Did you know 1 out of 3 seniors can't "go?"
It can happen at home. Or maybe when you travel.
Sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Or, for about 1 in 5 of us, it’s so routine that we seek help.
Because we’re feeling bloated. Tired. And possibly in pain.
I’m talking about constipation. It’s definitely something to pay attention to, because a properly working GI system is key to your body working as it should.
Not to mention, not “going” often enough just feels plain awful.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get you back on track. If this is a persistent issue with you, I’d suggest trying at least a few – especially the ones that are backed by good science.
The first is to drink more water. Dehydration leads to constipation, plain and simple.
And here’s something interesting: sparkling water may be even better as a quick fix, according to some studies.
If you have irritated bowels in addition to constipation, carbonation may not be for you. Stick with still water instead.
Coffee is another beverage that can get things moving again. For some folks, a morning cup leads to a regular trip to the bathroom. And one study showed that this effect is 60% stronger than plain water, as long as the coffee has caffeine.
Decaf does help too, just not as well.
A regular probiotic is also important, both as a way to kickstart your system, and to keep things in balance in the first place. Be sure to choose one that has actual studies behind it, and is specifically designed to work for constipation.
Not all probiotics are, no matter what they say.
If your grandma were here, she might recommend prunes. They’re probably the most often mentioned “home remedy” for constipation.
Now you may think that’s because they’re full of bulky fiber. And they are. But prunes also contain sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol that has a laxative effect.
Speaking of fiber, you’ll notice it’s not at the top of my list. And that’s because the science on fiber for constipation is really mixed. Despite the fact that probably 99 out of 100 doctors will mention fiber first, for a lot of people, fiber can actually make your constipation worse.
Which leads to your doctor recommending more fiber. Which leads to… you see where this is going. You’re not going, and you’re feeling progressively worse.
If you are going to reach for fiber, I’d suggest psyllium. It’s shown to be more effective than things like bran, and it’s relatively inexpensive and available everywhere.
The bottom line (no pun intended) is constipation is not something you should ignore. There are many ways to get your body back on track, and if you work them into your routine (along with regular exercise), you may be surprised how much better you feel.
Which can include even clearer thinking and a better complexion. Who knew staying regular was this important?
Well… I did. And now you do too.
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