Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Constipation: It Stops Here

Excerpt from the August 9th, 2011 Yahoo! News article, "High Fiber Diets Might Lower Risk For Colon Polyps"
People who regularly eat legumes, brown rice, cooked green vegetables and dried fruit have a reduced risk of colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer.  

That's the finding of California researchers who analyzed data from 2,818 people who were followed for 26 years. During that time, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were detected among the participants.

The risk of polyps was 40 percent lower among those who ate brown rice at least once a week and 33 percent lower among those who eat legumes (a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, and lentils) at least three times a week, the Loma Linda University team found.

Eating dried fruit three times or more a week, compared to less than once a week, was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk. Eating cooked green vegetables once a day or more, vs. less than five times a week, was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk, according to the report published online in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.

"Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer," study author Dr. Yessenia Tantamango, a postdoctoral research fellow, said in a university news release.

Don’t you love it when the science supports what we know and what we know is supported by science? This cool study is the first to draw a correlation between specific foods and a reduction in colon polyps. The take away - eat more whole foods such as whole grains, legumes, dried fruit and cruciferous Vegetables.

These same whole food superstars also promote regular elimination. One of the more common starting symptoms from our clients is sluggish elimination or constipation. Constipation breeds polyps, toxic build up, slowed metabolism, poor skin health, lowered energy and a host of other effects that stem from backed-up waste. Think of your digestion like a garbage can or disposal. If you do not remove the trash, things start reeking. But more importantly, that garbage begins being re-absorbed by your tissues and is recirculated throughout your system. 

Each person is unique, but healthy elimination consists of between 1 to 3 solid, non-strained bowel movements each day. 

Most of the time, abolishing constipation is as simple as making dietary changes such as the ones listed above. However, for some, sluggish elimination can be a lot more complex.

However, never fear, because constipation is here to offer you an opportunity to get in tune with your personal needs. We are all unique and each us has an Inner Expert who will share with us exactly what we need to feel our best. Viewed as such, Constipation is a signal from your Inner Expert. What is this Expert saying? 

Ask yourself the following:
  • Am I eating Flour Products and Processed Foods? Think of these foods as glue. Need I say more? You get the picture. 

  • Am I eating primarily whole foods? Constipation superstar foods include:
    • Whole Grains such as Brown Rice, Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet, Cous Cous
    • Legumes/Beans such as Lentils, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Split Peas
    • Loads of Vegetables
    • Leafy Greens - These superstars deserve to be in a class of their own. Aim for 1 serving per day. Some of our favorites: Kale, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens

  • How about extra-special fruits: Watermelons, pears and apples. Fibrous and watery, these fruits have special constipation busting properties. 

  • Am I drinking enough water? Each of us is unique. But if you are constipated, ask yourself - are you drinking enough water? Pay attention to your thirst levels. Increase water levels if you aren’t receiving 6-8 glasses each day or if you feel thirsty.

  • Do I take a Fiber Supplement? Daily Fiber recommendations range but often are between 20-35 grams of Fiber per Day. Our Favorite - SuperFood Snack. Though we are not a product sales company, we formulated our own, because we felt it was so important and we couldn’t find one that accomplished our goals for our clients

  • Am I Moving? Exercise gets things going, pumps blood to the digestive organs, and stimulates peristalsis, which is a wave-like muscular contraction that moves waste through the intestines.

  • Do I know my personal food intolerances? We cannot tell you how often a stubborn case of constipation is resolved by identifying a food that has been creating inflammation in the intestines, thus backing up the plumbing. Identify and remove “that” food, remove the blockages. 

  • Am I lubing up? One of the areas that most Western Practitioners ignore is what we call the unctuous or moistening properties of foods. Fiber and many of the more fibrous foods can be drying to the colon. Without glide, waste won’t slide. This is why prunes can be helpful for some, but they don’t work for everyone. Ensuring a moderate amount of healthy oils such as avocado, olive oil, coconut and sesame oil is important. One of our all-time unctuous foods? Manna Bread Cinnamon Date. Warning: Please don’t eat this if you have a gluten sensitivity. For those who do not, this bread defies the earlier warning to avoid processed foods. It is a sprouted bread which makes it closer to a whole food, but the combination of bread with moistening dates - works.

  • Would Triphala be helpful? I hesitate to mention this, because to head straight to the Triphala without first creating the other changes, would do yourself a disservice. Think of this as a last resort if the other items do not work. Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that is comprised of three fruits blended together. It is safe and gentle. Our favorite is Planetary Herbals Triphala, Gold (Organic).

  • Have stimulant laxatives created habituation or nerve damage? When I work with clients who have a history of stimulant laxative use, I let them know that there has likely been nerve damage to their colon and these are the most stubborn cases of constipation. Stimulant Laxatives include: Senna, Cascara Sagrada, and Turkey Rhubarb are contained in popular OTC teas including Smooth Move and SuperDieters Tea. These are meant for occasional use only.

In health and happiness,
Kim Love

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