Changing some of our habits is often enough to overcome bloating and constipation.
Eating more fibre
Non-degradable by digestive enzymes, the fibres in food are found intact in the colon, where they activate transit.
By absorbing up to 25 times their weight in water, they increase hydration and stool volume.
And everything gets better!
All you have to do is gradually increase your fibre intake to avoid uncomfortable swelling: eat fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods every day: wholegrain bread or rusks, bran, rye, cereals, oat flakes, mueslis, brown rice, even powdered wheat bran?
In case of colic: the fibres in cooked fruits and vegetables, softened by cooking, are less irritating, as are ripe and peeled fruits.
White rice, carrots, bananas, quinces and blueberries, which are known to be antidiarrhoeal, are good in reasonable quantities.
Pulses, cabbage, salsify and artichokes should be limited.
Drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day.
The drink helps to hydrate the intestinal contents, which progress better in the colon (normal stools consist of 70 to 80% water).
Magnesium-rich mineral waters (Hépar, Contrex) and fruit juices have a slight laxative action.
Half a litre of tea per day, especially a long infusion, is sufficient because the tannins are constipating.
On the other hand, the active ingredients in laxative herbal teas, such as senna or buckthorn, irritate the intestine and reinforce constipation.
Consuming lactic ferments
Yoghurts and other fermented milks improve transit thanks to their living lactic ferments (known as probiotics), which reach the colon, where they join the naturally present intestinal flora.
As a result, they stimulate the fermentation of fibres to give rise to compounds that activate digestion.
The ideal: two fermented milks among the three or four daily dairy products necessary for a good calcium intake.
Fermented milks with bifidus seem particularly effective, but good old natural yoghurts do the trick.
Getting moving and relaxing
If a sedentary lifestyle promotes constipation, physical activity is logically conducive to good transit!
It’s decided, this year, I’m walking for short trips as soon as I can.
And once or twice a week, I practice a sport that strengthens the abdominal muscles: swimming, cycling, apartment biking, gymnastics or walking…
Against constipation: relaxation – acupuncture, yoga… – or even simple deep breathing coupled with an abdominal massage are often very effective.
If you are prone to these disorders, try to have a regular bowel movement, every day, preferably after a meal.
If this is not enough, consult your doctor rather than swallowing aggressive laxatives.