If you don’t take constipation seriously, it’s a safe bet that you’ve never suffered through a serious bout of this troubling condition.
Three million American’s experience constipation every year that’s serious enough to warrant a doctor’s visit. And with experts estimating that at least 14 percent of us struggle with the condition, it’s really no wonder that so many people turn to chemical laxatives in desperation.
The trouble is those harsh products are often part of the problem. Because while they can provide temporary relief at first, in the long run the often make the problem worse.
Over time, chemical laxatives essentially “train” the nerve cells in your colon to depend on them. For some folks that dependence can become so serious they can no longer have a bowel movement without taking the drugs.
The good news is that many sufferers can relieve constipation naturally. They just need the right tools.
20 foods to help relieve constipation naturally
Strain–free bowel movements begin with your grocery list. Because filling your diet with the right foods, can help you get regular and stay that way.
Most folks have heard prunes and prune juice are good for digestion. And almost as many folks ignore this bit of advice.
Don’t, eating a couple of dried plums daily (or every other day), or sipping on a couple ounces of the juice can keep your bathroom routine on track.
Besides, prunes don’t just relieve constipation naturally. Experts say they could also help lower your risk of colon cancer.
But prunes aren’t the only bowel friendly food to add to your shopping list. Following are twenty MORE foods that can help you relieve constipation naturally… and keep it from coming back.
- figs (Not a prune fan? Try these.)
- popcorn (Air-popped)
- dried apricots
- brown rice
- leafy greens
But sometimes food alone doesn’t do the trick. Then it might be time to consider supplements.
5 digestion supporting supplements keep constipation at bay
If you’re still feeling bound up and bloated, and need something else to help get your digestion back on track, supplements may help.
Following are five digestion supporting supplements that could help relieve constipation naturally.
1. Psyllium, flaxseed or chia seeds:
These high fiber foods are a terrific substitute for harsh chemical laxatives. They naturally absorb fluids, bulking up before they head through your digestive system. As they pass through, they gently sweep out your intestines, helping to loosen backups.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water when taking any one of the three.2
2. Digestive enzymes:
The modern Western diet leaves many folks without the enzymes they need to digest their food properly. And that can lead to all sorts of digestive troubles, including constipation.
Look for a supplement marked “full spectrum,” and take it after your three main meals of the day.
Gut bacteria that’s out of balance can be behind everything from gas to constipation. And between our less than stellar diets, and our always on the go stressful lives, many of us could use help balancing our own gut flora.
Research shows that the good bugs found in a quality probiotic supplement can help relieve constipation naturally. They can soften hard stools making them easier to pass, and increase your bowel movements.
We suggest looking for one which contains a variety of good bugs, including a strain or two of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, if possible. And your supplement should have at least three billion CFUs (colony forming units).
4. Slippery elm:
Slippery elm can take the place of a mild laxative. The herb forms a sort of gel that isn’t broken down in your digestive system, but instead adds bulk to your stool making it easier to pass. Look for supplements online or in the local health food store.
5. Fish oil, borage oil, or olive oil:
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help relieve constipation. Prostaglandins, the hormones which help manage your digestive system, require EFAs to form. You can use more olive oil in your cooking, or try a supplement of any high EFA oil. (Better yet, do both.)
If you’re suffering with occasional constipation that has you feeling bound up, bloated and miserable don’t reach for a harsh chemicals laxative. Relieve your constipation naturally, and safely, with food and supplements instead.