Everyone gets constipated at some point of time in their life. Not usually a serious medical condition, but constipation can be a concern. If you tend to be constipated often, you will be asked to increase intake of fluids, veggies and fruits. Sometimes, doing these might not be enough.
Forget about all the advice you’ve received for constipation relief. Forget drinking lots of water, veggies and fruits, limiting processed food, increasing whole grains and fibre. What you need is the mineral ‘magnesium’.
Consuming magnesium increases water in your intestines. More water initiates peristalsis (a wave-like motion that moves matter through your intestines) and softens the stool. Moreover, magnesium relaxes the muscles in your intestines to encourage a smoother functioning of the colon muscles.
Apart from stimulating digestive movement, magnesium is important for many other functions in your body. The mineral plays a vital role in heart’s rhythm, blood pressure, muscle function, immune system functioning and blood sugar level.
When you are constipated, your first step should be to eat plenty of food that is high in magnesium. Almonds, dark leafy greens, cashews, black beans, banana and salmon are excellent sources of magnesium.
If constipation is a routine problem for you, it is high time to seek your doctor’s help. If you have blood in your stool, experience severe pain with bowel movements or if constipation has lasted more than two weeks, you should see your GP.
If you are eating enough magnesium-rich foods but it isn’t helping in moving things through in your digestive track, you can ask your doctor for magnesium supplements. Also, enquire when to discontinue them.
Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fibre helps to prevent constipation. You need to incorporate good sources of fibre in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal. Increase liquids (expect those containing caffeine and alcohol). And, exercise regularly.