Whether it’s a diet with not enough fibre essential for regular bowel movements, not getting enough exercise and activity to stimulate the bowels, or just getting older – there are lots of reasons why we get constipated.
Fortunately, there are some simple lifestyle hacks that include natural ways to help relieve constipation.
Natural Laxative Foods
It’s always best to try to avoid becoming constipated by following the basics of eating a healthy, balanced diet (including eating enough fibre and staying hydrated), being as active as possible and not putting off going to the toilet.
However, almost everyone experiences constipation at some point and many people may turn to laxatives to treat the problem. But if you’re looking for a natural remedy…did you know various common foods also have laxative properties?
By building-in some of these natural food remedies for constipation into a well-balanced diet, you may find things begin to move along naturally and they may help prevent constipation in the future.
Food can act as a laxative in different ways, such as fibre-rich foods helping to produce bulky stools, or they may help draw fluid into the gut to help soften your stools.
Examples of different types of laxatives and foods include:
- Bulking agents – such as psyllium and bran
- Stool softeners – include apricots, peaches, grapes, plums and prunes
- Stimulant laxatives – such as senna
- Osmotic laxatives – foods high in fibre such as cereals, grains, fruit and vegetables
Here are just a few of the many foods that can act as natural laxatives:
1. Plums and Prunes
This healthy addition to your diet comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and has long been known for its beneficial effects on constipation. Plums (known as prunes when dried) are not only low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals, but are also rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, as well as sorbitol (a type of osmotic laxative). Adding some fresh plums, prunes or prune juice to your diet provides an easy option to help alleviate constipation.
2. Green Kiwifruit
These fuzzy, brown skinned fruits are a great source of fibre. Containing around 3g of fibre per 100g of fruit, means just 2 green kiwifruits can provide a good chunk of an adult’s recommended daily intake of 25-30g of fibre. Kiwifruit also contain an enzyme called actinidin, which helps breakdown proteins in your foods more efficiently, as well as helping to improve gut movement and reduce constipation.
Figs are another fruit high in fibre, vitamins and minerals – and a great way to naturally encourage regular bowel movements. One reason why figs help with constipation is their high cellulose content. Cellulose is a type of insoluble fibre that is able to add bulk and increase the water content of your stools, so bowel movements become easier to pass more frequent. You can eat figs fresh, dried, as a paste or extract, included in salads or other dishes or just enjoyed on their own.
The small flat flax-seed (also known as linseed) is thought to help relieve constipation due to its high fibre (about 13g fibre per 50g of seeds) and high oil content. The oil helps lubricate and soften stools while the fibre helps absorb water and adds weight to your stool – all of which makes it easier to pass!
Bran is the outer layer of cereal grains (such as wheat, oats or rye), that’s removed during the commercial milling of white flours. It provides a concentrated source of insoluble fibre which is not broken down in the bowel, as well as being a great source of other nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. Bran is particularly useful when you can’t manage to get sufficient fibre from the rest of your diet. You can sprinkle it on your cereal in the morning, add it to yoghurt, juices or soups – or other foods you are cooking to give them a fibre boost.
Remember to add extra fibre to your diet gradually so you don’t get problems such as bloating or flatulence, and drink plenty of water to enhance the fibre’s laxative action.
Fast Working Natural Laxatives
Many foods have a natural laxative effect and can help relieve constipation as well as helping to keep you regular – but like all laxatives, some work faster than others. Find out more about quick ways to find constipation relief and how Coloxyl with Senna can help.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.