Super Bowl, meet Super Bowels.
Let’s face it: Many of us watch the Super Bowl for the ads and halftime show. So it comes as no surprise that every year, the best ads get more coverage than the actual game in the days thereafter. This year was no exception. However, the ads that stood out did so because they talked about something we would have never expected from such a mainstream event.
The “Super Bowel” Ads
Normally the big food manufacturers hit it big, but this year a byproduct of the food industry is actually making headline news. Rather than discussing colas and snacks, we’re actually speaking about constipation and diarrhea.
You read that right. While we’re typing this, the Twittersphere is already exploding with mockery of both. Gut health is no longer a laughing matter, and as the Super Bowl proves, digestive issues affect millions of people.
Our own HUM survey found that 29% of our consumers suffer from constipation, while 10% suffer from diarrhea, and 5% from both. While the root cause of constipation can vary greatly, as the ad below highlights, many people suffering from constipation do so as a side effect of opioids, which are found in painkillers.
The commercial that speaks about diarrhea doesn’t go into causes, though it spends a good amount of time on side effects. But research shows that excessive intake of antibiotics, whether via prescription or ingested through meat, wreaks havoc with your friendly gut bacteria and therefore your gastrointestinal tract.
Ironically in both cases, the solution is yet another drug to be added into the mix. It comes at no surprise since Big Pharma companies can afford Super Bowl ads, and they’ve identified yet another lucrative niche within the growing digestive health epidemic.
At HUM, we have a different philosophy. To keep our digestion balanced and healthy, a trip to the doctor might not be what the doctor ordered! Best of all, many of these remedies are virtually free. They benefit not only your digestion but also your entire well-being. It ultimately comes down to lifestyle and nutrition choices that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Natural Remedies for Constipation & Diarrhea
Both kinds of fiber are essential: soluble fiber creates bulk, while insoluble fiber decreases transit time in the large intestine. In other words, the more of both kinds of fiber you eat, the easier and smoother going to be bathroom will be. Soluble fiber is found in whole grains, fruit and vegetable flesh, and some supplements. Insoluble fiber is found in the outer layer of most whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
While most of us know that fiber is important in keeping you regular, it’s really the combination of both fiber and water. Increasing fiber without increasing water intake is a recipe for constipation disaster. As fiber moves through your GI tract, it swells. Too much swelling without enough fluids pushing it through can cause blockages. I recommend at least eight to ten glasses of fluids per day.
You have to move it to lose it. Exercise helps the body and digestive system function optimally. If you aren’t active already, make sure to perform 15-20 minutes of aerobic exercise a day to avoid GI blockages. Twists, which place pressure on the ascending and descending colon, can also get things moving. Try lying on your back with your knees bent. Gently lower your knees to one side while turning your gaze to the other. You can pull your knees closer into your chest for an additional nudge. Inhale for five breaths, then switch sides.
Not only are digestive enzymes critical in reducing bloat; they also make the entire digestive process easier. The more broken down food is once it enters the small intestine (from the stomach), the less work your body has to do to absorb nutrients and push the remaining waste out.
As a registered dietitian, I think everyone should be on a probiotic. If you’ve suffered from chronic constipation for any length of time, I’d bet that your GI bacteria is out of whack. HUM’s Gut Instinct is my favorite daily probiotic thanks to all the right strains and 25 billion friendly organisms.