Have a Healthy Gut, What You Need to Know

May 14, 2013

Staying regular is a big factor in being healthy. Find out what you need to know about your gut health here

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, you should have a bowel movement at least once a day. Chronic constipation can lead to colon cancer and even Parkinson's disease. Constipation can be caused by low thyroid function, dehydration, magnesium deficiency, intestinal infections, and more. But for many people, Dr. Hyman’s simple home remedy can fix the problem forever:

Take 2 tbsp daily of ground flax seeds, which contain fiber, lignin, and omega-3 fats.

Take 150-300 mg of magnesium citrate twice daily in capsule form. You can take more if you need to go to the bathroom. If you get loose stools, cut back. If you have kidney issuess, consult your doctor.

Take daily probiotics -- 50 billion CFUs of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

Drink eight glasses of water daily.

If you don't feel better after trying this, get your thyroid checked.

The first point Dr. Hyman recommends is flax seeds which are full of fiber. Here is some more information about fiber and fiber rich foods to keep you regular and healthy! As well as helping to keep you regular, a diet rich in fiber, may lower your risk of colon and rectal cancer, and if you are watching your weight, can make you feel full longer, so you eat less. In addition, certain types of fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels and can even help to control the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal.

A study from the National Cancer Institute and the AARP recently concluded that a higher intake of dietary fiber from grains was significantly related to a lower mortality rate in both men and women. The researchers also found an inverse association between dietary fiber intake and cancer death in men. Fiber intake was associated with a significantly lowered risk of total death in both men and women.

Fiber is found in plants and although often a component of healthy foods, fiber is not actually considered a nutrient, because it alone does not contribute any calories, since it can’t be digested. There are two forms of fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and comes mostly from oats, legumes and some fruits (berries have the most) and vegetables. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation.

It’s recommended to consume between 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, but in order to avoid uneasiness in the digestive tract, be sure to increase fiber intake gradually, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. The Nutrition Facts panel on food labels can help you determine the fiber content in packaged foods. A product that is marked as being high in fiber has 5 grams or more per serving, and one that notes it is a good source of fiber has 2.5- 4.9 grams per serving. Look for ingredients such as bran, whole ground cornmeal, cracked wheat, and oatmeal.

Shopping smart for fiber rich foods: avocado, nuts, oranges, coconut, apples, blackberries, raspberries, pear, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, beets, greens, beans (red beans, adzuki beans, lentils, mung, split peas, etc.), amaranth, barley, oats, wheat bran, quinoa, root vegetable skins and flax seeds.