For most people, natural laxatives can be just as effective as some over-the-counter medications, but they are not always safe. Sometimes diet can have a negative effect on digestion, which is the main reason for difficult bowel movements. Instead of reaching directly for medications, you can relieve the symptoms of such conditions with lifestyle changes and dietary modifications. This way, you can keep your digestive tract healthy without worrying about risks and side effects. Here are some diet tips and foods that can help you do this.
Table of Contents
- How to prevent digestive problems with natural laxatives
- Possible causes of constipation
- Natural laxatives and dietary changes as part of a healthy lifestyle
- Include more fiber in the daily menu
- Drink enough water during the day
- Probiotic foods
- Aloe vera
- Take chia seeds as a natural laxative
- Health benefits of flaxseed
- Green leafy vegetables with effective magnesium
- How psyllium husks work as a natural laxative
- To take coconut water
- The effect of senna tea on constipation
- Prune juice
How to prevent digestive problems with natural laxatives
If you want to avoid the pharmacy and head to the grocery store instead, adopting a healthy diet on a daily basis could actually have a positive impact on your bowel health. Over-the-counter medicines also provide quick results, but these days health-conscious people prefer alternative treatments without chemicals. In addition, some natural products and natural laxatives stimulate the body to better deal with difficult bowel movements. They take the muscles out of the equation to some degree. To take the right action against constipation, it is recommended to first understand what causes this condition and recognize the symptoms.
Possible causes of constipation
Water and fiber are the main ingredients for regular bowel movements. When these are missing from your diet, digestion slows down and leads to constipation. While some foods will help you prevent constipation, others can lead to this condition. Such would be processed foods, dairy products, white bread and some meat products. In addition, constipation can also be a side effect of some medications. If your doctor prescribes you a new medication and you suffer from constipation, you should talk to him about your symptoms. He or she may then recommend natural laxatives or prescribe another medicine for your other health problems.
It is best to stay in tune with your body and recognize the signs of constipation so you can prevent them before they occur. Most symptoms characterize themselves with:
- Having fewer bowel movements than normal
- Not being able to push stool out
- Pain during bowel movements
- Feeling too full or bloated
- Straining to pass your stool
- The appearance of bright red blood in your stool or when wiping it off
Healthy eating and drinking habits are a great way to prevent constipation. If you feel blocked, don’t wait more than two or three days before addressing it. Your body will tell you it’s uncomfortable, so pay attention. It can be pretty easy to get your bowels going without medication. Natural laxatives are definitely a gentler alternative to some of the prescription drugs, and you probably already have some in your fridge or pantry.
Natural laxatives and dietary changes as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Nutrition experts agree that it is important to go to the bathroom at least three times or more per week. However, the number of bowel movements someone should have per day/week varies from person to person. Therefore, there is no specific number that is considered completely “normal” and healthy. The goal is that if you are not currently consuming at least this amount, first make changes to your diet and lifestyle. For example, eat more fiber, exercise and reduce stress to get enough sleep and solve the problem in the long run. Most foods that promote regular bowel movements don’t work immediately, but help keep them regular in the long run. Here are the best natural laxatives you can include in your daily or at least weekly diet.
Most adults, as well as children, could afford to consume more fiber and roughage. While increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods alone won’t solve all cases of constipation, it’s definitely one of the first steps you should take. But what is considered a high fiber diet ? Above all, make sure you aim for between 25 and 40 grams of fiber per day. Adult men or larger people need a higher amount than women and smaller people. You should always get fiber from natural sources like unprocessed whole foods whenever possible, as opposed to man-made fiber found in processed bars, shakes, etc. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables include avocados, pears, berries, figs, peas, okra and Brussels sprouts.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day
The benefits of drinking water are legendary, but often overlooked. The kidneys and liver need it to cleanse the blood, produce urine and help the body get rid of waste. When you drink water, you are less likely to have constipation and diarrhea, which in some cases can be made worse by dehydration. Increase your water intake to keep things moving and help your digestion. Between nine and 13 cups per day is recommended for adults.
Probiotics are “good bacteria” in the gut that are able to balance out different types of “bad bacteria.” They help create a healthy environment in the gut flora and can help you avoid digestive problems, including constipation or diarrhea. Probiotic foods include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic yogurt. Just be sure to always choose organic products when buying dairy products, as they are easier to digest. Such are goat milk, organic kefir, raw milk products or dairy products without A1 casein. It is possible that low-quality pasteurized/homogenized dairy products or too much dairy in general (especially if someone has symptoms of lactose intolerance) can cause inflammation and contribute to digestive problems.
