There is a cost, far greater than financial when it comes to constipation: your health. While some present-day doctors still maintain that everyone has a different schedule and may eliminate (waste) a variable number of times per week, Chairman & CEO Dr. Lindsey Duncan would disagree. “When a baby eats, he poops,” says Dr. Lindsey. Nature reveals the truth. Babies (unless experiencing a health condition) and animals eliminate their waste shortly after eating. So, why are so many Americans constipated? The biggest reason is that the modern, standard American diet is highly processed and void of fiber needed for healthy bowel function. Consequently, the healthy “two to three bowel movements per day” is significantly dwindled to once or twice a week, with some poor souls not even that frequent.

So, why does it matter how frequently you eliminate your waste? Think of a toilet. If everyone used the toilet, but didn’t flush it, bacteria would form and it would become an unhealthy environment. Additionally, the toilet would be so full, that it may get clogged when you do finally flush it. The pipes may even become deteriorated, making it difficult for the waste to pass. Now, I know that’s a really gross concept, but I want to impart on you the severity of not properly eliminating your personal waste.

In order to maintain healthy bowel activity you need to 1) eat a proper diet, 2) drink plenty of quality water, 3) exercise regularly, and 4) maintain healthy stress levels. Let’s break each of these down further:

Eat a Proper Diet
What is a proper diet? I can say it does NOT include soda, sugar, baked goods, fast food, or processed foods. What it DOES include is whole, fresh fruits and vegetables that contain nutrients and fiber, plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds, which also contain fiber, and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and oats that contain….drum roll…”fiber.”

Drink Plenty of Quality Water
Water helps hydrate the body, including the digestive tract. Dehydration is a common culprit for constipation. Be careful, however, drinking the wrong kind of water may be counterproductive to your overall goal of health and well-being. Be sure to do your research on water and choose water that contains the fewest contaminants, while maintain minerals and the proper pH.

Exercise Regularly
Your digestive tract is one long muscular tube from your mouth, all the way down to your anus. When you exercise, you tone ALL muscles in your body, including your digestive tract. Exercising also helps stimulate peristalsis, which is the contraction of the muscle tissue in the intestines.

Maintain Healthy Stress Levels
Stress in any form may impede the body’s ability to eliminate waste. When the body tenses up, it is unable to flow and perform optimally. Look for ways you can mitigate your stress throughout the day. Adopt a breathing technique, take a walk, do a five minute meditation. In the evening before bed, try taking a warm bath, doing some gentle stretching, or engage in meditation to relax your body in preparation for sleep. Getting healthy sleep at night will help you better manage stress during the day and maintain your body’s natural flow.

Creating healthy bowel habits takes time. Be patient with the process; but also be consistent. For example, even if you do not have the urge to eliminate first thing in the morning, sit on the toilet for three to five minutes anyway. Create the space for your body to do what it is naturally designed to do, and it will likely follow suit. The bottom line is developing healthy bowel activity may help you maintain better health and well-being, and keep more of the money you earn in your pocket instead of the doctor’s.

CREDIT: Gina Van Luven via Genesis Pure