Constipation and indigestion are common causes of most health problems. These are illnesses that are hard to cure and demand a good amount of your time and energy. Along with other treatment options, a healthy diet and moderate activity are the two aspects that may be able to relieve constipation. But is that enough?
A deficiency in specific nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium in the body causes constipation. In severe cases, the digestive content in the intestines turns out to be more alkaline. To keep away from constipation and make your bowel movements smoother, eat these foods regularly.
1. Fiber-Rich Foods
All those irregular bowel movements and poop times are an indication of a struggling digestive tract. To relieve constipation and regularize bowel movements, you need to eat fiber-rich foods. Here’s what you can choose:
- Foods high in insoluble fiber like bran from wheat, corn, barley, rye, oats, and cereals
- Other grain products such as flaxseed, linseed, psyllium husk, kelp, and agar
- Beans, nuts, fruits with the skin, raw vegetables, green leafy veggies such as spinach, and fenugreek
These food sources add to the bulk of the fecal matter. If your body is not used to fiber-rich foods, gradually increase your fiber intake. Also, drink enough water to ensure that the bowel movement becomes smooth.1
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for proper digestion and immunity. It is a natural laxative that helps to deal with foreign invaders that can compromise your overall health. Vitamin C deficiency can cause digestive issues and constipation. So, what you need are vitamin C-rich foods and supplements that act as therapeutic agents for constipation. Apart from curing constipation, vitamin C plays an important role in bone formation, wound healing, and maintaining healthy gums and is also a powerful antioxidant. This is an all-rounder nutrient that’s a must for your health.
Some of the foods that contain vitamin C are citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens. Ensure you choose fresh produce. A possible way to include this vitamin in your diet is to drink lemon or orange juice before the first meal of the day.2
Magnesium, a safe and mild laxative, is an active ingredient in antacids and laxatives. A trace mineral involved in various chemical reactions occurring in the body, it has a therapeutic value that also works on constipation. Eating a combination of magnesium- and calcium-rich foods along with adequate amount of water can alleviate acute constipation, boost digestion, and regularize bowel movements.
Magnesium is found in fruits, vegetables, and drinking water. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens, brown rice, buckwheat, peanuts, and whole wheat are also good sources along with seaweed, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. The best way to derive the maximum magnesium content from veggies is to cook them in very little water and consume the broth.3
4. B Vitamins
B vitamins comprise a wide variety of vitamins. Some of the nutrients that are effective in getting rid of constipation issues are as follows.
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is beneficial in the treatment of digestive disorders and provides better nerve vitality in the gut. A deficiency of this vitamin can severely impair the digestive system and cause chronic constipation. You can find vitamin B1 in wheat germ, yeast, cereals, pulses, nuts, dark green leafy veggies, milk, eggs, and fruits.
Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, guards your body against toxins. A deficiency of this vitamin causes chronic fatigue, stomach disorders, and constipation. You can find this nutrient in whole grain bread, cereals, green veggies, peas, beans, peanuts, and egg yolk.
Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is a vital nutrient for pregnant and lactating mothers. Chronic constipation, fatigue, and impaired circulation are some of the symptoms of vitamin B9 deficiency. This nutrient can be found in green leafy veggies, lettuce, mushrooms, nuts, yeast, peanuts, and liver.
Vitamin B12, the red vitamin, is responsible for the generation of red blood cells and the absorption of different nutrients in the body. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause poor appetite, improper metabolism, and constipation. Vitamin B12 is available in animal products such as meat, milk, eggs, bananas, and peanuts.4 5
5. Vitamins D And E
Over time, the intestinal content tends to become alkaline. But, a low pH is important for the stomach to properly digest food and excrete the fecal matter at regular intervals. This is where vitamin D comes into the picture as it promotes acidity in the stomach. It is naturally synthesized by our bodies when exposed to sunlight and boosts the absorption of calcium, which relieves constipation.67
Vitamin E, on the other hand, is beneficial for metabolic processes such as digestion and excretion. It is found in natural sources such as olive oil, spinach, sunflower seeds, and nuts like almonds. It is a great antioxidant and can reduce the effects of chronic constipation that occurs as a result of oxidative stress.8
While all of these nutrients relieve constipation, balance is the key to a healthy, long life. These foods are not miracles but remedies that may take time to work. In case of chronic constipation that doesn’t reduce despite eating well, consult a doctor.
|↑1||Manning, Paul B., Jack H. Schramm, and James W. McGrath Jr. “Food bars containing nutritional supplements and anti-constipation and regularity maintaining-agents.” U.S. Patent 6,569,445, issued May 27, 2003.|
|↑2||Iqbal, Khalid, Alam Khan, and Muhammad Muzaffar Ali Khan Khattak. “Biological significance of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in human health–a review.” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 3, no. 1 (2004): 5-13.|
|↑3||Dupont, Christophe, Alain Campagne, and Florence Constant. “Efficacy and safety of a magnesium sulfate–rich natural mineral water for patients with functional constipation.” Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 12, no. 8 (2014): 1280-1287.|
|↑4||Lee, Warren TK, Kin S. Ip, June SH Chan, Noel WM Lui, and Betty WY Young. “Increased prevalence of constipation in pre‐school children is attributable to under‐consumption of plant foods: A community‐based study.” Journal of paediatrics and child health 44, no. 4 (2008): 170-175.|
|↑5||Moll, Rachel, and Bernard Davis. “Iron, vitamin B 12 and folate.” Medicine (2017).|
|↑6||Cornish, Robert E. “Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies.” Health Research Books, 1943.|
|↑7||Kinnunen, O., and J. Salokannel. “Comparison of the effects of magnesium hydroxide and a bulk laxative on lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins A and E, and minerals in geriatric hospital patients in the treatment of constipation.” Journal of international medical research 17, no. 5 (1989): 442-454.|
|↑8||Willington, Ashley K. “Fast Constipation Relief: Natural Constipation Remedies That Cure Constipation Forever!.” Lulu Press, 2014.|