In general, I think ‘eating well’ is important for health. However, what is more important is ‘excreting food well’. Even if we consume a balanced diet of nutrients such as carbohydrates, fat, and protein, if we do not properly excrete toxins such as carbon dioxide, ammonia, uric acid, and urea, our body can be exposed to various diseases. ▲Always a heavy lower abdomen ▲Frustration of not being able to relieve yourself even if you sit until your legs feel numb ▲Excessive gas coming out from time to time You must pay attention to the signals your lower abdomen gives you.
◇ ‘Senior constipation’ that reduces quality of life
You must always be careful because if your bowel movement is not smooth, your overall daily life becomes uncomfortable and furthermore, it can cause serious health problems. If constipation is left untreated, it can cause intestinal obstruction and intestinal perforation. In addition, intestinal toxins can increase inflammation and lower immunity, exposing one to various complications. Lee Dong-geun, director of Colon and Anal Surgery at Hansol Hospital, said, “When chronic constipation occurs, hardened stool repeatedly irritates the anus and colon walls, causing various colon and anal diseases.”
One in four elderly people in Korea suffers from senile constipation. This is due to aging intestinal function and reduced activity level. One of the causes is that digestion function declines as we age, and water intake decreases due to small meals. As the number of drugs and nutritional supplements taken for various diseases increases with aging, secondary constipation is more likely to occur. In quality of life assessments, people with geriatric constipation scored about 8 points lower than those without constipation (out of 100). This is similar to the decline in quality of life felt by patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
◇To solve constipation, you need to improve your body’s bowel system
Constipation is not just ‘not being able to defecate for a long time’. ▲If you exert a lot of force when defecating, ▲an unpleasant feeling in the stool, ▲abdominal bloating, ▲excessive gas, etc., this is also constipation. Constipation should also be suspected if stool comes out in small particles like rabbit poop.
Severe constipation often does not get better even with medication. If you take the medicine prescribed by the hospital, your symptoms will improve immediately, but it is not a fundamental solution. Rather, you can only rely on medicine and return to your previous lifestyle habits, increasing the risk of recurrence. Fundamentally improving the bowel system by correcting lifestyle habits that cause constipation and strengthening bowel function is of utmost importance.
◇Compound dietary fiber ‘psyllium husk’… It expands 40 times and empties out refreshingly.
Constipation in elderly people is often chronic. For chronic constipation, improving eating habits is the top priority. What can be helpful in this case is ‘psyllium husk’, which is rich in complex dietary fiber. Psyllium husk is the inner husk of plantain seeds and contains more than 80% of dietary fiber. In addition, it is a ‘composite dietary fiber’ that contains both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. When soluble dietary fiber encounters moisture, it dissolves in water and turns into jelly. It helps soften stools, and absorbs and excretes cholesterol and body wastes excreted into bile as stool passes through the intestines. Insoluble dietary fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the stomach as is. At this time, it absorbs moisture and expands up to 40 times. As a result, the volume of stool increases, stimulating the intestines and promoting intestinal movement.
In other words, the two dietary fibers contained in psyllium husk are effective in softening stools, increasing their volume, and expelling them quickly. In one study, when 170 patients with chronic constipation were given psyllium husk twice a day for two weeks, the water content of stool, weight, and total number of bowel movements increased. In addition, psyllium husk contains tannin, which decomposes neutral fat and is excellent for removing and decomposing fat in the blood. ▲A large amount of dietary fiber helps unnecessary cholesterol to be excreted rather than absorbed and ▲It slows down digestion and prevents sugar levels from suddenly rising.
◇If you want a good change, remember the ‘1:3 rule’
The formula for smooth bowel movements is the ‘1:3 rule of dietary fiber.’ ‘The ratio of 1 soluble dietary fiber to 3’ insoluble dietary fiber helps with constipation. Psyllium husk consists of 70% soluble dietary fiber and 30% insoluble dietary fiber. It needs to be filled with insoluble dietary fiber to show its true value. This is where brown rice helps. Brown rice is a representative insoluble dietary fiber, and when consumed together with psyllium husk, the perfect ratio of the ‘1:3 rule of dietary fiber’ is achieved.
◇I eat a lot of vegetables, but why am I constipated?
More and more elderly people are choosing vegetables rather than meat for their health. Unfortunately, many people suffer from senile constipation even if they eat a lot of vegetables. This is because the food eaten was not sufficiently digested in the body. As we age, our digestive function declines, so even if we consume ingredients full of nutrients, they are not fully absorbed into the body. If you suffer from constipation even if you eat a lot of vegetables, you should pay attention to strengthening your digestive function.
Brown rice helps with food digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body. In particular, when brown rice is fermented, a large amount of enzymes are produced, and these enzymes contribute to digestive activity. This is because fermented brown rice breaks down food into a form useful for digestion and absorption of nutrients in the intestines.
◇ Psyllium husk without side effects, the longer you use it, the better the effect.
To resolve constipation, ▲regular eating habits and sleep times ▲moderate exercise ▲water intake are essential. In addition, you should regularly consume foods rich in dietary fiber, such as psyllium husk or brown rice. Psyllium husk and brown rice are not prescription drugs that improve symptoms as soon as you eat them. It is important to improve the body’s excretion system by taking it consistently for at least six months.
Psyllium husk has no special side effects. However, since it has the property of attracting moisture, it must be consumed with a sufficient amount of water. This is because if you drink less water, your body may absorb moisture to expand.