What is the best laxative that works fast? Some would say aloe vera is one of the oldest and most researched natural laxatives available. This substance is packed with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that help soften stools and heal the intestines. For example, anthraquinones are a type of compound present in aloe that acts like a laxative by increasing water content in the intestines, stimulating mucus secretion and naturally increasing intestinal peristalsis. In addition, aloe vera has anti-inflammatory components that reduce swelling and improve the function of the digestive organs, facilitating bowel movements. Some of the other benefits of aloe vera are its ability to normalize acid/alkaline and pH balance, reduce yeast formation and promote the growth of good digestive bacteria. Take 100-200 milligrams of aloe vera daily for constipation.
Take chia seeds as natural laxatives
One of the benefits of chia seeds is their ability to absorb water in the gastrointestinal tract and therefore act as a natural laxative. In addition, chia seeds provide 10 grams of fiber per 30 gram serving. They combine with liquid to form a gelatinous substance that moves easily through the intestinal tract. A great way to increase fiber in your diet, chia seeds swell and expand in the digestive tract as they absorb liquids. They work best for constipation if you also increase your fluid intake and help them move easily through the intestines.
Consume between one and three tablespoons per day. To get the most nutrients out of your food and maximize the potential benefits of chia seeds, try soaking this superfood before adding it to a recipe or smoothie. Place chia seeds in a 1:10 ratio of chia to water and let them sit for between 30 minutes and two hours. This is equivalent to about one and a half tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of water.
Health benefits of flax seeds
Flax seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, which adds volume to your stool and helps it pass through your intestines. They provide about 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon. As an added bonus, flax seeds work to relieve both constipation and diarrhea, according to research studies. They are virtually tasteless and one of the benefits of flaxseeds is that they can be easily used in already prepared recipes such as oatmeal, baked goods and smoothies. To achieve the most health benefits, experts usually recommend ground flaxseeds instead of whole flaxseeds. Consuming 2-3 tablespoons per day would be optimal in such cases. Remember that whenever you eat a lot of fiber, you should also make sure to drink plenty of water. A high amount of fiber without enough hydrating fluids could actually lead to even more digestive discomfort.
Green leafy vegetables with effective magnesium.
Besides its impressive weight loss effect, leafy greens like spinach and kale are not only a great source of fiber, but also provide plenty of magnesium. This is an electrolyte that has the natural ability to safely soften stool and help pull water out of the intestines. Without enough magnesium, it is difficult for stool to move easily through your system, especially since magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that can help stop abdominal cramping. If you notice that increasing your magnesium-rich diet is causing your stool to become too loose and watery, you can adjust your intake until it is comfortable and back to normal.
How psyllium husks work as a natural laxative.
For people with constipation, supplemental fiber in the form of psyllium seeds is recommended by scientific studies over magnesium-based laxatives. These should be avoided due to possible toxicity. When combined with water or another liquid, psyllium husk swells and produces more volume, which stimulates the intestines to contract and helps speed bowel movements through the digestive tract. Psyllium has also been shown to be superior to docusate sodium in softening stools by increasing water content, and has a greater overall laxative effect. For adults and children over 12 years of age, it is recommended to mix and ingest 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk powder in a liquid of your choice 1-3 times daily.
Ingest coconut water
Coconut water is good for the body for many reasons, as it not only tastes great as an alternative to plain water or sugary drinks, but also helps maintain healthy electrolyte levels. In addition, coconut water prevents dehydration and cleanses the urinary tract. It has been used for centuries for a natural hydration boost because of its high electrolyte content, especially potassium, which provides 12 percent of the daily requirement in each cup. Because it tastes great, it is one of the preferred natural laxatives for children. In fact, coconut water can be very effective and healing for constipation. However, some people also find that too much of it loosens the stool to an uncomfortable level, so you better start slowly.
The effect of senna tea on constipation
Senna leaves, fruits and pods have been used in tea form as a natural laxative for centuries. Senna tea is usually approved as an over-the-counter laxative. Senna has been shown in controlled studies to soften stools while increasing stool frequency and weight. On average, it takes about eight hours to work, but it can take anywhere from six to 12 hours. A common recommendation is to drink Senna tea before bed to relieve symptoms of constipation the next morning. The most common possible side effects are gastrointestinal disturbances. However, these can often be avoided by following the recommended dose. Do not use the natural product for more than a week at a time.
Last but not least, prunes are an old classic that should definitely be included in the list of natural laxatives. In addition, prune juice has long been considered an effective remedy for constipation, especially in the elderly. Nutrition experts recommend drinking prune juice daily as part of a diet to prevent constipation. At least one reason for this improvement is the fiber contained in the fruit. This insoluble fiber promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system, which are responsible for the health of the gastrointestinal tract.