I have women coming into my office with hormonal imbalances, fatigue, inability to lose weight, stressed out all the time or suffer from headaches they do not have a specific medical condition and they are frustrated about how to feel better.
After taking a good history I noticed that they are not having bowel movements regularly and this is one of the sources of their symptoms. Simply put they are constipated. Constipation is defined as having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week. I actually consider someone constipated if they do not have a bowel movement everyday. If you think about the digestive system as a long hose, which is kind of what it is, then if you put something in one side something should come out the other side. If you eat 3 meals a day then in a perfect digestive system then you would be eliminating the same amount. Since most of us do not have a perfect digestive system I consider moving your bowels once a day to be a minimum goal.
The purpose of bowel movements is to eliminate waste and hormones from the body. When we are not eliminating on a daily basis we can have problems like fatigue, migraines, feeling stressed out because we are allowing toxins to get reabsorbed in the body. In addition to toxins we can also reabsorb hormones and high cholesterol causing PMS, menopausal, and infertility symptoms. Moving your bowels is so much more critical to good health than many people believe.
The first step to improved bowel health is a fiber rich diet. Fiber rich foods are plant-based foods vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fiber acts like a broom in our digestive system to sweep our wastes and trains our digestive system to eliminate on a daily basis. Water is also important to help with the ease of eliminating your bowels. Concentrating on eating fiber foods and drinking enough water can ease your ability to have bowel movements. A good goal to have is 20-30 grams per day of fiber rich foods. One serving of vegetables is equal to about 4 grams of fiber. Beans can contain up to 8 grams per serving.