Friday, January 23, 2009

Eyeing the colon

Constipation and natural treatment

Quote: 99.9 % of our illness begins in the colon – Prof. Arnold Ehret

Constipation refers to unduly infrequent or irregular bowel movements, with difficulty, and sometimes pain on passing dry hard faeces. It is usually harmless but may be an indication of an underlying disorder. Many people only have one bowel movement each day and sometimes even less than this. The ideal should be 2 or 3 bowel movements each day which approximates to a bowel movement for each meal consumed.
There are many severe health problems connected with periods of lengthy constipation. Studies have now shown that cancer of the intestinal tract and poor absorption of nutrients can stem from periods of constipation.
One of the main causes of constipation is diet. While there are many other contributing factors like immobility, haemorrhoids, an anal fissure, hypothyroidism or hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, diet does play a large role in constipation. Most commonly it is a diet lacking in fibre.
The sad fact is that most people would not need laxatives if they ate right. Unfortunately, artificial laxatives can contain harmful chemicals which could have side-effects over time.
Eating incorrectly can have long-term effects. One may not notice it when younger, but over a few years too many meats, fats and dairy products will result in constipation.
The modern diet too often consists of fast food, high processed foods and the fresh fruit and vegetables fall away, to your detriment. Continual constipation does require a change in life style. Every whole grain item and every fibre-rich fruit and vegetable helps prevent and relieve constipation.
Foods that have special recognition as laxatives include almonds, apricots (dried), avocados, chicory, coconut, dandelion (yes get out in your garden and eat those dandelion leaves, so long as they have no chemicals on them!), dates, endive, figs, flaxseed, grapes, mango's, olive, papayas, parsley, persimmons, pineapple, prunes, rhubarb, soybeans, turnips, walnuts, watercress.
Include a combination of these in your diet as fresh salads, soups or snacks. Increase your intake of the above and if still constipated, increase again and lessen your intake of meat, dairy and high processed food.
Lack of water in your system is a large contributing factor to constipation. Water is essential to many bodily actions and elimination of waste is very high on the list. NOT tea, coffee or soft drink, but pure WATER. Add some lemon or fresh fruit juice for flavour if needed, but drink water!
Juicing is a fantastic way of getting essential foods in a fast acting and refreshing way. A variety of delicious juices can be made if you have a juicing machine, alternatively fresh juices can be purchased. Avoid those made from concentrate and try to always buy organic juices. Prune juice is top of the list as a laxative, but apple-pear, asparagus and potato are also good.
Psyllium husks(**see below), the tiny seeds of the plantain, contain a fibre called mucilage. Mucilage absorbs a great deal of fluid in the gut, the seeds swell and add bulk to the stool. The bulk presses on the walls of the colon, inducing the muscles to contract and the stool is passed. It is very important to drink at least eight full glasses of water a day, or the digestive track will become blocked and uncomfortable. Psyllium also removes the sticky mucus and toxins from the bowel. They reduce acidity and increase urine flow.
Linseed also known as flax, is rich in fibre and essential fatty acids and can be used instead of psyllium husks. Again for the seeds to work effectively it is important for you to drink at least 1/4 pint (150 ml) of water per desert spoon of seeds.
Senna known to Arabian physicians as early as the ninth century as a food and dietary supplement, is an effective and long-established remedy for constipation. Senna contains a powerful natural laxative called anthraquinone. It is best combined with such things as ginger or cloves that will improve taste and prevent griping pains. Anthraquinone laxatives should not be taken over long periods of time as they are very strong, and you should not become dependent on them. Aloe Vera also falls within this category.
Rhubarb contains a natural laxative chemical. It is also high in fibre. Its laxative action can be pretty powerful. Liquorice in large doses can be a laxative. Olive oil has a mild laxative action and can lower blood cholesterol levels. Laxatives should never be abused. Use them for only as long as needed to let your body establish its own natural rhythm. Do not use constantly as you will become dependent on them and some may lose their potency as your body gets used to them. Always try to avoid harsh, artificial laxatives and use a natural one.
Copyright © 2002 - 2005 P. Topham:
U.S. Nutritional and Herbal Researcher - All Rights Reserved
www.organicn utrition. co.uk/articles/ constipation. Htm

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