If you’ve ever suffered from constipation before, you know that a trip to the bathroom isn’t always quick. Constipation can occur due to a poor diet, pregnancy or other medical conditions. There are plenty of over-the-counter laxatives available, but they aren’t always safe. While they do give you relief very quickly, sometimes they can also interfere with your natural digestive processes. There are several foods that can act as much safer laxatives with very effective results. Here are eight foods to try out the next time you need a little help.
These tiny seeds are one of the best laxatives nature has to offer. Up to 12% of these seeds are pure mucilage, a gel-like substance that lines your intestinal walls, making it easier for stools to pass through. Flaxseeds are also high in insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that your body cannot absorb. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools and helps your body eliminate waste. Flaxseeds need to be ground into a fine powder in order to be effective. Mix two tablespoons of flaxseed powder with some warm water and drink it up when you need to nudge your intestines into action. You can also add a few spoons of it to your meals everyday to help keep you regular.
Prunes are one of the best-known natural laxatives. They are almost completely made up of insoluble fiber that your body needs in order to eliminate waste. Eating prunes everyday will bring you relief from constipation and prevent you from getting constipated again. Drink prune juice every morning on an empty stomach for a quick fix or eat 7 prunes everyday. You will soon begin to notice that you’re going to the bathroom with greater regularity than before.
3. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is so powerful that many over-the-counter laxatives use it as their main ingredient. The husk derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant are rich in psyllium fiber that can help relieve symptoms of constipation. This fiber is completely insoluble and attaches itself to your stool, helping it absorb water better and move through your intestines easier. Despite its high fiber content, psyllium husk does not cause flatulence. Mix ½ teaspoon of psyllium husk with a glass of warm water or milk and drink this before going to bed. The next morning, your trip to the bathroom will be a lot easier.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is one of the fastest natural laxatives available. The sticky gel lines the inner walls of your intestines and can trigger contractions. This helps stool pass through easily. Aloe vera juice can also increase the water content of your stools which is important for your body to be able to eliminate it fully. Mix two tablespoons of aloe vera gel with a glass of water and drink this on an empty stomach every morning. If you want to mask the taste of aloe vera, you can also add the gel to a glass of fruit juice or warm lemon water.
5. Castor Oil
Castor oil is a favorite of grandmothers everywhere and with good reason. The oil acts as a natural lubricant and lines the walls of your intestine. It can also stimulate bowel contractions, making it easier for you to eliminate waste. While castor oil is very effective, pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating women should avoid using it as it might not be safe. If you’re taking medication, it’s best to consult with your doctor first before using castor oil because it might react adversely with your medicines. Consume two tablespoons of castor oil mixed with ginger or cranberry juice for a quick laxative effect.
6. Chia Seeds
When chia seeds are soaked in water, they swell up and form a thick, gooey substance. When you ingest soaked chia seeds, this gel lubricates your intestine and also increases water absorption. They also add fiber to your stools which is important for regular bowel movements. Drink soaked chia seeds everyday on an empty stomach or make chia seed puddings for a delicious way to get your dose of laxatives.
Probiotics are good bacteria which live in your gut and can control the quality of your digestion. If your gut flora is imbalanced, this can show up in poor digestion and constipation. To improve symptoms of constipation, you need to take good care of your gut. Try to eat as many probiotic foods as you can if you want to improve your digestion. You can take probiotic supplements or eat fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut.
8. Coconut Water
Most times when you’re constipated, it’s because you’re not keeping yourself properly hydrated. This means that the walls of your intestines become dry and your stools have a low water content, making them difficult to pass. Coconut water is a great way to keep yourself hydrated. It tastes better than regular water, which means you’ll probably drink more of it. It also contains essential electrolytes that can alleviate the negative effects of constipation.