The only thing more uncomfortable than talking about constipation is actually feeling bloated or constipated. There are many diet and lifestyle considerations and many helpful supplements to consider. Before being tempted by the over the counter constipation medications, try the natural route first. Here are some foods, natural supplements and activities to get your bowels functioning well.
Looks like there’s a good reason to start your morning with oatmeal after all! Plain, unsweetened oats have about four grams of fiber per half-cup. Plus, oats contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber, which help to keep you regular.
I’m talking raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. These guys provide a sweet way to meet your fiber needs. A half cup of raspberries or blackberries contains four grams of fiber—not to mention they both have awesome antioxidant powers.
Aside from its great antioxidant benefits, the natural caffeine content of green tea may produce a mild laxative effect. Plus it’s a great way to ensure hydration, which is key to bowel regularity.
In addition to promoting heart health, beans are also good for, well, your bowels! A half cup of black beans contains about 15 grams of fiber! While not all beans have that much fiber, they generally tend to be very good sources of fiber, plus they contain some protein, which helps to keep you feeling full and satiated! Beans should be soaked well before cooking to reduce their lectin content.
Just one tablespoon of flaxseed packs in about three grams of fiber, not to mention omega three fatty acids and minerals. Take the opportunity to add them to your smoothie for an extra fiber boost. They should be sprouted and ground before use.
This seems like the most obvious player in the constipation game, but it’s often overlooked. I cannot stress enough the importance of hydration, especially when it comes to bowel movements. Water is normally withdrawn from the colon, which can make stools difficult to pass. Drinking enough water ensures that things will move along easily and without strain.
You guessed it, pears are a good source of fiber! Leave the skin on these guys, so you get a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Remember, soluble fiber is mostly found in the mushy insides of fruit, while insoluble fiber is primarily in the outer skin.
Popcorn is a good source of fiber and it makes for a delicious, low-calorie snack! Opt for air-popped popcorn or even make it yourself at home. Be sure to steer clear of microwaveable movie-theatre popcorn, because it’s often coated with vegetable oils, salt, and unhealthy additives.
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts—nuts tend to be a good source of fiber and make for a great snack when paired with fruit or sprinkled on top of your morning oats. Most nuts need to be sprouted, or activated, before consumption.
Here is yet another reason to eat your greens! They are high in antioxidants and low in calories and also provide lots of fiber. Greens tend to have a high water content, which, believe it or not, can actually help keep you hydrated in the hot summer months. So whether you opt for a salad or a green smoothie, make your greens a priority!
Magnesium is number one for constipation relief. It relaxes smooth muscle and draws water to the colon.
A high quality aloe juice will support overall health by providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and electrolytes. It aids digestion and elimination, lubricates and tones the bowels and provides excellent hydration.
This green algae improves bowel function, stimulates the growth of aerobic, friendly bacteria, and absorbs poisons within the intestine and promotes normal peristalsis.
This is an Ayurveda herbal mixture (amaiki, bibhitaji, haritaki) designed for long term use to promote regular bowel function through its mild laxative properties. It helps regulate bowel tone. Try for ten weeks and then take a two week break.
Stimulate the Vagus Nerve
The vagus nerve regulates bowel function. You can stimulate the vagus by deep belly breathing, gargling vigorously and singing or humming loudly. Also, try massaging the abdomen and, of course, exercising.