Now that you’ve determined that you’re at risk for Vacation Constipation, how can you prepare in advance?
- Refrain from alcohol for a couple of days before your trip. Alcohol can dehydrate the colon.
- Increase fiber a few days prior to taking off. Women need at least 25 grams of fiber a day and men need 38 grams. Americans usually get half of this amount. Increase fiber slowly since the body needs to build up its resistance to higher amounts over time.
- Exercise. Move around as much as you can prior to travel, whether it’s walking or going to the gym. By increasing movement, you will increase blood circulation—this is helpful for the health of your colon! Doing jumping jacks for one to two minutes will increase blood flow, instantly.
- Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. By getting in a regular routine, you you set your colon up for normal contractions
- Drink water—and lots of it. Traveling can dehydrate, especially on the plane. When traveling by bus, car, or train, many travelers fear visiting the bathroom too often and thus do not drink enough. Your body needs adequate fluids for proper bowel movements.
- Get plenty of rest. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep (seven to eight hours per night). Having too little sleep will affect the body and your bowel movements.
- Supplement. Psyllium husk and fiber capsules come in a pill form. Usually there are about 4g fiber per serving. If you choose to take these, make sure to ingest one to two cups of water simultaneously to keep things moving!
- Bring food—at least for the ride there, or for the first few days. When we travel, our typical diet can drastically change. You may find yourself at a fast-food station eating a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, or on a plane with a four ounce cup of water, a dried up meatloaf and a side of oily elbow noodles. These types of food are cheap, high in calories, high in saturated fat and low in fiber. Pack your own snacks or make your own sandwich. If you are traveling for a week or so, bring a few packages of oatmeal. The soluble fiber from the oats will bind the contents of the colon and the insoluble fiber will help move bulk through the intestines.
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