Home Remedies for Constipation
Natural Laxative Foods
Home remedies for constipation have been used throughout the ages and vary depending on the culture. The most common home remedies for constipation these days require eating certain foods that act as natural laxatives, exercising, using bulk-forming laxatives like Metamucil, or ingesting small amounts of oils such as flaxseed oil. As science has gained knowledge on the exact reasons for constipation, it also explains why some of the longtime home remedies for curing constipation actually work.
For example, prune juice or eating prunes have long been thought of as natural laxatives. Though years ago a person may not have understood why these work, a better understanding of the causes of constipation explains. As food journeys through the large intestine (colon), water (fluid) is absorbed from it and the leftover food becomes “stool”. If too much water is absorbed, the stool gets hard and doesn’t move through the colon as freely. Prune juice works as a laxative because it is a fluid, helps moisten the lining of the colon, and helps soften the stool. The process of the large intestine absorbing the water from food is also why it’s important to drink sufficient amounts of water and other fluids during the day. By-the-way, prune juice isn’t the only known juice that’s known for its natural laxative effects, apple juice is another. Some people prepare concoctions of juices to create laxatives and even a stiff cup of coffee can act as a laxative for some people.
How Fiber Helps Constipation
After the colon has removed fluids from foods, the stool left behind consists mostly of fibers found in the foods we eat. This is why doctors are constantly stressing the importance of sufficient amounts of fiber in the diet to help keep the digestive tract healthy. The fiber helps keep things moving. Prunes are a great source of fiber as are other dried fruits; which explains why prunes act as a natural laxative.
High fiber foods create stools that move freely through the digestive track and can relieve as well as prevent constipation. Some high fiber foods to eat on a regular basis are vegetables such as asparagus, squash, corn, cabbage, potatoes, lettuce, etc… Whole grain breads and pastas also contain high amounts of fiber. So does brown rice and look for cereals that are labeled “high in fiber”. Beans, peas and most nuts will also add fiber to your diet.
Another cause for constipation is when the muscles of the colon aren’t working as they should, by making contractions as frequently. The muscle contractions literally push the stool through the colon on a regular basis. If they have slowed their efforts for some reason, the stool basically stays in one place too long, too much fluid is absorbed and it gets hard, making it even more difficult for the muscles to move the stool along. One way to get the muscles to working is by exercising. You may have heard someone tell another to “go walk around the block” if they are constipated. It really does help to get the muscles moving. Walking, and getting the muscles moving is also a great way to relieve bloating or stomach pain after eating.
By far, the best home remedies for constipation are getting enough fiber and fluids in your daily diet and getting enough exercise. Constipation isn’t normally serious, but do remember, it is a symptom that something is off kilter. If constipation persists or occurs frequently, consult your doctor so you can get to the bottom of the matter.