Constipation Remedies

Hop on the High-Fibre Express

You don't have to look that far to find the best constipation remedies to suit your needs. It's merely a matter of getting more fibre and fluids into your diet. A diet with these two crucial ingredients will soon put an end to your constipation issues for good. The best way to do this is to eat more fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains because all these plant-based foods contain substantial amounts of fibre.

And while you're consuming these foods, you also be getting substantial amounts of fluids too. Want to know why? Because you'll be eating a lot of your water instead of drinking it. Have you heard that you can get all the fluids you need by eating the right kinds of food? All fruits and vegetables contain plenty of fluids and all cooked beans and whole grains will give you plenty of fluids too.

As a vegetarian for over 45 years, people are forever pitching me with this protein thing, little realising that you can get plenty of protein directly from nature. Yes, that's true. Protein-rich plant foods have all the good protein you need. However, nobody mentions anything about fibre. I find that rather strange. While you can get protein from an animal source, there's no real fibre in meat. And not the soluble or the insoluble kind.

You'll hear a lot of people talking about money, sex, divorce and the detail's of their colleague's prostate surgery but what they won't talk about is their constipation issues unless it's unavoidable like the time I took my girlfriend on holiday to Egypt. She hadn't been to the toilet in two weeks, and things got so bad that I had to call in the doctor who immediately put her on a drip. We didn't even go to the hospital. The doctor applied the drip in our hotel room and hung it around an overhead lamp near the bed. Being constipated is no laughing matter but constipation while travelling in a foreign country such as Egypt isn't something you want to take to the battlefield.


Constipation Remedies - Apples

Constipation Remedies 

Whether you're on the road or at home, constipation is easily treatable. I'm not saying that as soon as you eat more fruit and veggies that things will get better immediately and especially in places like Egypt where you have to be extra careful what you eat and drink. Water in Egypt is extremely suspect. You can't even brush your teeth with the local tap water; it's so polluted. You need to buy bottled water to do that. You also have to make sure that the water you're drinking comes in a sealed bottle. Depending on where you are in the country, often the tap water is a muddy brown colour.

Which brings me to my next observation: Don't eat fresh fruit and vegetables in Egypt unless you can peel them yourself. I'd stay away altogether from any form of freshly served salad. Eat only adequately cooked foods. I can see why people get constipated in places like this, but luckily for me, I had eaten enough of the good fibre-rich food for many years to have any reason to suffer constipation no matter where I was in the world. I have never suffered from this kind of illness because my vegetarian diet provides me with all the constipation fighting remedies I'll ever need.  


Constipation Remedies - Blueberries

Constipation Remedies - How Fibre Works

Unlike vitamins and minerals, fibre isn't absorbed by your digestive tract. Instead, it spends a long time in your intestine, consuming large amounts of fluid. And that's precisely its constipation-fighting secret. When fibre absorbs water, stools gradually swell, getting bigger and wetter. Unlike small seats which can accumulate for days on end before moving on, more enormous by-products are moved out of the intestine much more quickly. And because large stools are much softer than small ones, there's less straining when they do move. That, in a nutshell, sums up this dirty deed.

So it's all boils down to the food we eat, and there's no denying that plant-based foods will do the heavy lifting. Both soluble and insoluble fibre, the kind you find primarily in oats, legumes, fruit and vegetables will help you tremendously in keeping your intestine working smoothly.

The real reason why constipation is so common among westerners and particularly Americans is because they don't get enough fibre. On average Americans only get about 11 grams a day which is a lot less than their Daily Value (DV) of 25 grams. Since virtually all plant foods contain reasonable quantities of fibre, you wouldn't have to work very hard to get the necessary amounts. Becoming a vegetarian or changing to a vegan diet would also solve this problem. 

However, there is one small problem with adding more fibre to your diet, especially if you have been consuming unhealthy food for an extended period. When your body hasn't quite adapted to a new diet, it can cause some discomfort in the form of cramping and gas. But to get the benefits without all the grief, you should add more fibre to your diet over several months. A lifetime of not getting enough fibre isn't something you can fix in a week. It takes time just like any illness does. There's never been a quick fix to any health problems, but if you gradually increase the amount of fibre you get each day, you probably won't have any discomfort at all. 


Constipation Remedies - Oatmeal Porridge

Constipation Remedies - How Fluid Works

We may think of water as being a sort of add-on to a healthful diet and not so much as an essential ingredient in its own right. Not getting enough water is undoubtedly a common cause for constipation. After all, your stools can absorb large amounts of water. But when they don't get enough, they can get hard and sluggish, thus making them hard to pass. It is particularly true when you're getting more fibre from your food as this should be accompanied by fluids to make the passage smoother.

While you may not always be able to depend on thirst to tell you when it's time to drink, if you're getting plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily diet, you would automatically be getting more fluids. There's no need to drink gallons of water if you're eating enough water-based foods. See my drinking water facts on how you can not only drink less water but also how you can eat more water. If you're finding with age that the urge to drink naturally gets weaker, you can always chomp on a celery stick, munch on a carrot or bite into a juicy peach.

However, beverages containing alcohol or caffeine don't count towards your daily fluid intake because they're diuretics, meaning they remove more fluids from your body than they put in. 


Prune Tree

Constipation Remedies - Pruning the Problem

One of the oldest home remedies for constipation is probably the humble prune, and the reason for this is because prunes contain three ingredients that help keep digestion on track. For starters, prunes are incredibly high in fibre with 3 grams of the tough stuff, about 12 per cent of the Daily Value in just three of them. Prunes also contain a compound called dihydroxy phenyl isatin which simulates the intestinal contractions that are necessary for regular bowel movements. Finally, prunes contain a natural sugar called sorbitol which soaks up enormous amounts of water in the digestive tract, thus helping to keep the system active.

And even if you don't care for prunes, you can get some of the same benefits from eating raisins. And just like prunes, raisins are also extremely high in fibre with a hand full providing about 2 grams, 8 per cent of the Daily Value. Grapes also contain a compound called tartaric acid which acts as a natural laxative. If you were to eat about 5 ounces of raisins a day, the average time for your stools to move through your digestive tract could be halved, from two days to one. 

More Healthy Foods that will also help you Poop better.

Apples

Kiwifruit

Pears

Blueberries

Beans

Artichokes

Sweet Potatoes

Figs

Chia Seeds

Oatmeal Porridge

While I'm not one for suggesting over-the-counter medication or supplements, a healthy plant-based diet is all you need to achieve a regular bowel movement. Include a few servings of these foods and other fruits and vegetables, and you'll be good to go. By doing this, not only will you increase your stool frequency but you'll also improve the consistency of the stools and hopefully expel the problem once and for all. 


Constipation Remedies - Figs

Love Travel Eat Right - Disclaimer

Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.  

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