Constipation remedies should address the cause, not the symptom. The root of constipation typically begins with diet: too many sugary or fried foods, too much meat, caffeine or alcohol and too little fiber. We also may not drink enough water or get enough exercise. These constipation remedies, many of which are critical to daily regularity, involve lifestyle changes. That is not always easy for people. However, breaking the challenge into smaller steps usually helps.
In her book Healthy Healing, A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone, Dr. Linda Page notes:
“The rewards of a regular, energetic life are worth it. A high fiber, low-fat diet, with lots of fresh foods helps cure and prevent colon problems, including constipation. Even a gentle, gradual change from low fiber foods helps almost immediately. In fact, some experts believe that a gradual change is preferred to a drasticchange. Progress can be felt fairly quickly but if constipation is a problem, it may take three to six months to rebuild tissue elasticity with good systol/disastol action.” Step one of Dr. Page’s constipation remedies plan involves high fiber from fresh vegetables and fruits, cultured foods to encourage enzyme production and high ph (alkalizing) foods to prevent irritation. She suggests 6- 8 glasses of healthy liquids daily, avoiding milk and other dairy beverages.
Best food to eat when constipated
- Whole Fruit: Berries, peaches, apricots, plums, grapes, rhubarb, prunes, pear, apples, are some of the best high-fiber fruits. For the best fiber boost, eat the peel as well.
- Whole grains: Stay away from white flour and white rice and enjoy whole grains instead, which provide more fiber. Whole grains include oats, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, couscous, barley, and rye.
- Vegetables: Carrots, zucchini, pepper, beets, leaks, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli….
- Nuts: Walnuts and almonds will also add fiber to your diet.
- Seeds: Several kinds of seeds are excellent sources of fiber. You can add them to your smoothies or sprinkle them on yogurt or salads. Chia, ground flaxseeds, and psyllium are some of the most touted.
- Beans and Legumes (with caution): Legumes such as chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, navy beans and kidney beans are good sources of fiber. However, they have a well-earned reputation for being gassy.
Food to Avoid when constipated
- Processed Food
- Red Meat
- White bread
- White rice
Start with a 30-minute walk daily. Increase your duration or frequency over time, based on how you feel and guidance from a health professional. Yoga or weight-bearing exercises can help, and improve your bone health as well.
The Mayo Clinic lists a number of “alternative” constipation remedies for children, which can also be applied to adults.
◗ Relaxation strategies
Slow, deep breaths may help your child release his or her pelvic floor muscles and overcome anxiety related to bowel movements.
◗ Mental imagery
Thinking about a favorite place or imagining an easy, comfortable bowel movement may reduce anxiety about having a bowel movement.
Gently massaging your child’s abdomen may relax the muscles that support the bladder and intestines, helping to promote bowel activity.
This traditional Chinese medicine involves the insertion and manipulation of fine needles into various parts of the body. The therapy may help promote more frequent bowel movements.
Good Bowel Habits
Most health experts recommend never holding or delaying a bowel movement. Consider setting aside a certain time of day for elimination, to establish a routine. To help establish a pattern, supplements such as H2Go® can work with your system, without creating high-level dependency risk that many laxatives have.
Ultimately, a good diet, active lifestyle and well-chosen supplements/medications can be the best of all constipation remedies.