Smooth Moves

Fight me on this: All humans should be having a bowel movement every day.

We hear this all the time: “I’m not constipated—my doctor told me that’s just my normal.” Please don’t accept that. When it comes to BMs, you aren’t special and should be going every day.

Regular BMs are an important indicator of digestive health. All the leftover waste products from the food you eat must go somewhere! If you aren’t consistently going to the bathroom, it starts to back up. This becomes physically uncomfortable and affects the body’s ability to detox and regulate hormones.

Constipation can have many complex roots, but some of the key ones to consider include essential nutrients, lifestyle, and dietary factors that all play important roles.

Nutrients

If you’re struggling with constipation, you might be missing some of these key nutrients in your diet.

1. Water
Without enough water, your digestive process will start to slow down and ultimately cause irregular BMs. Your gut needs around 60 oz of water daily just to function properly!


2. Fiber
Fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps move it through the GI tract. To get more fiber in your diet, focus on eating whole foods, especially vegetables. Incorporating foods like beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, and leafy greens are all great options. Some clients do fabulous on a salad a day, while others can only tolerate well-cooked vegetables. For those who tolerate gluten-free whole grains, these can also provide the bulk needed for smooth movements. We recommend experimenting with different types of fibers and cooking styles to find what works best for you.


3. Magnesium
Magnesium helps to pull water into your digestive tract, which enables the movement of waste. For many people, taking extra magnesium can be helpful to relieve constipation as a short-term solution. There are different forms of magnesium, but we find that the magnesium citrate in Natural Calm is a great bowel support.

Getting adequate amounts of water, fiber, and magnesium is always the first place to start improving constipation. If you have consistently implemented these and are still struggling, there are likely deeper imbalances contributing to the problem. We use a variety of lab testing and lifestyle assessments to identify what the underlying cause is, so we can find the solution.

Digestion

Reversing constipation starts with healthy digestion!

There are a variety of other signs besides constipation that are clues your digestion is off, including bloating, gas, and acid reflux. If you experience any of these symptoms, supporting digestion is where we want to start.

Digestion starts when you sit down for a meal and ends when the waste products of the food are eliminated as a BM. There are a lot of moving parts in the digestive system so here are two ways to start improving digestion from the “top down.”

1. Eat in a relaxed state.
Your body needs to be in the parasympathetic (aka rest and digest) state to properly digest the food you eat. Sit down to eat and take a few deep breaths to help your body calm down before eating.

2. Chew your food well.
Three chews and swallowing the food does not count as chewing. Thoroughly breaking down food allows stomach acid and digestive enzymes to work better. Otherwise, you run the risk of undigested food particles making their way further into the GI tract and causing a host of issues.

Those may sound like simple tasks, but are you doing them consistently? If not, try them out at your next meal and notice how you feel.

Exercise

You can’t move your bowels if you don’t move your body!

Exercise helps to stimulate elimination processes in the body. Getting in regular activity will support your body’s ability to move stool through the GI tract at a healthy rate so that you can have a bowel movement every day. The good news is that movement doesn’t have to be complicated.

Are you sedentary for most of your day? Go for a daily walk. Do you like yoga? Gentle twists can stimulate digestion!

Just find ways to move your body that feel good to you. We were all designed to move regularly, but our modern-day lifestyles make it easy to neglect movement.

Lab testing

Constipation is a sign the body needs some help!

Just like any other symptom, constipation is the result of a deeper imbalance that needs to be addressed.
With many of our clients, we need to keep digging to find the problem. We use functional lab testing to skip the guesswork and get to the root of your health concerns. For constipation, we use stool testing and bloodwork to identify areas of dysfunction in the body.

These tests provide insights into your gut microbiome, thyroid function, and liver health, which can all affect bowel health. By incorporating lab testing, we eliminate the need for trial and error. Instead, we identify exactly what’s going on so that we can get you feeling your best.

The thyroid produces hormones that regulate energy production which affect every system in the body, including digestion and elimination. If your thyroid hormones are low, processes in the body start to slow down which can cause constipation. If you’ve tried all the things for constipation, but haven’t noticed any improvement, it’s  possible that your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally. If you also exhibit other symptoms of an underactive thyroid such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold sensitivity your thyroid might need some support.

The best way to assess thyroid health is through a blood test. We run a complete blood panel with all our clients that shows us a bigger picture of what’s happening in the body. The use of lab testing allows us to get clear on what the problem is so that we can create a personalized protocol to address the root cause of your constipation.

The liver probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of having regular bowel movements, but it’s really important. The liver produces bile which is required for breaking down fats and supporting the movement of stool through the GI tract. We’ve already discussed how important healthy digestion is for regular bowel movements, and that includes fat digestion. You need bile to fully digest the fat you eat so that it can be absorbed and used in the body.

At A Balanced Table, we use bloodwork and stool testing to assess fat digestion and liver health. These functional lab tests provide valuable insights into your gut microbiome and overall health, so we can identify if poor fat digestion is contributing to your constipation. Once we identify the problem, we can optimize your health so that you can say goodbye to constipation!

Try LMNT electrolytes for a great source of magnesium and other key nutrients

“Electrolytes” are key minerals that do important things like conduct nerve impulses, regulate hormones, boost nutrient absorption, and balance fluids. And hydration at a cellular level can be key for bowel regularity. I love LMNT, as it’s a super clean electrolyte option. It has zero added sugar, coloring, artificial ingredients, or fillers and comes in multiple great flavors. If you love salted dark chocolate as much as I do, try the Chocolate flavor–I’m addicted.

LMNT is offering my community 8 single serving packets (one of each flavor) free with any order. Click here!

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