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Just Eating More Veggies Isn’t Enough To Prevent Constipation, Here’s Why

Just Eating More Veggies Isn’t Enough To Prevent Constipation, Here’s Why

Do Vegetables Really Cure Constipation?

Constipation is no fun. It can leave you feeling bloated, tired and uncomfortable. Most of us will have heard that the best way to develop better bowel function is to eat a lot of vegetables. According to conventional wisdom, vegetables are high in fiber and so prevent constipation. However, this is not always sufficient to maintain regularity. Some popular vegetables are not actually high in fiber. For example, there are only 1.3 grams of fiber in a portion of lettuce, while recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day for an average adult. (Imagine if you only rely on eating more veggies, you’ll have to eat 25 bowls of lettuce!)

The Best Way Is A Holistic Approach

Rather than making superficial dietary changes, the best approach to prevent constipation is to make a series of lifestyle adjustments. Take the following five steps and look forward to better bowel health.

Step 1: Get Into A Morning Routine

Try and get into the habit of going to the bathroom early in the morning. According to expert Dr Kenneth Koch, this is the best time of day to move your bowels. As you sleep, your small intestine and colon work to process the food you ingested the day before. This means that when you wake, your body is ready to release waste products. Moreover, our bodies like routine. When you make it regular, your bowel will get used to it and function better.

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Step 2: Change Your Position

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    credit: http://www.dailyviralupdates.com/how-does-the-toilet-bowl-destroy-your-health/

    Did you know that the posture most of use when sitting on the toilet increases the risk of constipation? In a traditional sitting position, the colon is shortened, which does little to encourage the body to release feaces. Humans are physiologically designed to squat rather than sit as they use the toilet. Products such as the Squatty Potty can help by encouraging you to adopt a safe, more natural position.

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    screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-15-48-32
      Credit: Video still from https://youtu.be/5P8L0r4JVpo / Squatty Potty

      Step 3: Take Care Of Your Posture

      Research shows that the healthiest posture to maintain when eating is one in which your shoulders are relaxed, with your feet in full contact with the floor. In this position, your body can make use of gravity in digesting your food. When you adopt a good posture, you also maximize the amount of oxygen that you take in via your lungs, which also helps your body achieve maximum digestive efficiency.

      Sitting upright also encourages a confident, relaxed mood. Since the brain and the gut are intimately connected, any action that helps you stay relaxed will exert a positive effect on your digestive health.

      Step 4: Replace White Carbs With Wholewheat Alternatives

      White rice, pasta and bread may well be delicious, but they contain very little fiber and therefore increase the risk of constipation. For example, a portion of white spaghetti typically contains only 2.5 grams of fiber versus more than 6 grams for wholewheat versions. A 60 gram portion of wholewheat pasta contains over 9 grams of fiber, the equivalent of three oranges. You should also consider switching breakfast cereals. For example, bran flakes are a better, higher-fiber choice compared to regular corn flakes.

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      Step 5: Include Apples, Bananas, Papaya and Dragonfruit In Your Diet

      Vegetables may have a reputation for preventing constipation, but certain fruits contain significant quantities of fiber and should therefore be included in your diet on a regular basis. Papaya is a great choice for several reasons. Not only is it high in fiber and water, both of which prevent constipation, but it contains an enzyme called papain which helps your body undertake the digestive process.

      A typical apple contains around 7 grams of fibre (while an orange only contains around 3 grams of fibre). Given that the recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day for an average adult, eating a couple of apples per day could be a great way to help cover your needs!

      Preventing constipation needn’t be difficult. Just by making a few simple lifestyle and dietary changes, you could soon be spending much less time in the bathroom.

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      Featured photo credit: Dailyviralupdates.com via dailyviralupdates.com

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      Jay Hill

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

      1. Cat Camel Stretch

      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

      3. Jumping Jacks

      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

      4. Abductor Side Lifts

      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

      5. Balancing Table Pose

      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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        6. Leg Squats

        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

        7. Push Ups

        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

        8. Bicycle Crunches

        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

        9. Lunges

        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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        10. Bicep Curls

        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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