Movement and Digestion: How to get your bowel moving

Uncomfortable bowel movements happen to everyone. We often don’t consider fiber, or just don’t know about it. But there are many other contributing factors such as gastrointestinal illnesses, dehydration, and lack-of-movement between meals. So far, we’ve discussed how dehydration and a low-fiber diet can play a role in constipation. So, we’re going to focus on movement and digestion! 

How Food Travels Through Your Body

What digestion can look like. A man holding his stomach and a drawn white outline of the body's digestive system.
Your digestive system is more than just your stomach and colon!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about digestion.

Digestion doesn’t start at the stomach. In fact, it starts as soon as you place food into your mouth. And the more you chew, the easier it is for your organs to break down the food you eat. Then, once the food is broken down, your body absorbs the nutrients and tells them where to go. So, what happens if you aren’t eating nutritious meals? 

“Processed and fast foods are often high in fat, making them difficult to digest. They are also rich in sugar, which may upset the balance of bacteria in the gut.”

When your diet is high in processed and fast foods, you’re depriving your body of key nutrients. Also, your body doesn’t agree with processed foods. That’s more work or overload for your gallbladder and kidneys.

Anyways, we all know the last part of digestion, bowel movements💩 

We’ve all experienced uncomfortable bowel movements, but probably don’t have the answer to our troubles. While the contributing factors may vary by person, we’re here to discuss how movement can help!

Why Movement is Important for Digestion

Movement. A low shot of a person's feet in athletic shoes talking a walk surrounded by Cherry Blossom Trees.
Getting some movement in after a meal tells your digestive tract muscles to get moving too!

Now, we’re not saying to do extreme cardio after a heavy meal. Actually, we don’t recommend that at all. We’re talking about light and easy movements such as going for a 10-15min walk and here’s why!

Moving around and using your muscles after you eat triggers peristalsis [peh·ruh·staal·suhs]. Peristalsis is a series of wave-like muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract.”

So, if the muscles in your digestive tract are moving, then so is everything in there too! Which means by moving your body, your digestive system is getting a push of encouragement from your muscles. 

So, “How long after a meal should I do light exercise?”

Well, this doctor recommends waiting about 1 hour after your meal. 

Light Exercises We Recommend

10-15 Minute Walk

As mentioned earlier, walking for at least 10-15 minutes around the block or on a treadmill will trigger peristalsis!

Belly Breathing

But did you know there is a type of breathing that also aids in digestion? It’s called diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. Basically, instead of inhaling with your chest, you inhale with your stomach. This form of breathing helps with digestion because it puts your body into a “rest-and-digest” state. It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety and improve the feeling of relaxation. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Sit with legs crossed. Make sure your spine is aligned. Head over heart, heart over pelvis.
  2. Place one hand on the middle of the upper chest.
  3. Place the other hand on the stomach, just beneath the rib cage but above the diaphragm.
  4. To inhale, slowly breathe in through the nose, drawing the breath down toward the stomach. The stomach should push upward against the hand, while the chest remains still.
  5. To exhale, tighten the abdominal muscles and let the stomach fall downward while exhaling through pursed lips. Again, the chest should remain still.

Yoga/Stretching

“People believe yoga aids in digestive health by reducing stress, increasing circulation, and promoting physical movement, or motility, of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.”

There is a form of yoga that encourages belly breathing with each movement. So, if you are up for it, try it!

We are no yoga instructors, only yoga do-ers! So, here’s our recommended yoga tutorial that focuses on digestion!

If you like this blog about your body, check out our Water and Digestion Blog!

This Jelly is Sugar-Free and Easy to Make

🍇Jump to Recipe🍇

If you’ve been on the search for a sugar-free jelly/jam then this recipe is for you! Our friend Briana crafted this delicious recipe using our Berry Flavored Psyllium Fiber Powder! Check out her instagram page filled with many more sugar-free and gluten-free recipes!

This recipe isn’t just sugar-free but also contains all-natural fiber! So, whether you’re on the keto diet or just want to decrease your sugar intake this jelly is a great choice. 

The Benefits of Homemade Jellies and Jams

Sure, you can find sugar-free jams in stores. But do you want synthetic color additives or food dyes made from petroleum? What about hidden ingredients? Yeah, we didn’t think so.

No Sugar

Most store-bought jellies and jams contain more sugar than fruit. To fully enjoy a delicious and fruity jam, it needs to be more fruit than sugar. Hold the guilt please! 

