Constipation is one big problem for many people today. 16% of people worldwide are affected by Gastrointestinal Disorders. So get help! Get help from natural laxative foods.
People are using laxatives from drug stores to increase bowel movements and treat constipation. But the big question is, how safe to use those drug stores’ laxatives?
Constipation disorder can be effectively treated with natural laxatives. So, our intention here is to bring awareness to natural laxative foods. Use natural laxative foods and help yourself. Stop going to the drug stores to buy laxatives.
Table of Contents
What is a constipation disorder?
Constipation is a gastrointestinal problem causing difficult stool passage and infrequent stools. Sometimes it causes stiffness and pain. Actually, your lifestyle is the main culprit. The other factor is your age (1).
Age-wise mostly, the elderly are the ones who have often constipation issues. This is because they cannot chew hard foods and end up choosing soft foods. This means they eat more food low in dietary fiber. But dietary fiber food is only good for digestive health. (1).
Gender-wise constipation disorder is more in women than men. The reason is female sex hormones during the premenopausal period are high in women. This results in constipation issues in women (1)
Causes of Constipation
Here are the most common causes of constipation (1):-
- Low dietary fiber intake
- Deskbound lifestyle
- Intake of less water or fluids
- Bowel not responding to a defecate
- Slow in transiting the stool for evacuation.
- Irritable bowel disorder
- Certain medications
- Overuse of laxatives
- Lack of physical exercises
- Stress and Anxiety
Constipation caused by a lack of dietary fiber intake and fluid intake is easier to treat. Natural laxative foods, nutritional habits, and correcting lifestyles are good enough (1). Treating improving bowel movements and constipation is a colon-cleansing act.
Constipation Disorder Treatment Methods
Use of over-the-counter laxatives for constipation
People with constipation disorder look for easier options. They buy over-the-counter laxatives for faster relief.
These laxative fiber supplements are produced in tablets and liquid agents. But the question arises. Is it a wise thing to do?
Laxatives over the counter do help in treating constipation. Yes, it works. But it comes with its associated high risks. Overdose, over usage, and continuous usage of laxatives make you additive to laxatives. This is not good for your health. Laxatives’ side effects can end you with serious health problems.
There are many types of laxatives you can buy over the counter (2). That is:-
- Stool Softeners
- Colonic Irrigation
If you want to use any of these laxatives first consult your doctor which one is right for you.
Using laxatives for weight loss and overuse is called laxative abuse.
Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. founder of B Nutritious is very particular about the dietary fiber diet intake. Talks a lot about how it helps digestive health including curing constipation.
Using Natural Laxatives for Constipation
Certain foods we eat have the characteristics of laxatives. We have to recognize the natural laxative foods and learn to increase our daily diet.
Natural laxatives are safe and good and have no side effects. Over-the-counter can cause adverse health issues. So your best bet is natural laxatives. Keep reading to know the best natural laxatives foods.
Natural Laxative Foods
Why Prunes is a Great Natural Laxative Food?
Prunes are nothing but dried plums. It has been in use for years as a natural laxative food for treating constipation.
The abstract published in PubMed proves the prune’s natural laxative effect (3). The laxative effect of the prunes is mainly due to their high content of sugar and alcohol. This sugar alcohol is also called sorbitol.
Dried Prunes have 6.1 grams of sorbitol content per 100 grams.
Prunes Juice has 14.7 grams of sorbitol content per 100 grams.
Prunes are also rich in insoluble fiber content. Therefore, it is best for digestive health. It prevents and eases constipation.
There is a study that compares the use of dried plums and psyllium for constipation. Chronic constipation patients were given 6 grams of dried prunes every day. This group showed a notable stool frequency than the other group. The study concludes prunes are more effective and safer in treating constipation (4).
Prunes work really as a natural laxative for mild and moderate constipation. It’s a great first line of therapy for constipationChia Seeds Natural Laxative Effect
This oval, gray with black and white spots seed has magical health benefits. Chia seeds are rich in substances that are good for our health. One of the main substances is insoluble dietary fiber.
An ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains 10 grams of dietary fiber (5).
Dietary fiber plays a major role in maintaining good digestive health. It regulates bowel movements too. It cures and prevents constipation.
Chia seeds absorb water from the digestive tract and form a gel-like substance. The gel-like substance then moist the stool. That makes it easy for stool to pass through the intestine for removal.
Leafy Green Vegetables and Their Effectiveness as Laxative
Leafy greens are another great source of dietary fiber. Here are a few examples of leafy green vegetables with their density of dietary fiber per 100 grams (6).
- Beet Greens (3.7 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Broccoli (2 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Artichoke (1.7 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Brussels Sprouts (3.5 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Kale (1.8 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Spinach (2.4 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
- Tomatoes (0.9 grams dietary fiber per 100 grams of serving)
The insoluble fiber of leafy green helps the prevention and curing of constipation.
Aloe Vera As a Laxative
Aloe Vera has many uses. Beauty and Health industries heavily use Aloe Vera in their products.
Aloe Vera works very well in treating constipation. Its Laxatives’ effects on bowel movements help to clear constipation issues fast. It regulates bowel movements. A study on students successfully demonstrates the effectiveness of Aloe Vera. Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) problems (7).
A homemade Aloe Vera Recipe for Laxative effect
It is just a matter of making a simple juice with Aloe Vera gel and a few other ingredients.
- ½ a cup of Aloe Vera leaf (filleted)
- ½ a cup of fresh blueberries
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- ½ a cup of mango chunks
- ½ tablespoon of coconut oil
- Little fresh basil
- Little honey
Put all these ingredients in a blender. Blend it at a high speed to a lovely smoothie. Yummy, what a tasteful natural laxative juice you have just made.
