Get things moving!

Having regular bowel movements often makes people feel lighter, more energised, and ready to enjoy the next meal! Passing regular bowel movements is a primary route of detoxification, so has many other health benefits for the body. If you're not passing stools regularly, you're unable to completely empty your bowel or your stools are hard and lumpy, below are some steps to implement to help get your gut back on track.

  • Eat More Fibre – Increasing your fibre intake is the first step to addressing constipation, as this helps to bulk the stool, applying pressure to the walls of the gut, stimulating peristalsis (the contraction of muscles which propel stools through the digestive tract). Easy ways to do this include:


Having oats, such as porridge or soaked overnight oats, for breakfast topped with two big spoonful’s of milled flaxseeds and stewed apples or pears.


Switching from white to wholegrain varieties of rice, bread and pasta.


Adding tins of beans (such as cannellini, haricot or kidney) to salads and soups or dishes such as cottage or shepherd’s pie and lasagne.


Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake to 2 fruit and at least 5 veg a day. Ideally half your plate at main meals should be made up of non-starchy vegetables.


In particular, increase your intake of prebiotic fibres from foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, slightly under-ripe bananas, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus as prebiotics help to feed beneficial species of bacteria in the gut.



  • Take a Fibre Supplement – If you need some extra help meeting the recommended 30g of fibre a day, you could also consider using fibre supplements such as psyllium husk, which act to help bulk out the stools further and absorb water, making the stools softer and easier to pass. Bulk-forming fibre supplements such as psyllium are preferable to stimulant laxatives (which cannot be used long-term), as they most closely mimic the natural mechanisms that promote bowel movements.



  • Stay hydrated - Maintaining fluid intake is also important (especially if increasing fibre through diet or supplements) to keep stools soft and easy to pass. Aim to drink around 2 litres of water a day (more if exercising) . An easy way to tell if you are drinking enough is the colour of your urine, which should be a light straw colour. Flavouring water with fruits such as sliced lemon, lime or orange or herbs such as mint or basil can make it more interesting to drink. Any herbal teas you drink can also be counted towards your water intake.


  • Unkink your Colon – Whilst many people dread the hole in the floor toilets sometimes found abroad, what most people don’t realise is that these are actually much better for passing stools. This is because the crouching position helps to straighten the colon, giving stools an easy passage. Western seated toilets on the other hand, cause the colon to kink and bend, meaning people have to strain much harder, increasing the risk of haemorrhoids and piles. One way to emulate the crouching position and straighten the colon when using a seated toilet is to raise your feet on a small stool and lean forward slightly. If in a public toilet where a stool isn’t available, bring your feet onto their tip-toes and lean further forwards. Many people find that just adjusting their position on the toilet in this way can make a big difference to their discomfort.


  • Reduce Stress – Many constipation sufferers see a worsening of digestive symptoms when they are stressed. This is perhaps no surprise given that stress essentially shuts down the digestive system, instead re-directing energy to systems and organs of the body that are useful in fighting or fleeing from a perceived threat. Whilst it can be difficult to do, prioritising your mental health by taking steps each day to reduce stress. This could be getting away from your desk at lunch to take a walk, engaging in other gentle to moderate physical activity (which will in itself help with constipation), downloading a mindfulness meditation app onto your phone, taking a bath and getting to bed early or seeking professional support, such as from a cognitive behavioural therapist, to help you better deal with stress.