One of the most valuable things that I learned while studying nutrition was the importance of detoxification. One of the ways the body eliminates toxins/waste is through the colon.
Many people in our society are struggling to achieve optimal elimination through this channel. All you have to do is take a trip to the pharmacy to see that there is an entire shelf dedicated to laxatives and fibre supplements. Constipation is big business....
Unfortunately, laxatives are not addressing the root cause of constipation and can actually harm the gastrointestinal tract if used long-term. There is a long list of possible causes of constipation ranging from hormonal, emotional, lack of exercise, structural problems of the intestine, allergies and dietary. In this post we will concentrate on the dietary aspects. Specifically, low fibre intake as one of the many reasons why constipation occurs.
How much fibre should you be getting every day?
Brace yourself. A minimum of 30 g and ideally, closer to 40-50 g of fibre per day to give bulk to the stool for an easier passing through the large intestine. How much natural fibre are you getting? Obtaining fibre through foods is not that difficult. We just have to look to whole foods!
Let’s get an overview of the fibre content of some foods:
- 1 large carrot- 4 g
- 1 medium apple- 4 g
- ¼ cup oats- 4 g
- 2 tbsp ground flax- 5.4 g
- ½ cup quinoa- 6 g
- 1 pear- 4 g
- 1 cup spinach- 4.3 g
- 1 cup squash- 5.75 g
- 1 cup brown rice- 3.51 g
- 1 cup kidney beans- 11.3 g
- ½ cup lentils- 7.8 g
- ½ cup beets- 2 g
What is bowel transit time?
Bowel transit time refers to how long it takes for a meal you eat to be evacuated through the colon. Ideally, you should be evacuating the meal within 18-24 hours. To find out how long your transit time is try this simple beet test. You can use plain beets or for some added deliciousness, I have included a recipe for Warm Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette.
Self test with beets to measure bowel transit time:
- Purchase three or four medium-sized organic red beets.
- Cut them up and steam or boil them until they are soft.
- Eat the beets and note the time you finished eating the beets.
- Be prepared to see the red color of the beets in your urine before you see the red in your bowel movement.
- Check and note the time you see the red/garnet color of the beets in your bowel movement and that will give you your bowel transit time.
Warm Beet Salad with Orange Dressing
Adapted from The Hungry Mouse blog site
6 red beets water 2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp fresh orange juice and ½ tsp grated orange rind 1 clove of garlic, minced sea salt chives, chopped, for garnish Serves 4 as a side or consume half if doing the beet test above.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- If the greens are attached to beets, trim them off, leaving an inch or two of stem on the beet, and reserve greens for another use.
- Give beets a good scrubbing under cold water and then put in a large baking dish. Don’t cut them or peel them. Fill dish with about a quarter-inch of cold water and cover tight with foil.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until the beets are tender with a fork (fork should pierce easily when done). Final baking time will depend on the size of your beets so check after a half hour.
- When your beets are cooked, transfer them to a plate to cool.
- Slice the beets in wedges and arrange on a serving plate.
- Put the olive oil, orange juice, orange rind and garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the beets, getting a little on each beet. Garnish with chopped chives.