If you’ve ever suffered with constipation before, you’ll know right away how awful it can make you feel. Being constipated will not only affect how you feel, but it can also affect your health and well-being in the process. You see, when we defecate, we do so for a reason. We defecate to literally get rid of all of the waste products in our digestive system that the body has no use for. Having regular bowel movements is a clear-cut sign of optimal digestive health, due largely to the fact that bowel movements are a necessity for facilitating optimal health. When you’re unable to go to the bathroom and pass a stool however, that’s when the risks arise.
Constipation is a fairly taboo topic that most adults would rather not discuss. Despite this, it also happens to be an issue which affects millions of people worldwide. When most people are constipated they turn to artificial laxatives, which can relieve the signs and symptoms of constipation. The problem with over-the-counter laxatives, is that they themselves can cause other side-effects. If constipation is affecting you, when not try looking for a more natural alternative instead? Here’s a look at 6 natural laxatives for you to try.
First and foremost, we’ll start things off by looking at prunes. Prunes are often referred to as being ‘Nature’s Laxative’, so you’d probably be safe to assume that they work well when it comes to digestive health and wellness. Not only are prunes packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, which in themselves are beneficial for maintaining a healthy digestive tract, but prunes are also rich in fiber. In this case, it is the insoluble fiber in prunes that makes them so beneficial for the bowels. The insoluble fiber in prunes helps to add bulk to the stools, whereas the soluble fibre helps to add moisture, making them easier to pass. They have also been found to help promote healthy bacteria within the gut, which helps maintain optimal digestive health. Combine all of these elements together and you have the recipe for one heck of a healthy bowel movement.
Green Leafy Vegetables
In terms of health and wellness, green leafy vegetables provide so many health benefits that it would take us an age to list each one individually. So then, what we will do today, is focus on the digestive health benefits of consuming green leafy vegetables. To begin with, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, contain plenty of fiber, which thanks to prunes, we now know all about regarding digestive health. Not only are these vegetables full of fiber, they are also crammed to the gills full of nutrients. As well as antioxidants and vitamins, they also contain minerals. One mineral in particular, has been found to be very beneficial for people dealing with constipation and that mineral is magnesium. This electrolyte has been proven to help draw water into the stool from the gut, which helps soften it and make it easier to pass. As magnesium also acts as a natural muscle relaxer, this again makes it easier to pass stool, without hurting yourself by squeezing too hard.
The human digestive system is full of millions upon millions of microscopic living bacteria. Some of these bacteria are good, whereas some are bad. The higher your levels of good bacteria, the healthier your digestive system becomes as a result. Probiotics are known as the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut, as these promote optimal gut health, whilst simultaneously balancing and reducing ‘bad’ bacteria. One of the benefits of increasing your good bacteria counts is the fact that digestive complaints such as diarrhea and constipation, are severely reduced. Some of the most beneficial probiotics currently available include:
- Probiotic natural yoghurt
Chia seeds are another natural health food renowned for their laxative properties on the digestive system. Chia seeds are full of nutrients, including soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is very important when it comes to constipation, as it helps make it much easier to pass stools in a safe, pain-free, natural way. You see, once consumed and broken down, the soluble fiber in chia seeds combines with water and forms a gel-like paste, similar in consistency to wallpaper paste. This paste coats the lining of the intestines and digestive tract, and basically acts as a lubricant. This paste made up of the soluble fiber and water helps the stools to slide along much easier when you try to go the bathroom and make stool.
There has been a great deal of interest shown in Aloe Vera as of late, and rightfully so. Aloe Vera is a plant renowned for its healing abilities. Aloe Vera is full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and electrolytes proven to help heal the gut and maintain optimal gut health. Aloe Vera contains compounds which help to increase water content within the intestines. One compound in particular: anthraquinones, has been found to help boost intestinal peristalsis. This is the process by which food in naturally broken down via muscle contractions. As if that wasn’t enough, Aloe Vera also helps to assist with the synthesis and secretion of mucus within the digestive tract. As gross as it may sound, this mucus, much like the soluble fiber, coats the walls of the intestines and digestive tract, helping stools to basically slide along much easier before being passed when we make a bowel movement.
As well as tasting amazing, coconut water is also a wonderful natural laxative. One of the main causes of constipation is dehydration, which is why coconut water is ideal. Coconut water is packed full of electrolytes and minerals, making it incredibly effective when it comes to preventing dehydration and promoting optimal hydration. In fact, coconut water is so hydrating, that some countries it is used in place of saline IV drips as it is identical to blood plasma. Experts recommend starting slow when drinking coconut water for constipation, as it can sometimes loosen the stools too much, giving you the exact opposite problem to constipation.