Another way to consume Aloe Vera is to buy Aloe Vera juice directly from a store. Then add 2 tablespoons to your daily diet. You can mix it with other juices and beverages before you drink too.
Flax Seeds a Traditional Natural Laxative Food
Flax seeds are grown in cooler regions. These seeds are traditionally used to treat constipation. Flax seeds have many health benefits. Interestingly it is also used to make textiles in western countries. (8).
Flax seeds are high in insoluble dietary fiber. Insoluble dietary fiber means good for your intestines and constipation.
Flax Seeds also contain a good amount of soluble dietary fiber. Soluble dietary fiber means it helps to control diarrhea.
The above two types of dietary fiber present in flax seeds make it a great natural laxative food.
A study suggests defatted flaxseed meal makes good laxative food. It facilitates bowel movements for easy stool output and eases constipation (9).
Flax seeds contain 27.3 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams servings.
Whole Grain Rye Bread Laxatives
Here we are talking about the traditional bread of European Countries. It is great for Europeans. Knowingly or unknowingly they are eating a meal every day that is rich in dietary fiber.
Meaning, that they become healthy. Their digestive health and immune systems are healthy. They enjoy several health benefits because of the regular intake of dietary fiber. A study reveals the laxative effect of eating whole-grain rye bread (10). So, keep eating whole-grain rye bread every day.
Whole-grain rye bread is dense and darker in appearance than regular white wheat bread.
Whole-grain rye bread contains 5.8 grams per 100 grams of serving. Three slices of whole-grain rye bread make about 100 grams. It’s about meeting 17% of your daily dietary fiber requirement.
Is Coffee a Laxative Food?
Coffee intake health benefits have been debated over the centuries. Still, there are no clear-cut explanations or conclusions.
You may be one of the people who drink a cup of coffee every day as you wake up. But why do you drink? You may not be thinking of it too much. You are drinking to feel good and energized.
For whatever reason you drink in the morning, yes coffee makes you poop effortlessly. Can this be attributed to the laxative effect? Interestingly scientists are not sure about it. They are not sure which ingredient in the coffee provides that laxative effect.
A study has been carried out with groups of people who were made to drink decaffeinated coffee. The group showed significant bowel movements after drinking coffee. This is an isolated study that highlighted the laxative effect of coffee. The study also concludes that caffeine is not the main ingredient for the laxative effect (11).
Another research article suggests that drinking coffee stimulates a motor response in the distal colon (9).
Laxative effects of Sprouting Broccoli
Here is an interesting study on bowel habits with sprouting broccoli in humans. The study says daily intake of broccoli sprouts helps to normalize bowel movements. It concludes that 20 grams of broccoli every day significantly improves defecation. There are no side effects experienced. (12, 13)
So what sprouting broccoli has got in it? It has got many nutrients and is highly rich in dietary fiber.
Chronic oxidative stress weakens regular defecation. A substance sulforaphane (SFN) in the broccoli sprouts enhances the anti-oxidant system. This effect helps to get relief from stress. Eventually, it regulates gastrointestinal functions and proper defecation. (14).
The dietary fiber content of the broccoli sprout is 3.6 grams in every 100 grams of serving. (15)
The sulforaphane (SFN) content of the broccoli sprout is 255 milligrams in 100 grams.
Does Watermelon help Constipation?
As you know laxatives are used to loosen stool. Improve bowel movements. Help in constipation.
According to Chinese medicine, heat causes constipation. Here where watermelon is handy to keep you hydrated and help you with constipation.
Chinese medicine considers watermelon is a medicinal food. It is an antidote for constipation. Sametime watermelon is rich in electrolytes which is important to be hydrated.
According to studies watermelon gives you relief from constipation, gas, and bloating. That is the reason why we have included watermelon in the natural laxative foods list (16).
Watermelon is very tasty. So, what can stop you from eating watermelon? Enjoy eating watermelon and enjoy health benefits.
Watermelon seeds also have medicinal value. Good for the kidneys and help you with improved urination. Boil the dried watermelon seeds in water and drink them as tea.
Libby Mills, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND is a Culinary Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She says because watermelon has more than 92% water content it is great to keep the bowels keep moving.
This great fruit has 92% water content and has electrolytes, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and B6.
Apple’s laxative effects
Apple is well known for its dietary fiber richness among its nutrition. So, it makes a good source of natural laxative food.
Apple has both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber in it. Both types of dietary fiber help bowel movements and constipation in different ways
A large apple provides about 30 % of the dietary fiber requirement every day. The main ingredient is the soluble dietary fiber called pectin. 81 % of the apple skin is pectin. This pectin acts as a laxative in you.
Studies show pectin improves colon transit time. It helps with patients having slow transit constipation. Opting for pectin supplementary fiber increases the population of healthy gut microflora (17).
Water for Natural Laxative
This should be at the top of the list. Water! Dehydration slows bowel movements and causes constipation. Drinking enough water is paramount and important to be hydrated all the time. Keeping hydrated gives relief from constipation and helps the stool to pass (19).
Enough fluids in our digestive tract are necessary for it to function properly. Like dietary fiber, water promotes laxative effects in our digestive tract.
So, you have read it all. Yes, nature can do wonders in healing us naturally. Avoid over-the-counter laxatives when you have an option for natural laxatives.
Best of best of all, if you are doing the following:
- Eating dietary-rich fiber
- Drinking enough water (6 to 8 cups a day) and
- Exercising every day
Then what more is needed? You have a healthy and constipation-free digestive tract.
Natural laxative foods have no side effects. Over-the-counter, laxatives can get you lots of health issues if you overuse them. Live your life natural way which is the healthiest lifestyle for everyone.