Chronic Constipation and Harmful Bacteria in the Gut
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Chronic Constipation & Poor Diet – The Connection
All the probiotic bacteria in our intestines survive by digesting the food we eat. In order to support the beneficial probiotics in the microbiome, we must consume healthy foods rich in fiber and nutrients. When we eat a diet high in meat and fat, a normal type of bacteria in the colon called bacteroids begins to overgrow because it feeds primarily on this food. The by-product of bacteroids is toxic to our body because it results in overproduction of ammonia. This may cause the stool to become too alkaline, which slows the bowels down and can lead to chronic constipation. To counter this tendency, it is helpful to eat more fibrous foods to keep the beneficial bacteria strong and prevent overgrowth of bacteriods.
Fiber for constipation relief
Fiber is not just useful as bulk to push food through our intestines as is commonly though. Fiber also acts as the food for all the good probiotic bacteria in our colon. By helping to feed the beneficial bacteria, it limits the opportunity for harmful yeasts, bacteria, fungi, and viruses to colonize the intestinal tract. Probiotics literally protect the intestines (and the rest of our body) from these harmful invaders so it is important to keep them well fed! Of the two types of fiber, soluble fiber helps absorb water into the colon, softening the stool to relieve constipation. Insoluble fiber helps push food though the colon and lowers the ph of the intestines – promoting a positive environment for probiotics.
Stress and Environmental Toxins – Effect on the Colon
The stress in our daily lives takes a toll on the digestive tract. Stress can interfere with digestion and can slow down the time it takes for food to be moved through the gut. Slow transit time leads to constipation. Chronic problems occur when we don’t take the time to de-stress and relax. A great way to add a relaxing practice to one’s routine is through yoga, meditation, or exercise. Certain yoga poses are particularly helpful for the relief of constipation.
In addition to mental stress, our bodies must also deal with environmental stress as it is exposed to various toxins in daily life. These toxins make their way to the colon through ingestion of food, water, medicine, and even toothpaste. The microflora can become severely damaged by these chemicals, giving way for bad bacteria to overgrow and suppress the good probiotics in your colon.
Heal the microflora for constipation treatment
If fibrous food has not been a sufficient constipation remedy, supplementing with fiber like flax, psyllium, or glucomannan might be necessary to find relief from constipation.