Bowel Movements--3 Keys to Healthy Bowels
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February 20, 2008, last updated December 31, 2012

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist


You know that bowels movements are
great indicators of your
overall  health. But do you know the 3 keys to healthy bowels?


Most people who have trouble with their bowels -- complaining
of constipation --do not know what normal bowel function
feels like. Many have been constipated since childhood. In fact,
a 2004 study from the Hospital Universitari La Fe in Spain
found that 29.4% of adults self-report that they suffer from
constipation, and that women suffer from constipation more
than men.

You are even more likely to be constipated during pregnancy.
In 2008, this same hospital released a survey which found that
up to 45.4% of pregnant women suffer from constipation in
the first trimester, 37.1% of pregnant women are constipated
in the second trimester and 39.4% suffer from constipation in
their third trimesters.

The problem is our diet. The typical American diet, it turns out,
almost
guarantees that we will become constipated.

To have normal bowel movements -- defined as one or two
voidings a day, with a soft, smooth-formed bolus (poop) -- you
need 3 things:

1. Water

2. Fiber

3. Oil

For very stubborn constipation, some people also are helped by
taking Vitamin C every day. Do not overdue. But it has been
known to help.

You need water so that the "deposit" can form properly in the
small intestines.  All of us at one point or another have
deposited hard, marbles.  This is not normal. Nor is it healthy if
it continues.  The small intestines are a factory in which our
food is broken down and nutrients are extracted and absorbed
into the blood stream.  To do its job, the small intestines work
the food over and over as it travels the long, 20-26 foot
journey down the intestines.

The small intestines "work" the food by adding water to it to
soften it up, then hormones are added to break it down more,
then lubricants from the small intestines are added.


The reason we need fiber is that fiber acts like a sponge. Fiber
soaks up the water we have drank forming little gel beads that
can hold many, many times more water than each gel size.  It
sort of multiplies the effect of drinking water.  When we've
eaten enough fiber, and thus have enough fiber gel beads in
our small intestines, the small intestines can complete their
work very easily.

The final ingredient we need is oil.  And the best single source
of oil is mineral oil --if you are constipated. We need oil
because the small intestines use the oil to form the deposit and
keep it smooth as it makes it way down the 26-foot tunnel.  
Without the oil, without the water, the deposit gets hard and
marble-sized or it sticks to the walls.  The result is that we have
to strain to push them out. That's constipation.


Many Americans are constipated and don't know it.  They carry
a magazine in the bathroom to read because they know they
will be there a long time straining.

This is not the way the body was designed to work.  What is
the remedy?


Food

Eat plenty of fiber rich food. Green, leafy vegetables, fibrous
fruit such as apples and strawberries and nuts all contain high
amounts of fiber. The typical starchy American diet only has
about 5 grams of fiber each day. We need 25-30 grams each
day.  Some very stubborn cases of constipation is helped by
taking Vitamin C every day.

[Update:

Lack of fiber in our diets is one of the main reasons 70% of all
people over the age of 60 suffers from diverticulitis, according
to a 2012 study from the University of Connecticut School of
Pharmacy. Diverticulitis, characterized by tiny fistula growths in
your colon can produce constipation, bloating and soiling of
your underwear.  The study recommends that sufferers eat 20
to 30 grams of fiber a day to relieve symptoms. (Read more
about
natural remedies for diverticulitis.)]

Water

Drink your 8 tall 8-ounce glasses each day. I know a lot of
sources say that any kind of fluid will do-- coffee,tea, sodas
--but my personal experience is that nothing works better than
good, clean water.

Oil

Eat the right kinds of oil, in moderation.  I once went on a very
low oil diet and ended up constipated.  Use olive oil (
it helps
your body in other ways too). Every now and then, take a bit
of mineral oil. I can still remember my wonderful Mom giving us
doses of the stuff.  We use to run from her. But the old ways
turn out to often be the best ways, right?


Here is a list of
fiber-rich foods for your reference.

Links:
Fiber, colon cancer, diverticulosis, diverticulitis,
hemorrhoids, fistula and fissure













Find out more about how to keep your bowels healthy:
The Color of Your Bowels-What It Says Abut Your Health
Exercises That Increase Bowel Movements
Child Constipation -Top 10 Natural Remedies
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

My Heart Attack

How Long Will I live?--Life Expectancy Calculator


DIETS AND FITNESS

BOWEL MOVEMENTS

INTESTINES-KEEP THEM
HEALTHY

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH
SALT

HOW MUCH SALT IS IN MY
FOOD

SALT CONTENT OF COMMON
FOODS

150,000 DIE FROM EXCESS
SALT

I HAVE HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE!

FOODS THAT LOWER YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE

INFLAMMATION INSIDE
THE BODY

FAT--IT'S ALIVE!

WHY WE GO SOFT IN THE
MIDDLE

WHY EUROPEANS ARE
THINNER

MY HEART ATTACK

CANCER SURVIVORS
BRAIN HEALTH

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green salad and fish helps to promote bowel health
Eating a diet with plenty of vegetables and that is low in red meat can improve