Do You Poop Enough?
An embarrassing but important question to take notice to. There is no exact average on a healthy BM, it changes from person to person. Some people go as many as 3 times a day, while others only experience a BM 2 or 3 times a week. “In general, you should be going at least once every 6 to 48 hours.”
Why Is It Important to Be Regular?
A BM is your bodies most effective way of expelling toxins. Logically then, if we aren’t regularly expelling these toxins they are sitting inside of us.
When irregular, we experience 2 types of general digestive problems that happen to everyone from time to time. These of course are diarrhea and constipation. Both cause bloating, cramps, sharp pain and other discomforts and can also lead to very serious health problems if not taken care of.
How Fiber Works
One way to understand how fiber works is to imagine a sponge expanding as it soaks up water. When fiber reaches the stomach, it absorbs and expands, making you feel more full on less food.
More fiber helps to prevent constipation. The water in the fiber “sponge” makes waste softer and easier to pass. Fiber gives substance to waste, giving the muscles in the digestive track something sturdy to push on.
Health Benefits and Sources of Fiber
There are two categories of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease and lower total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol). It’s prevalent in dried beans and peas, oats, oat bran, vegetables, like broccoli, citrus and other fruits, and flaxseed.
Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent constipation. It also balances the pH (acidity) in the intestines and moves toxic waste through the colon much faster to the body. This helps to prevent colon cancer by eliminating cancerous substances.
Many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Food sources for insoluble fiber include vegetables, fruit and vegetable skins, nuts and seeds, wheat bran and whole grains. So think twice before you use the peeler.
Food with little to No fiber include dairy, meat, and processed grains (ex: white flour). These foods are not only low in fiber but are also difficult for your body to digest and pass.
Regardless of How Often you Go…
- Eat Fiber - The recommended fiber intake is between 30 and 40 grams a day. But the average American gets only 10 grams. So go to the high fiber foods list and the chart of foods high in fiber, start gradually building up to the right amount to fill in the gaps for your high fiber diet. If you start eating a lot of high fiber foods too fast, you may get an upset stomach. Change takes time.
- Exercise - Sometimes people have trouble with constipation and other digestive issues simply because they aren’t getting enough exercise. Try to set a goal to increase your activity if you aren’t already a regular exerciser.
- Drink Water - It’s a little counter intuitive but water helps make solid stool. As food digests, the body leeches water from waste. Drinking lots of fluids helps everything move along easier and keeps us from getting dehydrated during the digestion process.
- Relax - Stressing out is debatably the most unhealthy thing you can do. Stress is the cause of countless mental and physical health problems. It’s no exception here.
Read the Cheap Vegan archive to find great high fiber recipes and tips.