No High Fructose Corn Syrup

Although HFCS is made from corn, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Actually, it’s quite the opposite! Experts believe diets with high levels of HFCS are a key component in obesity along with numerous other health effects! You can read more about the negative effects of HFCS here

No Artificial Food Coloring

Some of the most famous house-hold jelly brands, contain synthetic color additives, like Red 40.

“What is Red 40 anyways?” Well, it’s food dye made from petroleum that is approved by the FDA but it also has shown to have negative effects on the immune system. You can read all about this and more here! 

Added Nutrients like Fiber

Have you ever thought about adding all-natural fiber to your homemade jam recipes? Probably not, because your fiber is just one boring flavor, like orange.

Well not with Naturlax, we have so many fun fruity flavors like Berry! Since our fiber powder acts as a thickening agent, it’s perfect to get the desired jelly texture. Not only this, but now your jam has an added nutrient! Can store-bought do that?!

If you like this sugar-free recipe, check out our Keto No-Bake Energy Bites.

Sugar-Free Berry Jelly

Our friend Briana Karcho, crafted this sugar-free and nutritious berry jelly that's so easy to make and delicious! The best part, this jelly doesn't contain any artificial or harmful ingredients! Which makes it perfect for health conscious moms, keto dieters, and diabetics.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Whisk
  • Resealable Jar

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Mixed Berries: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Keto Sweetener
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Berry Flavored Psyllium Husk

Instructions
 

  • In small sauce pan over low heat, add in frozen mixed berries. Cover the lid for 3-minutes and let the steam begin to melt the berries.
  • Add in Vanilla and Keto Sweetener, then stir to combine. Begin to smash the berries together with a whisk
  • Next, add in the Naturlax Berry Psyllium Husk and mix!
  • Lastly, add in approx. 1/4cup of water or more until desired consistency achieved.
  • Simmer on low for 5 minutes to thicken
  • Spoon the berry jelly into a clean jar, cover and refrigerate. Suggested use within 2-3 weeks, it can also be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator before using.
Keyword Jam, Jelly, Keto Breakfast, Sugar Free, Sugar Free Breakfast
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Why Water is Great for Digestion and Overall Health

Have you had any water today? Well, bottoms up! Proper hydration is an important part of every diet, and we are going to tell you why. Basically, water is great for your overall health and digestion but we’re going to share more details. 

Hydration is Digestion’s BFF

One of water’s many roles in our bodies is aiding in digestion! Fluids help move things along in our digestive tract, just like fiber does. But fiber never works alone, it always needs the help of proper hydration! 

Check out our blog post High Fiber Diet, to learn more about fiber!

Dehydration is one of the most common reasons behind constipation. Without enough fluids, your digestive tract can’t easily move or break down food. The large intestine will begin to absorb water from your food waste which leads to uncomfortable poops. Not giving your body enough fluids can really harm your digestive tract and bathroom experience. And if you don’t believe us, then here’s a study done with elderly adults: 

“ poor intake of water or excessive loss of fluid and electrolytes from the body such as during vomiting, high sweat rates or from renal disease can reduce water content of the stools and lead to constipation.”

While H2O is helping to break down foods, it’s also helping your body absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. Water is a true multi-tasker! 

So far, water aids in digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. What a pal! 

Water is an important part of everyone's diet.
Proper hydration plays an important role in preventing constipation.

How Much Water Should I be Drinking

Your body needs plenty of fluids because of the many ways our body uses them. Your kidneys, skin, brain, stomach, heart, colon, and your entire body needs water. So, this what experts suggest

Did you know we also intake water from the foods we eat! Proper hydration isn’t only about chugging a gallon of water but also incorporating foods with a high-water content. These can be foods like watermelon, cauliflower, tomatoes, and more

Proper Hydration is Good for Your Body and Brain

Proper hydration is important for regulating body temperature and helping brain function!

In warmer climates, drinking enough water is crucial for your body temperature because of sweating. Sweating’s role is to cool down your body temperature and it can’t do that without enough fluids. 

Some say constipation is a “summer disease” because how easy it is to become dehydrated in the summer months. So, drink more fluids in the summer and warmer climates to avoid constipation and keep your body cool. 

Now, let’s talk about your brain. Researchers have studied how dehydration affects cognitive function. Here’s what they found: 

“ Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills, as well as assessment of the subjective state. “

In order to perform at your very best, don’t forget to include plenty of fluids!

It's important to listen to your body if you are feeling dehydrated.
In warmer climates, its especially important to keep your body hydrated!

Hydration is Key

When it comes to digestion and the overall upkeep for your body, water is key! You can increase your water intake by incorporating foods with a high-water content and of course, drinking plenty of water.