For some, constipation proves to be a discomforting and utterly irritating, whereas for others it can be outright painful. And while commercial laxatives are there to solve the problem, natural alternatives shouldn’t be ignored. In this article, we take a closer look at 10 different foods that double up as laxatives.
Why Natural Laxatives?
Certain laxatives like fiber supplements or stool softeners directly affect the composition of feces (in their own special way) to ease bowel movement. Whereas those like the stimulant and osmotic variants target the nerves or the water-bloodstream pathway in the large intestine respectively, in order to produce an excretion conducive atmosphere. Needless to say, these drugs can have harsher side-effects in some people.
This brings us to the topic of natural laxatives. Simply put, these are normal foods that naturally regulate bowel movements, and because of their natural attributes, they don’t produce undue side-effects like their medicinal counterparts.
Mentioned below is a descriptive list of 10 foods that offer relief from constipation apart from imparting nutritional inputs to your body.
1. Water: It may be considered a boring drink by the younger lot but the truth is that you could suffer from chronic constipation from not drinking enough water. A dehydrated body looks deep into it’s reserves for water and in doing so absorbs more water from the intestines than what’s deemed necessary.
Less water in the bowel translates to harder stool and constipation. In that respect, drinking ample quantity of water not only lubricates the intestinal walls, but also softens the stool as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, it hydrates the system so that it doesn’t have to look elsewhere for water.
2. Prunes: Otherwise known as died plums, this sticky chewy food is naturally blessed with fibers and sorbitol. Fiber when passed down to the intestinal area mixes with the stool to add volume as well as soften it, whereas sorbitol is a natural carbohydrate that performs a similar stool bulking function. In fact, the laxative qualities of prunes are so good, that they can heighten bowel movement (and cause running stool) in a normal person when taken in large quantities.
3. Whole Grains: Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grain produce aren’t stripped of their most nutrient-rich parts i.e. the bran and germ. A notable mention is brown rice, which has good amounts of dietary fiber, magnesium and trace selenium minerals. Fiber provides the necessary bulk and softening attributes to stool, while both magnesium and selenium are well known for their laxative qualities.
4. Yoghurt: Gut flora or good bacteria found in the digestive tract help in breaking down a large chunk of the processed food we consume on a daily basis. As such, fresh, natural bio yoghurt rich in acidophilus and bifidobacterium strains, when taken daily during breakfast, can certainly contribute to your ‘gut flora’ and therefore keep a check on irregular bowel movements.
4. Coconut: Be it the soft flesh of a ripe coconut, or the sweet water tapped straight out of green coconuts, the laxative effects are quite prominent. Coconut flesh is high on fiber and so consuming a good chunk of it regularly does a lot of good for your bowels. Similarly, coconut water is an excellent hydrating fluid, with a laxative potency high enough to cause watery bowels in some people when consumed in excess!
5. Aloe Vera: For the uninitiated, ‘aloin’, a liquid encapsulated inside the skin of aloe-vera plant is highly effective in relieving constipation. That’s why certain commercially available, herbal laxative pills contain aloin extracts in them. Another chemical component found in aloe-vera is ‘anthraquinone’, which can help in reducing rigidity in stool.
6. Flax Seeds: Now, it would be unfair to pick from the colossus health benefits of flax seed or its oily derivative. But, since we are talking wholly about laxatives in this article, it would be helpful to note that flax seeds can promote bowel movement. This gentle laxative effect is partly due to the fiber content and partly due to its oily content that acts like a coating for the intestinal wall.
7. Blakstrap Molasses: Pure sugarcane juice boiled to a concentrate and crystallized yields regular molasses. When the same is boiled the third time, the result is blackstrap molasses which contains a range of vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is one such mineral found in this sweet food, which also happens to be a good laxative agent.
8. Raw Vegetables: Incorporating a variety of raw vegetables into your dietary cycle can ensure a healthy body along with a fit gastrointestinal tract. The one major component in green leafy vegetables is fiber which is a known promoter of healthy bowel movement. Additionally, certain vegetables like carrot, beet, tomatoes and cabbage among others are specifically known for their mild laxative qualities.
9. Raw Fruits: There is a lot to gain in terms of colon cleansing by incorporating raw fruits into your diet. While bananas act like natural bulk-producing laxatives, apples on the other hand, contain pectin in them, which stimulates intestinal action while imparting volume to the stool. Likewise, melons are great in colon cleansing because they are so easy to digest that they proceed directly to the intestines. Also, fruit derivatives like lemon juice or apple cider are equally effective in regularizing bowel movement.
10. Legumes And Beans: It’s the mix of carbohydrates, fibers and other minerals like magnesium, selenium etc that make lentils, peas, beans, and nuts natural laxatives. Together, the above contents can regulate intestinal action and impart bulk to the stool.
Foods apart, factors like sedentary lifestyle and stress can also cause constipation. Therefore, a fully decked solution has to be a trifecta of healthy diet, exercise and stress free living. Also, it’s worth noting that some people might be allergic to the foods mentioned above. If so, then they should first consult a doctor before trying them as a remedy for irregular bowel movement.
|Pears are well known for their laxative properties|
Constipation is a common disease (especially among women), and a silent disease. Before going to the doctor, a whole range of measures can be taken to mitigate or resolve constipation. It all starts with food in the morning, which must be rich in fiber and water. Certain fruits and vegetables are natural laxatives and here we will list some of them.
