Getting Regular

Did you know that you should have 2 to 3 bowel movements per day? The idea is that it takes 24 hours for your food to go through your digestive tract, so if you eat 3 meals per day, ideally you should have 3 bowel movements per day.

In order to have regular bowel movements, your body needs two things: water and fiber. The colon must be hydrated. One way to hydrate the colon is by taking magnesium. Magnesium helps bring water into the colon, ensuring hydration without becoming habit forming. Also, aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.

Fiber is also very important. The ideal amount of fiber should be 30 to 40 grams per day, and many of us get less than half of that. Fiber works to create bulk in the colon and to tone the colon so the muscles are strong. Getting fiber from different sources will ensure that you are getting a variety of soluble and insoluble fiber. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are key sources of fiber and should be a regular part of a healthy diet. If you are having a hard time getting fiber, a fiber supplement can also help. If you haven’t been taking in a lot of fiber, increase slowly. Getting a lot of fiber all at once can be a cause for some minor discomfort.

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December 2010
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