30% of our adult population is chronically constipated. Constipation leads to many other problems: hemorrhoids, varicose veins, toxin reabsorption, bad breath, liver damage, and even aneurisms from straining. Most constipation has one of three nutritional causes that can be addressed by nutritional means.
Too much protein – too little oil.
High-protein diets tend to constipate. Athletes who take high-protein powder drinks often discover this unpleasant fact. Oils soften protein-hardened stools. They work in opposition to protein’s tendency to constipate. The addition of essential fatty acid-containing oils to a protein shake usually takes care of the constipation problem caused by excess protein without adding fattening fats.
Fiber, which absorbs water and provides bulk to our stools, can prevent and reverse constipation. All kinds of fiber help do this, but the best kinds are found in okra, psyllium, and flax. The mucilage found in these foods not only absorbs many times its volume of water, but also soothes our intestinal tract, makes stools slippery, and makes bowel movements easy. Pectins and gums are other types of helpful soluble fiber.
On the other hand, wheat bran contains a harsher kind of insoluble fiber. While it helps prevent constipation by adding bulk to our stools, excess of this kind of fiber can irritate delicate linings of our intestinal tract, which can be counterproductive. Cellulose, hemi-cellulose, and lignin are other kinds of harsher insoluble fiber.
If we drink too little water, our body drags the water it needs out of our intestinal tract. Our stools then become drier, harder, and more compact. The obvious solution is to drink more liquids. Water, herbal teas, soups, and broths are the best beverages. Juices may contain too much sugar. Tea and coffee contain stimulants that are not recommended for health. Alcohol contains water, but also dehydrates our cells.
Pure H2O is the magic ingredient in all liquids. No additives are needed to make it effective. The water that best supports our health has been filtered to remove chlorine, ‘bugs’, and other impurities.