I have been working in the health care field for so many years and one of the conversations I have with clients is about bowel movement. As a registered dietitian, this is something I routinely discussed especially with bariatric post-op clients. However, most people are still embarrassed to talk about complaints like constipation which can indeed be a troublesome condition.
Constipation is the difficulty in passing bowels. This is often caused by the changes in your usual diet, plus a combination of poor water intake, not enough fiber and lack of exercise. An easy go-to solution would be to prescribe fiber supplements and laxatives to provide instant relief. However, I believe that this concern can actually be prevented by making simple but wise changes in your daily lifestyle.
The 3 F’s.
I would like to call these solutions as the three F’s namely: Fiber-rich food, fluids and fitness. By applying these 3 F’s, issues like constipation can be avoided or reduced.
Fiber is one of the most important nutrient for the human body, but sadly, less than 3% of Americans get the daily recommended intake of fiber. Not only does fiber aid in weight loss and maintain cholesterol levels, its most crucial benefit is in aiding the digestive system and bowel movements.
Although fiber supplements are commonly available, the more appetizing way is to include fiber-rich food in your diet. Think berries, avocados, figs, and hummus. These are all packed with fiber. Sometimes we forget that healthy can be delicious too!
Not taking in enough water is also a recipe for disaster. Even if you consume an adequate amount of fiber, not having the necessary fluids to aid your digestion can also cause difficulty.
A lot of my bariatric clients have trouble meeting their water requirement and I do understand the struggle. You may be one of these people who feel that water is tasteless and you cannot bear to drink another drop, especially if you’re used to coffee or sugared beverages.
Although I still believe in the unbeatable power of water, there are various ways that you can be creative to meet your water needs and avoid digestive problems, and worse, dehydration.
One amazing technique is to infuse your water. Infusing means adding in a little bit of flavor to your water by using fresh fruits, veggies or herbs. Infusing can add zest without the unnecessary sugars and preservatives. Some popular choices include lemons, lime, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, and mint.
A great tip is to get yourself an attractive water tumbler or pitcher. The visual attraction adds to the experience and will make you drink more!