Constipation. Who among us has not been there? For the extremely fortunate who have not been there, constipation refers to the extreme difficulty in emptying the bowels usually associated with hardened stool. It’s been linked to stress, diet, certain medication and physical inactivity as causal factors among others. Here are some natural remedies should you find yourself in this extremely uncomfortable situation.
Drink a lot of water. Hydration facilitates digestion so when the body receives enough water, the digestive system is able to process nutrients and move waste along smoothly. Sparkling water has been found to be more effective than tap water at relieving constipation. Warm water is preferable to cold water. Lifestyle & Health: The Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Olive oil
It turns out oil lubricates just about everything. Take a teaspoon just before taking your breakfast. It works best on an empty stomach so wait until you have not eaten for a while to take it. It works by stimulating the digestive tract and lubricating the bowels. Olive oil can be substituted with cod liver oil which works just as well.
Squeeze 1 lemon into a cup of warm water and drink. The citric acid in lemon acts as a stimulant and also helps flush out toxins and undigested material that may have built up along the walls of the colon. Water also helps in getting things to move along. 7 Amazing Things That Will Happen If You Drink Lemon Water Every Day
- Baking soda and water
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a quarter cup of warm water. This relieves the pain and pressure associated with constipation. The quicker you drink the solution, the better it seems to work.
It turns out coffee is great for more than just keeping you awake. It doesn’t just stimulate you, it also stimulates the digestive system. Coffee also contains small amounts of soluble bacteria fibres that improve the balance of bacteria in the gut thus preventing constipation.
- Eat high-fibre foods
High fibre foods include oats, whole grain bread or cereal, some vegetables and fruits and rice and beans. Increasing fibre increases the bulk and consistency of bowel movements making them easier to pass as well as making them pass through the digestive system faster. The fibres present in foods such as beans and certain vegetables and fruits like apples and pears soften the stool as well as improving consistency.
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- Eat magnesium-rich foods
These include green leafy vegetables like spinach and avocado. Magnesium is essential for muscle health and aids in the movement of food along the digestive tract. Magnesium works to direct water to the bowels, softening the stool thus making it easier to move. Low magnesium consumption has been linked to increased incidences of constipation. Lifestyle: 7 Benefits Of Adding Avocados To Your Diet
It seems it always comes back to this as the solution for nearly any ailment. Light exercise such as walking, jogging, yoga, swimming and dancing can encourage bowel movements because they increase the blood flowing throughout your abdomen.
The foods to avoid include fried foods, pasteurized dairy products and alcohol. Fried foods slow down the movement of food through the intestines essentially clogging up digestion. Dairy products can lead to constipation for lactose intolerant people and alcohol increases urine production and fluid loss which can worsen constipation. If you must take alcohol, drink very little and drink plenty of water at the same time.
Check out this piece on natural ways to relieve an upset stomach. Also check out How To Prevent A Bloated Stomach