Constipation’s Impact on Health
Roughly 65 percent of the American population endures constipation on a regular basis. Constipation is linked to a number of health problems. The condition lends itself to irritability, acid reflux, inflammation, abdominal pain and bloating, malnutrition, poor digestion, lack of appetite and even cancer. Some experts also believe that the toxins that build up in the body due to chronic constipation may also contribute to the development of mental illnesses and mood disorders such as anger problems, depression, anxiety and ADHD.
The causes of constipation are many and varied, including things like changes in lifestyle, sudden weight loss, dehydration, stress, medication use, alcohol consumption, food sensitivities and pregnancy. However, the most common causes of constipation are merely a poor diet and the digestive problems caused by it. For this reason, many people turn to juicing to gain much-needed vitamins, minerals and fiber, but some are reluctant to try it because they’re worried that it could worsen their constipation.
Does Juicing Cause Constipation?
When done properly, juicing does not cause constipation. If you’re going to give juicing a try, it’s important to choose your ingredients with care. Certain fruits and vegetables are known to cause or exacerbate the condition while others can clear it up.
It takes approximately 4 oranges or more to produce 1 8 ounce glass of orange juice for example. Juicing removes all the fiber. It is not natural for a person to consume eight oranges in one sitting. Orange juice is very high in sugar. Orange juice, for example in itself is not going to cause constipation. However, a good diet will contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is “roughage” that keeps you regular and keeps things in your digestive tract moving along. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and helps improve blood glucose levels.
Finally, to avoid constipation, it is important to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Certainly an 8 oz glass of orange juice does contain a lot (mostly) water. Most juice is going to provide extra water that helps with constipation, but also excess sugar that can spike blood sugar levels leading to insulin shock (read 3pm nap attack) later. However, juicing does not help because it essentially removes valuable insoluble fiber from fruits and vegetables. You could say that is exactly what juicing is – the process of separating the fiber from the juice. Fiber is already sorely lacking in the American diet. Juicing proponents claim that juicing is a way to provide far more nutrients than you would otherwise be able to ingest if you ate whole fruits and vegetables. Of course this is true because the nutrient content is not diluted so to speak by the solid matter – which is the fiber.
A simple solution is to liquify fruits and vegetables rather than juice them. With a powerful enough blender you can essentially turn fruits and vegetables into a smoothie. There is no pulp clean up as there is with a blender. The blender that is know for this is the Vitamix. It is capable of liquify fruits and vegetables into a smooth drinkable texture due to the incredibly powerful motor and high blending speeds. Truly the first time I saw a Vitamix in action I was amazed. It looks simple, but it can certainly take whatever you give it and turn it into a drink. As a result all the beneficial fiber is retained.
1. Liquify rather than juice using a Vitamix juicer
2. Eat as many whole fruits and vegetables as you want.
3. Avoid meat, cheese, and products high in saturated fat as well as white starches.
4. Drink plenty of water.
The final ingredient that will ensure success is understanding your own mindset and the self-defeating behaviors that will knock you off this plan. Understanding and doing are two different things. Recruit a friend. Make a list of reasons why you want to make a lifestyle change. Take it one day at a time and make a firm, no excuses commitment that no matter what, just for that day, you will stick to your diet plan.
Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid
Bananas are comprised mostly of sugars and starches and contain almost no fiber or water. The starches in these fruits serve as binders in the digestive system, acting as a glue to make everything you’ve eaten into a sticky clump that is difficult to pass through the intestines. Furthermore, the large amounts of sugar also contribute to constipation by drawing water out of your body, dehydrating you and preventing your intestines from moving waste.
Popular vegetables in the brassica family include collard, mustard and turnip greens, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale. While these foods are a rich source of nutrients, care must be taken not to overconsume them. They are potently goitrogenic and interfere with the thyroid’s ability to absorb and use iodine. For this reason, they’re especially not recommended for people with hypothyroidism. When thyroid function is suppressed, chronic constipation is often one of the first signs.
Fruits and Vegetables to Use
Apples are one of the best fruits for constipation. They’re loaded with sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that stimulates bowel function. They’re also high in magnesium, which draws water into the intestines.
Like apples, plums contain sorbitol. They’re also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a lubricant in the intestines, aiding the defecation process.
Bedsides being rich in fiber and constipation-fighting nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, B vitamins and copper, melons are also loaded with water. These fruits can be used to add precious liquid to your juices to rehydrate your body and improve the frequency and quality of bowel movements.
Grapes are another excellent fruit to juice. They’re one of the best sources of the electrolytes minerals magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Adequate electrolyte intake is an important part of maintaining regularity.