Keto Diet Constipation Blues? Here’s What To Do
Keto diet constipation is a common complaint among those who choose to adopt this diet. Constipation is defined as having three or less bowel movements per week. If you are not having at least one bowel movement per day, you are storing toxic chemicals. You need to adopt habits to change that immediately. This article has great information that will help you fix your constipation issues while on the ketogenic diet.
In addition to not getting rid of toxic waste when you are constipated, infrequent bowel movements also leads to hard stool that can be difficult to pass. It can also lead to anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and abdominal pain. Nobody wants to deal with that!
Is constipation normal on the ketogenic diet?
Yes, constipation is normal when you first begin the keto diet. Your body is adapting to its new fuel, switching from using carbohydrates for energy to now utilizing fat. You are likely consuming significantly less fiber. Your gut bacteria is changing. Your body now has the task of figuring out how to digest all this fat you are introducing. Diarrhea is also a normal response to these changes, especially if you are switching to keto from the Standard American Diet.
How do I fix constipation on the keto diet?
If you are struggling with constipation since beginning the keto diet, have no fear. You will be happy to know that there are many things that you can do to get relief naturally. An important part of improving your health is avoiding chemicals as much as possible. Thankfully, constipation is an issue that can be fixed without the use of modern medicine majority of the time.
The following is a list of things you can do to improve your body’s elimination process. Many of these constipation remedies will solve your diarrhea problem as well.
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Many people underestimate the role of physical activity in normalizing bowel movements. Stretching, yoga, Pilates, and jogging are all great ways to aid your body in the detoxification process. You do not have to do hardcore workouts. Your goal is to activate your lymphatic system and encourage your body to eliminate all the yucky stuff. A rebounder can help immensely with that as well.
Drink more liquids.
You probably already know this one. Sufficient liquid intake is crucial for avoiding and fixing constipation. When you do not drink enough liquids, your body is forced to use liquid from your stool (eww!). This causes your stool to harden up. This becomes a cycle that results in your discomfort.
For some people, drinking a healthy amount of water can seem impossible. Here are some simple tips for increasing liquid intake:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice in your water
- Make herbal infusions
- Make infused water
- Have soup more often
- Make your smoothies more liquid
- Get fresh coconut water (or frozen without any additives or pasteurization, if possible)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice added to your water helps constipation by increasing stomach acid. Stomach acid is important for you to digest your meals. Apple cider vinegar (with mother, please!) provides the same effect.
Soup made with meat broth has a soothing effect on the gut. Meat broth also helps coat the gut lining, which is a powerful aid for digestion and elimination.
Avoid inferior fats.
Hopefully you’ve done your research and cut vegetable oils and the like out of your diet. Fats from pastured animals should be a staple in your diet, and they are easier on your digestive system than fats like canola, corn or vegetable oil.
Eat more vegetables.
Low carb veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) will provide your body with much needed roughage for helping things get going. Drizzle with good quality salt and olive oil.
As stated earlier, when you begin the keto diet and move away from eating carbs, your body’s microbiota begins to change. Probiotics and fermented foods help to bridge the gap and make sure you have the proper yeasts and bacteria working away to make sure your food is fully digestible, the nutrients are highly bioavailable, and the elimination process is working efficiently.
The probiotic I recommend most is Body Biotics. I have been recommending it for years because it is high quality, free of allergens and unnecessary fillers, and most importantly it actually works. You start with a tiny dose and eventually bump it up to 1 or more capsules per day. The capsules are easy to open–if you don’t want to consume the capsule itself you can empty the tasteless powder on your tongue or into a drink. This is the probiotic I used for my son starting before he could swallow pills, so it was very helpful to be able to add the powder to homemade applesauce. I am glad it is finally available on Amazon Prime so it is more accessible for all. Click here to try it now.
If you are already at your max net carbs, you’ll be delighted to know that you will get large amounts of probiotics just from the liquid in a ferment! Fermentation also breaks down vegetables, and you can choose to stick to low carb veggie ferments. Try this sauerkraut or spicy daikon recipe for a yummy addition that will help you to get your gut in order.
Up Your Vitamin C
Depending on what your daily diet looks like, you may need to include more Vitamin C in your diet. Smoothies or a Vitamin C supplement can help.
Get More Magnesium
Some of the symptoms of low magnesium include difficulty sleeping, brain fog, muscle cramps and constipation. Epsom salt baths, magnesium oil spray, and magnesium supplements can help with this. I personally prefer skin absorption for magnesium because it bypasses the gut and is easier for your body to utilize.
Pay attention to resistant starch
Resistant starch is a complex carbohydrate that isn’t broken down in the small intestines by amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down starch. Resistant starch is a prebiotic that feeds beneficial flora, and is converted to butyrate. It has been noted that butyrate improves insulin sensitivity (source).
Aside from these benefits, resistant starch has a light laxative effect that can speed up transit time and ease constipation, without resulting in diarrhea. My favorite source of resistant starch is green bananas. One green banana, however, contains 25-30g net carbs. So you would only want to consume 1/4-1 finger per day depending on your daily net carb allowance. Even that small amount would be very helpful for moving bowels.
Take a tablespoon of Chia or Flax seeds
Consider detoxifying with Psyllium husk/Diatomaceous Earth
Kiss inferior quality dairy goodbye
Most adults can’t digest lactose and pasteurized dairy is stripped of the lactase enzyme naturally found in raw milk to help us digest lactose. Substitute pasteurized milk and cheese with raw dairy, milk kefir, and yogurt with live active cultures.
Chew your food well
It is such a simple thing, but one often overlooked by many. However, you have teeth for a reason. Chewing your food properly ensures that the digestive process occurs as it should. Enzymes in your saliva begin breaking down the food you are eating. The process of chewing also kick-starts a process that signals other parts of your body to gear up for proper digestion and elimination. There are several benefits to chewing your food properly, and helping avoid constipation is one of them.
Nettle infusions are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium. When included in your diet regularly, it supports immune function and regular bowel movements.
When should I see a doctor?
If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, excessive blood in stool, or not seeing progress with these remedies within a week (some can take longer to have an effect due to the current backed up stool), then you may want to consider seeing a doctor.