Health

15 Natural Laxatives to Help Keep You Regular

Evidence Based Article 📄
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

Constipation is one of the most common digestive issues that every third person suffers from. There are many reasons for the infrequent bowel movement, including poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, and stress. But the good news is you can make your bowel movement more regular without turning to medical treatments.

Modern laxatives contain chemicals that can make your constipation worse and cause other digestive problems, including nausea and diarrhea. Natural laxatives, on the contrary, have fewer side effects, unless you skip the moderation moment. Keep this list handy to prevent constipation and keep your bowel movement regular.

1.Water

Water tops the list of natural laxatives for a reason. First of all, because water is almost cost-free and it has no side effects. Keeping your body hydrated is vital, especially for your digestive system. It helps you maintain regularity and prevent constipation. Studies show that staying hydrated throughout the day can help to prevent constipation – even chronic – by improving the consistency of the stool, helping it pass easier.

Water can also increase the effects of other natural laxatives, such as fiber and coffee. If you suffer from mild constipation, drinking 7 to 8 glasses of water is enough. People with chronic constipation should drink at least 9 glasses of water throughout the day.

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2.Coffee

Coffee doesn’t work for people with chronic constipation, but it can help those who occasionally have trouble with the bowel movement. Drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning can help you go to the bathroom in 20 to 50 minutes after drinking. Coffee stimulates the muscles in the colon, producing a natural laxative effect.

Coffee also has a great effect on gastrin, a hormone released after eating. This hormone is responsible for the gastric acid secretion that aids in breaking down the food pieces in the stomach. Gastrin increases the movement of the intestinal muscles, speeding up intestinal transit and inducing a bowel movement.

3.Kiwi fruit

Kiwi fruit has long been known for its powerful laxative properties due to its high fiber content. One small kiwi fruit provides your body with almost 2 grams of dietary fiber. The fruit contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, along with pectin that also has a natural laxative effect. It helps to increase the movement of the digestive tract to trigger a bowel movement. Incorporate at least 2 small kiwi fruits into your daily diet to keep you regular.

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4.Prunes

One of the tastiest and healthiest natural laxatives out there, prunes contain 7 grams of dietary fiber in 100 grams, which equals 28% of your recommended daily fiber intake. These dried plums contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that helps to bring water into the intestines, inducing bowel movements. A recommended amount of prunes for constipation is 50 grams (6 to 8 medium-sized prunes) twice daily. If you don’t feel like eating prunes, you may drink prune juice to fight constipation. However, make sure you drink ½ to 1 glass of the juice and not more.

5.Rhubarb

Rhubarb is an excellent source of a compound called sennoside A that has great laxative properties. It reduces the level of AQP3, a kind of protein that controls the water content in the stool. It increases the water absorption to soften the stool and stimulate bowel movements.

Moreover, one stalk of rhubarb provides your body with almost 1 gram of fiber, along with vitamins A and C, magnesium, and calcium. Avoid rhubarb supplements and aim to consume organic rhubarb. How about a rhubarb smoothie or pie, huh? Satisfy your sweet tooth while relieving the symptoms of constipation.

6.Coconut water

Coconut water is a yummy alternative to plain water and it’s a powerful natural laxative. It helps to maintain healthy electrolyte levels, clearing out your urinary tract and keeping your body hydrated. Thanks to its high electrolyte content, coconut water prevents dehydration and constipation that is often caused by it. Avoid drinking too much of coconut water since many people have reported the digestive issues, including diarrhea, after having 2 cups and more of coconut water. Look for a sugar-free version.

7.Olive oil

Vegetable oils have been used for centuries to alleviate constipation, but since they’re jam-packed with unhealthy fats, it’s better to use olive oil that provides the similar laxative effect. It provides a coating in the rectum, ensuring the easier passage while triggering the small intestine to speed up stool movement. If you’re looking to quickly relieve the symptoms of constipation, have a teaspoon of organic olive oil and let it do its job. Taking a teaspoon of it daily can help treat chronic constipation.

