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One question my IBS clients often as me is how to manage constipation. Aside from strong laxatives, there there are no quick fixes, but because most people don’t want to be reliant on medications to have regular bowel movements, I’ve scoured the research for evidence-based strategies to help get things moving again.
Here’s six quick tips to help you manage constipation:
Eat 30g Fibre a Day
Fill up on a variety of beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. If you’re not already hitting 30g a day, build up slowly, and make sure you…
Drink Plenty of Water
The amount you need will vary based on your size/activity level, but 2 litres a day is a good benchmark. Don’t like drinking plain water? Try herbal teas, diluted fresh 100% fruit juice or fruit-infused sparkling water (give this last one a swerve if bloating is an issue for you).
Poop in a Squat Position
Instead of sitting on the can with your legs at a 90 degree angle, try bringing your knees up to 35-45 degrees so they are above your hips. You’ll need a stool or squatty potty, but this action gently and naturally compresses the colon and straightens it out, so gravity does the hard work!
Eat Two Kiwi Fruits a Day
Clinical trials[references below] have shown that eating two kiwi fruits a day can relieve constipation and improve bowel function. Try it for four weeks – it works! You can eat the skin, but I recommend peeling them to start with so you don’t get a fibre overload.
Eat Flax and Chia Seeds
These seeds are high in fibre and mucilaginous, so they literally lube up your poop helping it make a smooth exit. *IMPORTANT: always eat flax and chia with water or other liquid*
Get Your Body Moving
It doesn’t need to be intense – just taking a gentle walk or doing some yoga can be enough to stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract and help get things moving.
BONUS TIP – figure out your triggers!
If you want to take control of your IBS and get your symptoms to a manageable level, consider the low FODMAP elimination diet. With a 75% success rate, it’s definitely worth considering!
References – kiwifruit to manage constipation
- Chang, C.C., et al., Kiwifruit improves bowel function in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2010. 19(4): p. 451-7
- Chan, A.O., et al., Increasing dietary fiber intake in terms of kiwifruit improves constipation in Chinese patients. World J Gastroenterol, 2007. 13(35): p. 4771-5