Foods That Make the Best Natural Laxatives

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Best Natural LaxativesNatural laxatives are the better way to help keep your system moving and avoid constipation, which is defined by hard stools that are difficult to pass.

We’ve all experienced constipation from time to time and some people turn to over-the-counter remedies to fix the problem, but while chemical laxatives might act fast and get the job done, they’re not consequence-free. Looking for fast-acting natural laxatives is the better alternative to consider.

An apple a day doesn’t only keep the doctor away, but it keeps the body regular as well. Apples are a natural laxative because of their high fiber content, and that’s the kind of good-for-you food that will naturally keep things moving along every day.

The typical North American diet has resulted in many more people suffering from chronic constipation because they just aren’t eating the natural, unprocessed foods that will automatically stop digestive issues like constipation.

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Foods That Act As Best Natural Laxatives

Natural food laxatives for constipation can be found in the grocery store in the produce aisle—it’s as simple as that. Eating whole, real foods is key because they have soluble and insoluble fiber, which is needed to keep the intestinal tract running well. Forming solid stools that pass easily through the digestive system is important and can only be achieved by eating foods that have fiber and roughage.

At a minimum, adults and children need to pass stools at least three times a week. Regular bowel movements can be accomplished by drinking lots of water and eating fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and beans. Look to consume somewhere between 25 to 40 grams of fiber per day, from natural sources rather than processed sources such as energy bars and pre-packaged shakes and smoothies.

Even preparing a fresh smoothie at home made with fruit is less ideal than eating the fruit and vegetable whole, because the whole form allows your body to break down the fibers rather than having the blender do it for you.

So, which fruits and vegetables make for the best homemade laxatives? Below are some handy natural food laxatives lists.

Fruits That Are the Best Natural Laxatives

High-fiber fruit is a great way to go when looking for natural laxatives that work fast. Some fruit that should be top of your list are:

1. Bananas: High in fiber when they’re ripe, bananas are a great choice for helping alleviate a slow-moving digestive system. Eat one a day to take advantage of bananas as natural laxatives.

2. Prunes: Having this fruit show up on the list isn’t a surprise to anyone. Even babies are served prune puree to help them have smooth bowel movements. Prunes are very sweet and incredibly high in fiber. Eat three or four the night before and by morning things should be happening for you. You’ll have to gauge how many to eat and how often because there is a fine line with prunes helping the digestive tract and irritating it to the point of diarrhea, so start slow.

3. Apples: Everybody knows about this little gem because it’s packed with fiber, but it’s also the pectin in the fruit that helps stimulate the bowels, so be sure to eat an apple a day. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a laxative; simply add a tablespoon or two to water and drink every day.

4. Raspberries and blackberries: High in fiber, these two berries offer a better punch than others. Raspberries have nine grams of fiber per cup and blackberries have eight grams per cup, so throw them on your cereal or in your yogurt, or eat them alone for a perfect source of bowel-moving fiber.

5. Melons: Who knew, but melons are indeed a laxative, so feel free to enjoy watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew to enjoy the surprising benefits of these fruits.

Some fruits are natural diuretics as well as being natural laxatives. One such fruit that does double-duty in this manner is the pear, which gives you six grams of fiber per cup.

Vegetables That Are the Best Natural Laxatives

Vegetables also offer good options for foods that are fast-acting natural laxatives.

1. Broccoli: This is a fantastic vegetable to eat to help the digestive system pass things along because it’s high in fiber. Broccoli sprouts are even better so try switching it up.

2. Beets: They will keep you regular, and not many people eat them, so change it up and start adding beets to your diet. You can buy them jarred or prepare them yourself; it’s easy. Roast them in the oven in tin foil for an added boost of flavor. You can use this natural laxative to lose weight as well.

3. Tomatoes: Rich in antioxidants and vitamins K, C, and A, tomatoes are versatile so add them to as many dishes as you can.

4. Cabbage: Everybody knows about the laxative effects of cabbage, so start using it more often. It can be added to many dishes and prepared as a delicious side dish even if it’s sliced thin and cooked in a bit of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Or try it in a soup or a stir-fry.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“7 Foods that Make the Best Natural Laxatives,” Dr. Axe web site; http://draxe.com/natural-laxatives/, last accessed March 11, 2016.
“10 Natural Laxatives That Will Really Help,” Skinny with Fiber web site; http://skinnywithfiber.org/10-natural-laxatives-that-will-really-help/, last accessed March 11, 2016.
“The Best Fruit Laxatives,” Livestrong web site; http://www.livestrong.com/article/495649-the-best-fruit-laxatives, last accessed March 11, 2016.
“20 Foods that Act as a Natural Laxative,” Positive Med web site; http://positivemed.com/2014/10/08/20-foods-act-natural-laxatives/, last accessed March 11, 2016.


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Dr. Jeffrey Shapiro, MD

About the Author, Browse Jeffrey's Articles

After receiving athletic and academic awards at Yale and Stanford, Jeff has coached those seeking peak wellness, appeared on ABC News 20/20 and served as a consultant for CBS News 60 Minutes and The Late Show with David Letterman. As the author of many research studies and practicing anesthesiology/critical care medicine for more than 20 years, Jeff can be your guide to common sense decision making regarding drugs, supplements and vitamins. With no corporate sponsors and no vitamins or supplements... Read Full Bio »