Most of us have been taught that it’s normal to have one bowel movement a day, and indeed it is for a culture that lives on highly processed food. In reality, one should have a bowel movement for every meal!
If you’re having problems going, it could be the usual suspects such as a diet low in fiber, a lack of exercise, ignoring the urge to go, plus the many medications that are notorious for causing constipation.

Here are some ways to feel better

Exercise
First of all, muscles need exercise. Bowel motility is influenced by smooth muscles under the control of the autonomic nervous systems. Without proper bulking agents in your diet, the muscles lining the colon don’t activate.

Psyllium
Psyllium is a strong bulking agent with its ability to absorb many times its weight in water and expand in size. But make sure you’re drinking enough water otherwise your colon won’t be properly hydrated and it could actually cause constipation.

Flax
Flax is also a strong bulking agent and is less dehydrating. Using essential fatty Acids like flax oil can lubricate the colon, allowing for easier elimination.

Magnesium Particularly the oxide and citrate forms of Magnesium are effective because of their relatively lower rates of absorption. Magnesium works as a hyper-osmotic, pulling water into the colon thereby re-hydrating it and causing the colon to reflexively expel its contents.

Herbal laxatives needs
The two most common herbal laxatives are cascara and senna. Both herbs are extremely effective as they irritate the lining of the colon and stimulate a bowel movement. However, you should only use these herbs short-term (three months) as they do cause dependency. Try triphala (an Ayurvedic combination of three herbal fruit bodies), which has more of a toning effect on the colon.

Your next steps
These remedies will help to strengthen and tone the smooth muscles surrounding the colon. Following just a few simple steps can go a long way towards minimizing common health concerns.

Mario Alonzi, B.Sc., Manager of the Nature’s Source store in Mississauga