8.Probiotic foods

Probiotic foods are the favorite foods of your digestive system. Regular consumption of the foods rich in probiotics helps to prevent most digestive problems, including diarrhea and constipation. Probiotic foods, such as plain yogurt, organic kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, can help you induce a bowel movement and reduce your risk of digestive dysfunction. Eat probiotic foods in moderation, as too much of them can cause a stomachache, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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9.Leafy green veggies

Leafy greens are fortified with fiber and magnesium – two key nutrients that promote a better digestive health and alleviate constipation. Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps to safely soften stool and draw in water from the gut. It’s also a natural muscle relaxer that aids in stopping cramping in the abdomen. If you’re deficient in magnesium, you might have trouble pooping and you might also experience the cramps similar to those occurring during PMS.

2 cups of leafy greens (that make a healthy salad) will provide your body with 12% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium and 2% of RDI of dietary fiber. Additionally, they ensure 56% of RDI of vitamin A and 14% of vitamin C.

10.Flaxseeds

One of the best sources of fiber, flaxseeds help your stool pass through your intestines, reducing the risk of the major digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea. Flaxseeds are super easy to use and you can combine with the other natural laxative like kefir, yogurt, or sauerkraut. One tablespoon of flaxseeds contains almost 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2 grams of protein as well as other micronutrients that improve your digestive system and keep you regular.

11.Chia seeds

If you don’t like flaxseeds, try using chia seeds instead. These tiny seeds have potent laxative properties and can also be consumed with other natural laxatives. Chia seeds absorb water, swell, and expand in your digestive tract, helping the food move easily through your intestines. Every time you eat chia seeds, it’s important to drink enough liquid to help those expanded tiny seeds move through your gut easily. 10 to 15 grams of chia seeds a day will be enough to wave goodbye to constipation.

12.Aloe vera

One of the oldest natural laxatives, aloe vera is plentiful in enzymes, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals that help to heal the gut. A compound found in aloe vera known as anthraquinones, act as a laxative by triggering mucus secretion, boosting intestinal water content, and enlarging intestinal peristalsis naturally.

Aloe vera boasts the anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve swelling and improve the functions of the digestive organs. You can find 100% aloe juice, aloe capsules, and pure aloe gel in the nearest grocery or health food store. Talk to the doctor to find out the recommended amount of it for your body.

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13.Apples and pears

Apples and pears are both fantastic sources of dietary fiber and they’re effective at treating constipation. A type of soluble fiber, pectin is found in apples and pears acts as a mild laxative. It can speed up the transit time in the colon, increase beneficial bacteria in the gut, and thus keeps the digestive system healthy. Whether you choose apples or pears or love them both, get into a habit of eating one apple or/and one pear each day to keep you regular while improving your overall health.

14.Legumes

Rich in fiber, legumes help to boost the production of butyric acid in the body, a kind of short-chain fatty acid that has been proven to act as a laxative. It improves the movement of the digestive tract and has anti-inflammatory effects that fight the intestinal inflammation often associated with digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease. If you have other digestive problems besides constipation, include legumes in your weekly diet to ease the symptoms.

15.Berries

Chock full of antioxidants, berries are must-eat no matter whether or not you suffer from the infrequent bowel movement. What makes berries act as a natural laxative is their super high fiber content. From blueberries, blackberries, and gooseberries to strawberries and raspberries, all berries are perfectly good for your digestive system.

Berries contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps to soften stool and increase the bulk of stool for much easier and pain-free passage. A cup of mixed berries a day will help you ward off constipation. You can also make mixed berry smoothies with kefir or plain yogurt as a base for a faster effect. Don’t consume too much of berries, though, as they can cause the spike in the blood sugar and in rare cases diarrhea.

Now that you know all of the best natural laxatives, are you sure you want to ingest the chemicals? Eat these foods in moderation regularly and you’ll more likely to forget the word “constipation.” If you’ve been suffering from chronic constipation for a long time though, you must see a doctor asap since natural laxatives might not help you.

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