exercises or simply calming down may help.
Hormones are chemical messengers in your blood that are responsible for communication between the parts of your body. A hormone condition can make it difficult to go. Pregnancy and diabetes can lead to hormone difficulties that cause constipation. Other common conditions include underactive thyroid and overactive parathyroid. Balancing your hormones with the help of an endocrinologist may alleviate your symptoms.