Most often, opening up to someone that you have not been able to “poop” for some time can really be embarrassing, but constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems which can occur in all age groups, from newborns to elderly. Experts say that at least 4.5 million people (mostly women) suffer from constipation symptoms that warrant medical attention. This means that most people either go to the toilet less often than usual to empty their bowels, or pass hard or painful stools (faeces) and happens fewer than once every two days.
The causes of constipation vary. It may include:
- Not having enough water in your body (dehydration)
- Not eating enough fiber
- Hormonal changes especially during pregnancy
- Sudden changes in lifestyle, including aging and tourism
- Spinal injuries
- Some medications for high blood pressure and some drugs including painkillers and diuretics
- Stress or insomnia
If you often suffer from constipation, you are probably aware of some laxatives that come in pills, capsules, syrups or suppositories that you buy from local drugstores or pharmacies. A laxative, purgative or aperient loosens the stool but did you know that it can be anything— fruits, vegetables, seeds, oils, drinks etc? Basically it is a substance induces bowel movements. Ideally, laxatives should only be used for short periods of time until symptoms of constipation ease. Before you run to the pharmacy, give these inexpensive natural remedies a try because it offers a gentle cure without all of the harmful side effects of over-the-counter drugs.
Proper hydration is necessary for normal bowl movements. “Water basically lubricates everything and softens the stool,” says Ganjhu. Drinking water, fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas can help you stay hydrated and trigger a free bowel movement.
Get Active (Exercise)
If you lead a sedentary life, your intestines will become weak and stool will not be able to pass through. However, exercises, such as brisk walking or jogging can encourage bowel movements by increasing blood flow throughout your abdomen and allow food to move more easily through your digestive system.
Lack of fiber is one of the major reasons for constipation, hence increasing your daily fiber intake can help you have free bowls. Beans is rich in fiber, a meal containing beans shares many similar benefits as one containing prunes. The fiber keeps stool soft, and the protein has added benefits for growth and repair of bodily tissues. Beans also possess nutrients essential for muscle health and function. For many people, beans may be easier to incorporate into their daily meal plans than prunes.
Extra virgin olive oil, Almond oil, Castor oil or Coconut oils are not only healthy to use, they are laxative too! It stimulates the digestive system that helps better functioning of colon. Consuming some olive oil on a regular basis can also prevent future problems. Here is how to use it, drink one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on an empty stomach. If you forget, wait and take it at least two hours after you eat. If you find it difficult to take or swallow the raw olive oil then mix thoroughly with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Lemon juice is also a natural laxative, so this might be the perfect combination to better the colon functions. You may do this till you get rid of the constipation or can make this a habit so that you never get constipation.
Use Psyllium Husk
This is an excellent natural laxative. It is obtained from the plant ‘Plantago Ovata’ and very rich in fiber (insoluble.) This insoluble fiber works by increasing the bulk of your stools, which means it helps the stool soak up water in your intestine and makes bowel movements easier which in turn relieves constipation. Mix well 1-2 teaspoon of psyllium husk in warm water and drink after your dinner or give a gap of about 1 hour after having dinner. The key is to drink it before bedtime. It is important to drink a lot of water while you are taking psyllium husk.
Respond to Natures Call
If you have the urge to poop, do! Every time you wait and hold it in, your colon reabsorbs more and more fluid from your stool. This causes your poop to become hardened. If you do not have access to a bathroom throughout the day, you can try to train your body to have a bowel movement around the same time everyday. For most people, this is usually at the beginning or end of the day.
Use Baking soda
Baking soda is also very good when it comes to constipation remedies as it is a bicarbonate and allows the air to pass out from the stomach and reduce the symptoms associated with heartburn. Here is how to do it, mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a quarter cup of warm water and drink it fast because the quicker you finish drinking, the better it seems to work. Avoid this if you have high blood pressure or any heart related condition.
Avoid Processed Foods
You should also avoid processed foods like white sugar, flour, cheese and other products of the dairy. The tinned and canned foods should also be avoided to help you get free bowl movement.
Eat Leafy Green Vegetables and Legumes
High in water, fiber and magnesium, leafy green vegetables and legumes also act as natural laxatives. Magnesium is an important nutrient, About half of our magnesium stores are in our bones, and the rest work on cell functions. It plays a huge role to relieve constipation because it allows our body to naturally draw water from the gut, while relaxing the muscles in your digestive system. When you are magnesium deficient, you are likely to be constipated. Here are 10 Magnesium-rich foods.
! Consult a doctor if constipation is severe, it does not respond to home treatment, is accompanied by bleeding, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain.
! Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not follow any remedy without consulting their doctor.
Please share with us what foods you have found helpful in treating constipation in the comment session below.
…healthy foods, healthy lives.
Disclaimer: Results are may vary from person to person.
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