In general, the fiber is of a great help when it comes to intestinal slowdown. Indeed, one of the most common causes of constipation is a low-fiber diet. For example Americans eat on average about 5 to 14 grams of fiber per day, whereas they should consume between 20 to 35 grams. Fiber-rich foods create heavier and more bulky stools that stimulate contractions (peristalsis), allowing feces to pass more easily. Here are a few special foods that may do the trick. Make sure you incorporate them into your diet if you are suffering from temporary constipation.
6 Laxative foods and drinks:
The prevention and curing of constipation starts in the morning. Choose a brand of cereals with a high fibre content. The fibre content information is located usually on the side of the box, so make sure you check and read that when you are shopping. Several cereals brands list information that correspond on their fibre content, so this is a good practice to adopt for anyone that is constipated! Wheat bran is a natural laxative for example.
Prunes and prune juice are two very common foods that are used for their known laxative effect. Prunes contain fibres, also sorbitol and dihydrophenylsatin, which work together to obtain a laxative effect. To work well, prunes must be dry so its laxative effects and nutrients are more concentrated. You must be careful with the prune juice: drinking too much can be painful. Prune is a natural laxative.
Coffee is a strong stimulant and that stimulates the guts enough to produce a sensitive intestinal movement. A cup of strong coffee with a cereal or some sweet, chocolate bar can do the trick. The coffee also is not good to drink with excess.
Pear juice is a good alternative for the prune juice, when you are looking for a mild natural laxative. Drinking pear juice or eating tinned pears is a good way to get relief. The fructose and the fibre content is what makes this fruit efficient purgative. Unlike other laxative foods, pear juice and canned pears are mild laxatives. The pear is commonly recognized as a mild natural laxative.
These fruits have a strong laxative effects and are easily accepted by children for their sweet taste. They work well both in their fresh and dry form. Four to five dried figs, which have been soaked in water overnight are a really nice laxative and healthy, nutritious option for breakfast that everybody can use safely.
Doctors recommend drinking 1.5 litres of water every day and it is an excellent way to help you stay well hydrated and prevent constipation. The perfect recipe to prevent constipation is a good combination of liquids and fiber. Every natural and quality mineral water is a natural laxative recognized as a good constipation remedy, especially suitable for children.
As you can see, when it comes to get relief, nature has provided a wide range of natural remedies. Laxatives, stool softeners and enemas are useful at the beginning, but they are leading to a lazy intestine condition, causing it to become progressively ineffective. Laxative medicines are not well systematized and at many occasions not even needed, so often herbs, natural plants remedies and laxative fruits are preferred.
Warning: the natural laxative remedies listed above are not guaranteed to work every time and for everybody, consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of chronic constipation or similar constipation related condition especially if it’s painful and serious.
|Figs are known to have strong laxative effect
image source: grant cochrane/freedigitalphotos.net
A homemade laxative is a natural laxative(purgative). These laxatives are far better when compared to the commercial laxatives because they do not cause any kind of laxative dependency, and at the same time, these laxatives ensure colon health. In order to get relief from issues related to constipation, one can use laxatives as medicines.
Any kind of natural laxative is devoid of any side-effects, which can be very commonly seen in the commercial laxatives. These homemade laxatives are a natural cure against constipation.
Here are the main types of laxatives that are available today:
Types of Laxatives for Curing Constipation
• Saline laxatives:
These laxatives, also sometimes called osmotic laxative, are known for drawing extra fluid into the large intestine, which softens the stool and flushes out colon. The active component of this laxative is phosphate or magnesium, and thus, it can be very dangerous for people suffering from kidney failure. Milk of Magnesia is a very common example of saline laxative.
• Bulk-forming laxatives:
This laxative draws water into the stool and makes the stool softer, larger and easier for passage. They are the only kind of laxative, which can be recommended for daily usage as they are considered the safest. Moreover, they work slowly and naturally stimulate the colon. Psyllium (Metamucil) and Methylcellulose (Citrucel) are few examples of the bulk-forming laxatives.
• Stimulant laxatives:
These are the roughest of the types of laxatives as they make the bowel to contract when squeezing out the stool. When taken by suppository, these laxatives can work in about thirty minutes, but when taken in by mouth, they take seven hours to work. These laxatives should not be used for more than once in every three days. An example of the stimulant laxative is bisacodyl.
Ingredients for Homemade Laxatives
Laxative can be prepared at home by using very simple ingredients that are easily available at home. These can also help as a natural solution for losing excess weight but a natural laxative should not be frequently used for the weight loss purpose.
• One of the most common ingredients used for making laxative at home is prune juice. The juice can be consumed in its own form or can be mixed with other beverages such as coffee or milk of magnesia for getting better results. This kind of mixture should be warmed up and then be consumed at night before going to bed.
• Another very good homemade laxative is a mixture, which includes a quarter cup of pitted prunes, a quarter cup of raisins, a quarter cup of figs, one-quarter cup of dates or currants and finally, a quarter cup of prune concentrate. All these components should be blended by using a blender and then should be kept in the refrigerator. A daily dose of maximum four tablespoons should be consumed.
• Licorice tea is also another good option.
• Another mixture that can be used is half cup of senna tea mixed with two and a half cups of boiling water. Once the tea is drained, one ounce of figs, raisins and prunes are to be boiled in the tea for two minutes or so and after removing them, brown sugar and lemon juice should be added to make it into a smooth paste. This paste when consumed along with a toast makes a brilliant natural laxative.
So if you need help with cleansing of the bowel and want to prepare such remedy at home, then don’t worry, the homemade laxatives are very easy to prepare and works wonders for problems related to constipation.
Do you use such homemade laxatives? And if you do, please share your experience and useful tips in the comments bellow.