Resorting to laxative medication is never the best long-term solution to getting rid of chronic, recurrent constipation. Eating certain foods, however can make an incredible and almost instant difference to your health and happiness by relieving constipation naturally. The secret is dietary fiber, indigestible plant material that adds bulk to stools and softens them, resulting in more regular and easy bowel movements. Water is the second important element in this equation as fiber needs water to produce its effects, namely improve transit time and relive constipation.
Despite leading an overall healthy lifestyle, many people often have to deal with a severe form of recurrent constipation. Taking laxatives is only a temporary solution and prolonged use may cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as other health problems. So how can we relieve, manage and prevent constipation naturally? With the help of the following amazing 7 foods that help treat constipation:
1) Carrot juice. It can be orange carrot, yellow carrot, black carrot or any carrot juice. You just have to juice several carrots when you wake up in the morning and drink a 200-300 ml glass prior to having breakfast. Wait for it to settle and then eat. You can add an apple (skin and pulp) to the mixture, brown sugar or honey for a richer taste, if you are not allergic to bees and bee products. This is my all-time favorite constipation remedy because it sends me to the bathroom in no more than an hour and a half.
2) Almonds. While they do not work as fast as the carrot juice, almonds do an excellent job relieving constipation. If you feel you have skipped a bowel movement today (you will know whether or not you are constipated based on how much you have strayed from your normal routine), eat a handful of raw almonds for your afternoon snack. You should resume your normal routine the next day. Seen they are a wonderful source of dietary fiber (12.5 g/100 g) as well as an extremely rich source of vitamins and minerals, you can make a habit out of nibbling on some almonds every day or so.
3) Olive oil, nuts and seeds. Healthy unsaturated fats help smooth things along and relieve as well as prevent constipation. Use generous amounts of fresh olive oil whenever you are cooking. Olive oil goes great with all pasta recipes and, if you use whole wheat pasta, you get both fats and dietary fiber to help you enjoy an easy bowel movement. You can also eat nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and so on) whenever you feel hungry in between meals. Not only are they rich in dietary fiber, but they also contain generous amounts of healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Chocolate spread with a high content of nuts has both dietary fiber and healthy fats and is delicious.
4) Dried plums. Prunes or dried plums are a sweet, chewy and easy solution to your constipation. Eat a handful of them on an empty stomach, along with a glass of water to help water them down. Eat small, normal meals throughout the day, drink your liquids and make sure you have a toilet nearby because relief can hit at any time. And it will hit hard. Dried apricots, dried figs and raisins are good choices as well, but may have a slightly milder effect on some people.
5) Mashed peas. Whenever I skip a bowel movement (and I cannot skip one without becoming constipated automatically) I make sure I eat a generous serving of mashed peas. Boild the peas, add a bit of salt (I use pink salt), generous amounts of olive oil and whatever else you think goes well and mash it well. Have a big serving and wait for it to work overnight. The high fiber content of the peas as well as the fats in the olive oil will regulate bowel function effortlessly. You can substitute the peas with beans or other legumes, or olive oil with flax seed oil another healthy cold pressed vegetable oil.
6) Aloe vera gel. You can use pure Aloe vera gel as a natural remedy for constipation. Have 2 tablespoons with some fruit juice in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach, then wait. Aloe vera is a powerful medicinal plant so make sure you consume it in small amounts because it can trigger diarrhea if intake is excessive.
7) Kiwifruit and a glass of water. Eating 2-3 small kiwifruit and drinking a glass of water when you wake up in the morning (meaning on an empty stomach) is a great way to relieve constipation. You get an excellent intake of dietary fiber (and a lot of vitamin C) from kiwifruit, while the water is absorbed by the fiber contributing to bulkier stools that are easier to pass. A good alternative is eating 2 apples (with skin) and drinking a glass of water, but this might take several more hours to come into effect.
Constipation is a very unpleasant thing to deal with. It is upsetting, frustrating and discouraging to have to feel physically bad (read more about constipation and feeling unwell), to have something constantly worry you, prevent you from enjoying certain leisure activities or giving your 100%. And because most aspects of modern life increase the risk of developing a mild or chronic form of constipation, it is important to know that there are both short-term and long-term solutions.
Increasing your dietary fiber and liquid intake and becoming a bit more physically active is a long-term solution to help you manage and even treat constipation for good. But these 7 tips above can help boost your progress and give you hope that even the most feisty form of constipation can be treated. Remember however not to overdo it, that is to eat and drink with moderation. Too much liquids can have a diuretic effect and cause dehydration and mineral losses, too much fiber can deplete you of vitamins, while too much fats can increase your cholesterol levels.
But in just the right amounts, these three things possess a truly healing power. You can also take vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements to help restore colon health and stimulate bowel movements with the help of plant-based teas such as senna leaf, fennel seeds, dandelion or licorice root. If you have been battling chronic constipation for some time now, then it means that you need more water, more fiber and more healthy oils in your diet. And these simple 7 tricks are just what you need to give you a head start. In time you will come to discover many other tricks to help you better manage the condition.
Easy things like substituting white rice for brown rice, normal pasta for whole wheat pasta, candy and sweets such as cakes, muffins, pies, puff pastry for fiber rich snacks such as almonds, kiwifruit, prunes, dried apricots, dried figs and so on will make a greater difference to your health and happiness than regular laxative medication. While irregularity can be awfully distressing, a good diet, healthy, natural and balanced, providing sufficient dietary fiber, liquids and healthy fats is the best long term solution for constipation.