Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Come Clean For Spring

"Simple tricks to eliminate constipation.

Spring is in the air and you’re ready, like Mother Nature, to whisk away the old and usher in the new. It’s time for a Spring Cleanse! And why not? Many health practitioners, including the renowned detox expert, Norman Walker believed that 80% of all disease begins in the colon.

I would agree.

At the risk of sounding anal, here are some rather shocking stats to keep in mind:

The United States is Number One when it comes to laxative use throughout the world. Widespread constipation is probably the surest sign that America’s colons are malfunctioning. Today, two out of three people over age 65 use laxatives. We spend over a billion dollars a year on laxatives. Can you imagine?

The trouble is constipation goes beyond being uncomfortable: it can spell danger. Your bowel movements don’t just relieve you of harmless waste, they rid your body of potentially harmful toxins too.

If you have fewer than two or three bowel movements a day, you may be constipated. In today’s world many factors interfere with normal digestion and cause constipation. Consider the following:

*Laxatives, tobacco, and caffeine—especially from coffee—irritate the colon and over time leave the muscles unresponsive and weak. Caffeine, a kind of stimulant laxative, eventually leads to the atrophy of the colon’s muscles and nerves. (To read more about caffeine’s negative effects, see my 3/8 blog Is This Drug Your Secret Addiction?)

*Nearly 50 percent of chronic constipation is caused or made worse by medications. The most common offenders are anti-depressants, pain meds, and iron-supplements.

*A sedentary lifestyle contributes to flaccid colon contractions. Couch potatoes have recalcitrant colons.

*Stress impairs digestion, creating nervous system responses that inhibit reflexes that facilitate bowel movements.

*Low stomach acid interrupts digestion and allows masses of food to linger in the gut.

*Lack of fiber inhibits colonic contractions.

*Food intolerances to gluten and dairy products irritate the intestines and interfere with colon function.

To remedy the situation, amp up your fiber to between 25 and 30 grams per day (I like several tablespoons of fiber-rich chia or flaxseeds in my daily smoothies). Drink at least one half of your body weight in ounces of water or enjoy 64 ounces of cran-water which has a gentle laxative effect due to the presence of organic acids like benzoic, malic, quinic, citric and ellagic acids. These organic acids, which are unique to the cran, help to balance pH and appear to function as natural digestive enzymes. Load up on lots of high pectin Fat Flushing fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, cabbage, and okra.

Take at least two tablespoons of essential fatty acid oils per day (like fish oil or flaxseed oil) to lubricate the intestines, and get moving. Physical activity—of any kind—can turbo-charge the movement of wastes through the GI tract. We are talking about a 20 minute walk daily here, at the very least.

If you are still backed up, you might want to get things moving with a targeted GI formula—like Super GI Cleanse or something very similar to it.

Look for a colon cleansing product that contains ingredients like fiber rich psyllium seed husk fiber, flaxseed fiber, and apple pectin; mineral-rich alfalfa , butternut root bark (a safe and natural laxative that helps in the secretion of bile); fennel seeds (a digestive aid which helps to cut down on gas); peppermint leaves (a time-honored ingredient that assists digestion); Irish moss ( a soother and natural coating agent for the GI tract); licorice root (a protector and healer of irritated mucus membranes); anise seed (a de-bloater and anti-spasmodic), enzymes, and probiotics that chase away yeast, parasites, and pathogenic bacteria in the gut that flourish in putrefying waste.

For special spring cleaning to prepare the GI tract for deep but gentle detox, I have been using Super GI twice a day (3 in the AM upon arising and 3 before bed) during March 21 – June 21. After June, I go back to just three before bed."

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman