Bowel movement can become irregular for many reasons, but fortunately the remedy is often a simple one.
The most common causes of constipation are dehydration, lack of fiber in the diet and insufficient exercise. Those three conditions are easily remedied by a Paleo lifestyle. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors drank plenty of water, ate raw foods high in dietary fiber and had a very active lifestyle.
But intestinal blockage can occur for other reasons, too. For example, it is often the side effect of common medications, from antacids and antihistamines to antidepressants, antibiotics and pain killers. Even vitamins can be a cause.
It’s good to know, then, that there are a variety of natural treatments that do not require the use of additional chemicals or pharmaceuticals. In fact, one surprising cause of irregularity is the use of stimulant laxatives. When used over long periods of time, such products can lead to dependence and the body ceases to function properly without them.
The toilet, of course, is a modern invention. Back in Paleolithic times, everyone squatted when doing their duty. Squatting is the most natural position for eliminating solid waste from the body because it relaxes the puborectalis muscle. As a first measure for relief of constipation, try elevating your feet while sitting on the toilet. Quite often, that’s all it takes.
Another solution is to tweak the fats in your diet to soften the stool. Switch from antibiotic-treated meats to grass-fed varieties. Ditch vegetable oils in favor of Paleo-friendly ones derived from fruit or tree nuts. Natural fats play a vital role in overall health and can help to make the digestive process more efficient.
Healthy continencerequires healthy intestinal bacteria, too. If the activities of gut flora are compromised, it can result in incomplete digestion and constipation.
To help the bacteria do their job, try adding some fermented foods to your diet. Probiotic-rich yogurt is often touted for its positive effects on bowel movement. For those who lactose intolerant or following a Paleo diet of no dairy, there other alternatives, too. Non-pasteurized naturally fermented sauerkraut is one. Spicy Korean kimchi is another. And pickles can also help, if naturally fermented and not made using vinegar.
For a quick fix, an herbal tea may do the trick. Good choices are ones containing, buckthorn, senna, rhubarb or aloe. These are natural stimulants that will help you gain regularity – usually overnight.
And don’t forget that timeless old standby—prune juice. It’s rich in fiber and sorbitol, a form of nondigestible sugar that occurs naturally, which makes it the perfect laxative for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly and from the Stone Age to our modern age.
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