Constipation is a subject I am well aware of as my uncle who was a mathematician and an inventor suffered from it and found a way to beat it. When he would feel constipated, he would draw from his mathematical background and work it out with a pencil. Laugh if you must, but that’s how he invented the Number 2 pencil. However, if you are allergic to lead or erasers, you might want to try the following steps.
1) Good old Prunes and Prune Juice
This home remedy isn’t just for babies and the elderly. Prunes are not only high in fiber, but also in a natural sugar called sorbitol. After eating (or drinking) your prunes the fiber and sorbitol move along in the digestive tract absorbing water as they go. The end result is naturally soft stools. Start out with a glass of prune juice or 2-3 prunes and give them a chance to work before trying any more. Beware, though, too much of the good stuff can also cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.
2) Get Oiled Up
Just as we use oil to lubricate engines or a creaky door, certain healthy oils and fats are extremely effective in ensuring that our digestive systems work as they should. Stick to oils such as olive oil or coconut oil or make sure you are eating enough nuts and avocado to ensure that your bowels keep moving.
To help prevent constipation consume one tablespoon of olive oil mixed with lemon juice (to help with the taste) every morning on an empty stomach.
3) Coffee and Other Caffeinated Products
Most of us can’t function without our favorite cup of morning magic- our coffee. Turns out or digestive systems also benefit from a bit of a wake up from the caffeine in our daily coffee as well as certain teas.
Caffeine actually works to stimulate our digestive systems and ensures movement in our bowels. As an added bonus this study reported coffee might even help to improve the health of our gut bacteria.
Caffeine is also a diuretic though so too many cups can cause dehydration as well as unwanted side effects such as anxiety and insomnia.
Stick to one or two cups per day for the best results.
4) Staying well Hydrated
You may have heard that you should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. One of the main reasons for this is to avoid constipation. Excess water is released through our kidney’s every time we need to urinate but water is also released through our stools every time we need to go. If we are dehydrated water is absorbed from our stools in our colons and the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass. This is commonly referred to as constipation.
One of the best ways to prevent constipation is to ensure that you drink enough water on a daily basis, for your body weight as well as the level of activity.
For an extra boost, it has been reported that carbonated or sparkling water may be more effective at helping with constipation.
5) A Cup of Herbal Dandelion Tea
Dandelions are not just a pretty looking weed, they are actually quite useful. The leaves of the plant are known to have compounds in them which act as a laxative.
Collect the leaves of the dandelion plant and allow them to dry. Crush the leaves after drying. Use 1-2 teaspoons of the dried dandelion leaves and add boiling water. Cover the solution and allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes. For best results drink the tea 2-3 times per day
6) Make Sure you Move More
Sitting truly is the new smoking when it comes to unhealthy habits. Not only do hours of sitting at your desk contribute to various diseases of lifestyle like diabetes and heart disease but the lack of movement can also be a risk factor for constipation.
7) Increased your Intake of Probiotic Rich Foods
When it comes to any and all matters of the digestive system you can guarantee that part of the solution will be probiotics.
A recent study found that probiotics helped to treat constipation by firstly improving the quality of the stool and secondly increasing the frequency of stools being passed.
Aside from turning to a probiotic supplement from your local health store or pharmacy a natural and easy way to help replenish your intestinal flora is to start incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet.
Probiotic rich foods naturally contain good live bacteria that help to correct any existing imbalance in our gut.
Start with natural yogurt and then move on to other probiotic rich food such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Give it a month to see if the probiotics help to make a difference in helping with your constipation.
8) Eat Foods Rich in Prebiotics
You may think we are repeating ourselves but look closely, we said prebiotics, not probiotics.
Let us explain. As we know probiotic supplements and foods rich in probiotics help to correct the balance of bacteria in our digestive system by introducing more good bacteria.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are quite different. In a nutshell, prebiotics can be described as the perfect fiber rich foods that help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. By giving them adequate amounts of prebiotics you can also help to maintain their presence in your gut.
According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Paediatrics, increasing prebiotics in the diet helps o increase the frequency of total bowel movements as well as making them softer and therefore easier to pass.
To up your intake of prebiotics include foods like garlic, bananas, and onions in your diet.