Constipation can be a real pain in the “you-know-what”. Thankfully, natural laxatives exist all around you that can help ease the pain and frustration of constipation, while improving your health at the same time.
Laxatives sell well at pharmacies, since most Americans experience constipation. Some experience it occasionally and others more regularly. The thing is, you don’t need to go to the pharmacy to treat constipation, and you probably shouldn’t.
Natural laxatives and home remedies can be fast-acting, easy to prepare, ingest, and they usually taste really good. Don’t let another bout of constipation ruin your day; instead try a fast-acting natural laxative.
Natural laxatives typically come as foods and herbs and are part of any healthy diet. The problem is that a healthy diet is hard to come by these days—people are stressed, short on sleep and are looking for the quickest, cheapest option. Well, this lifestyle is a major contributor to constipation. In order for your digestive system to work efficiently, you need four major components: water, fiber, magnesium and a healthy gut bacterium.
Natural Laxatives Can Relieve Even the Worst Constipation
Your body is designed to remove waste naturally, since it wants to get rid of all the things it doesn’t need. But your lifestyle and diet can make it a little more difficult. But when you give your digestive system the right tools, you can regulate bowel movements, relieve stomach pain and ease the pain and pressure of going to the bathroom. Natural laxatives are easy to include in your day and they come in a wide variety of options. Even adding one or two can easily relieve constipation quickly and painlessly:
If you want to help waste pass through your digestive system, you need to be adequately hydrated. Water is the best way to soften stool sitting in your intestines and help it move down and out. Also, it’s essential for the optimal function of fiber, the best natural laxative there is. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day to keep stool soft and on the move.
2. Flax seeds
I personally include ground flax seeds into my daily diet. A single tablespoon of ground flax seed offers two grams of fiber, and those two grams are made up of both soluble and insoluble fiber. What makes ground flax seeds so great are their versatility. You can add them to almost anything and they have virtually no flavor. Adding a tablespoon or two to a smoothie, protein shake, bowl of oats or even adding it to baked goods like muffins, pizza dough or bread is as easy as can be, and it won’t affect the taste at all.
Flax seeds are a natural laxative because the soluble and insoluble fiber in them adds bulk to your stool to help it pass; they also form a gel around the stool to help it slide through more easily. If you’re going to include flax seed into your diet, make sure you drink more water, too. The fiber in the flax seeds will only work its magic if you’re adequately hydrated.
3. Chia seeds
Like flax seeds, chia seeds are a great source of fiber and an easy way to get more in your diet. If you thought the two grams of fiber per tablespoon from ground flax seeds was impressive, you’ll be wowed by the five grams of fiber you’ll get in the same size serving from chia seeds. When you eat chia seeds they actually expand in your digestive tract to absorb water, helping stool bulk and soften for efficient transit time. Once again, you’ll have to drink enough water to get these benefits from chia seeds.
4. Aloe vera
Typically used as a moisturizer and skin treatment, aloe vera is also a household remedy for constipation. Surrounding the aloe gel that is used in a variety of medicines is a thick, fibrous latex. This latex is rich in nutrition and other compounds that make it an effective and powerful natural laxative. The latex increases the water content in your intestines and stimulates mucous secretion to help stool slide through. Furthermore, it can increase muscle contraction in your digestive system that is essential to breaking down food.
5. Leafy green veggies and legumes
High in water, fiber and magnesium, leafy green veggies and legumes also act as natural laxatives. Magnesium is an important nutrient to help relieve constipation because it is a natural stool softener that allows your body to naturally draw water from the gut, while relaxing the muscles in your digestive system. When you’re short on magnesium, as most Americans are, it’s difficult for stool to move through.
6. High-fiber fruit
Most fruits are high in fiber, but pears, apples and berries are my favorite sources. You’re supposed to eat four to five servings of fruit and veggies per day, so opt for higher fiber options for their natural laxative effects.
A healthy and diverse gut bacteria is also important for your digestive health and can help relieve constipation quickly and painlessly. Probiotic foods are those with living bacteria to help populate your gut, break down food and disregard waste.
Are Some Laxatives Dangerous?
If your diet is good and you’re getting at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day, and drinking enough water, you really shouldn’t need to take a laxative. In fact, you may just need to go for a walk (activity can also help with constipation). But if you’ve been relying on laxatives for a long time, it might be difficult to change.
But those pharmaceutical laxatives may be causing you some harm. Taking too many laxatives can lead to problems like:
- Edema (holding too much water resulting in bloating and discomfort)
- Electrolyte and nutrient imbalances
- Changes in base acidity and alkalinity
- Trouble producing digestive enzymes
- Damage to the colon and digestive organs
Foods That Improve Digestive Function
Natural food laxatives are really your best bet at relieving constipation. Some were mentioned above, but here are some of the top natural food laxatives you can get!
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Whole grain bread
- Beans (any kind)
- Leafy green veggies
- Green beans
Clear up Constipation With Natural Laxatives
You can easily take care of constipation for the long term by taking advantage of nature’s cures. Try picking up some of these items on your next trip to the grocery store and try to hit 25-30 grams of fiber per day, while eating a variety of nutritious foods. And remember, drink your water!
Sources for Today’s Article:
“7 Foods that Make the Best Natural Laxatives,” Dr. Axe web site;
http://draxe.com/natural-laxatives/, last accessed January 11, 2016.
Savedge, J., “10 foods that are natural laxatives,” Mother Nature network web site, January 3, 2016; http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/10-foods-are-natural-laxatives.
“10 Natural Laxatives That Will Really Help,” Skinny With Fiber web site, February 14, 2014; http://skinnywithfiber.org/10-natural-laxatives-that-will-really-help/.
“Natural Laxatives That Are Really Helpful to Relieve Constipation,” Rapid Home Remedies web site, January 12, 2015; http://www.rapidhomeremedies.com/natural-laxatives.html.