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Essential Fatty Acids Constipation

Making Positive Changes

Do you find yourself becoming prone to constipation? Maybe it’s time to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. The average North American diet is full of extras—extra large portions, extra fats, extra sweets, and extra calories in general. Foods our parents used to allow us to eat on occasion, as a special treat, have now become staples. 100 million Americans suffer from some digestive disease or disorder. Let’s take a quick look at some good habits to develop:

essential fatty acids constipationExercise. Find an activity you enjoy and start getting involved in life. Sedentary lifestyles invite constipation. We need to exercise to supply fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the intestines constantly, or they lose their ability to function well. We should all make exercise a number one priority in our lives.

Fiber. About 2-3 tablespoons worth in a day of fiber is important to add bulk to the stool. Fiber can be easily obtained from eating whole grain wheat breads (not bleached or enriched), fresh fruit and vegetables (including the skins of apples, potatoes, etc.), bran cereals, salads, and wild rice.

Hydration. You are probably tired of hearing about drinking 8 to 10 glasses of purified water a day. Worthy changes bear repeating, however, as repetition helps instill good habits. Here’s one you may not have heard though: many people swear that drinking 5 glasses of hot water a day can keep constipation away. Steaming, herbal teas are great for this reason as well in addition to their other healthful benefits.

Bathroom Habits. If the only time you can get away from everything is by sitting on the toilet to read the newspaper, it’s time to start another habit. Sitting for too long, especially when you are constipated, adds pressure and strain to the nerves and muscles in the anus. If you need to get away just take a walk. Try to bowel movements at the same time every day. To avoid constipation you should never “hold it.” Go when you feel the urge to go to promote natural digestive function.

Essential Fatty Acids

One of the best and most important changes you can make to your diet is to include essential fatty acids. They are called essential because we need them for optimal health, but the body does not produce them. For example, take between 1 and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil every day. If you find you can’t get used to the taste (it has a nutty, somewhat bitter flavor), try adding it to a breakfast smoothie or mix it with something you do like.

Being told to add some fat to their diet puzzles most people. Many of us have been brought up to believe all fat is bad. Society has a phobia about fat, but we must learn to differentiate between beneficial and bad sources of fat, and start adding essential fatty acids into our diets if we want to be healthy.

Experts believe about 80 percent of Americans don’t intake sufficient amounts of essential fatty acids. Some even believe this contributes to the prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

When it comes to our modern food supply, essential fatty acids seem to have mysteriously vanished from the menu. Trans-fatty acids and hydrogenated oils (such as vegetable oil) have replaced the good fats. Margarine is a prime example—it contains both hydrogenated and trans-fatty acids.

Whether you are trying to resolve a problem with constipation or just want to improve your overall health, avoid processed oils and start utilizing good sources of essential fatty acids.

Sources of EFA’s

Most physicians encourage people to obtain essential fatty acids from the food rather than supplements. For example, instead of taking fish oil, try eating salmon or another oily fish at least once a week.

Linoleic Acid (Omega 6 family) is found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and seeds in addition to fish. Safflower, sunflower, evening primrose, and wheat germ oil are also sources of linoleic acids. Scientists believe we eat too many fatty acids and not enough from Alpha-linolenic acid group or the Omega 3 family.

This beneficial group includes the aforementioned fish oils and the following:

  • Flaxseeds (also known as linseeds) contain twice as much omega 3 as fish
  • Mustard seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Grains
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Walnut oil

Without Essential Fatty Acids Constipation Can Occur

Symptoms of EFA’s Deficiency

Nutritional professionals are starting to link health problems with a defiency to essential fatty acids. There is no denying that adding essential fatty acids (EFA’s) to the diet will help ward off constipation. Here are some possible signs and symptoms of EFA deficiency:

  • Aching joints
  • Angina (chest pains)
  • Memory problems
  • Dry mouth and tear ducts
  • Dry skin
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Cracked and brittle nails
  • High blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity
  • Gas and bloating

Ways to Relieve Essential Fatty Acids Constipation

Many people have found that adding essential fatty acids to their diet has not only helped alleviate constipation, but they look and feel better. Isn’t that what positive changes are about? Please remember and practice these following tips:

  1. Make a real effort to start exercising more, even if it’s just something as simple as walking after dinner.
  2. Include more live fiber in your diet, preferably from fresh organic fruits, grains, raw vegetables, cereals, etc.
  3. Drink plenty of fresh purified water, and if you need a little more flavor try hot herbal teas instead of reaching for the colas and other sugary drinks.
  4. Don’t ignore digestive health—take measures to increase both the frequency and ease of your bowel movements.
  5. Add oily fish and seeds to the menu. Avoiding the problem of essential fatty acids constipation can be as easy as just providing more of what your body’s missing.

Constipation is a common, and potentially debilitating, problem we all may have to deal with at some point; but it doesn’t have to be. You can help alleviate the symptoms and live a better life by improving your diet, maintaining physical fitness, and fulfilling your body’s requirements for optimum health. With a little effort, you can notice a real difference in your life!

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