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Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the US accounting for almost 2.5 million visits to the doctor each year. Constipation can affect anyone although it is more common in women and people above 65 years of age. Women also tend to experience constipation more during pregnancy and after childbirth or surgery. There are certain natural remedies that could be adopted for relief from constipation.
It is insoluble fiber that gives stools bulk and soft texture making it easy to pass. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel like substance in the intestines. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Wheat bran, brown rice and whole grain bread are best taken to relieve constipation. Prunes and figs are soluble fiber and they could be consumed during breakfast time or as a snack.
Flaxseed, about one teaspoon, could be sprinkled over any meal and taken. They have a mild nutty taste and can do wonders to keep away constipation. A teaspoon of flaxseed should be added in a glass of water and allowed to rest for two to three hours. This can be consumed before sleep. Alternatively fiber husks, psyllium supplements such as Metamucil are also available for similar use. It is essential to drink plenty of water with fiber as it could have the opposite effect and precipitate constipation instead.
Water helps to dissipate constipation. Fluids make bowel movements softer and stools easier to pass. Nevertheless, consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated ones can cause dehydration.
Home remedies for constipation
Apples are beneficial in treating constipation.
Lemon juice in water with a pinch of salt added can treat any kind of constipation.
Papaya and guava prevents constipation. Fruit salad containing papaya and guava can be taken anytime of the day. These provide roughage and clear the bowel.
Grapes have laxative properties and prevent chronic constipation.
Seeds of sunflower, almonds, sesame and linseed could be ground into thin powder and a tablespoon of this preparation should be taken with fruit juice or salads for a week. It will give natural relief from constipation.
Oranges are beneficial for colons and prevents constipation.
Spinach can be taken raw or cooked to clear bowel system and digestive tracks.
There are stimulant laxatives which could be consumed for short term treatments for improved daily bowel movement. They include:
However, it is advised to use these stimulants under medical supervision as prolonged use can cause the bowels to lose the ability to move on their own.
Deficiency of mineral magnesium may contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found in natural foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains and in supplements and can be consumed suitably.
Other natural herbal remedies for constipation
Bael fruit is an effective laxative. The juice of bael can be added to water with little sugar and consumed for a period of two to three months for best results.
Cassia is yet another fruit, an effective laxative for treatment of constipation.
Castor oil is effective as a purgative and has good results in constipation cure.
Betel leaves dipped in castor oil can be used to relieve constipation especially in children.
Barberry, bladderwrack, basil, fenugreek, goldenseal, honey, milk thistle, red raspberry, are some of the other natural remedies that can cure and contain constipation.
Management of constipation:
Do's and Don'ts:
Drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. Two to three glasses of warm water in the morning should prevent constipation and clear bowel movements.
Engage in regular physical activity.
Avoid dry foods. Food must contain adequate amounts of oil.
Fresh fruits and leafy vegetables should be included in the diet. Tomato and beet root salads can be particularly useful.
Avoid foods difficult to digest such as beans, legumes, grams, cabbages and mushrooms.
Ginger tea is a great home remedy for constipation.
Carrot juice is another tasty natural remedy for constipation.