There is an abundance of natural constipation remedies. Some are more effective than others, and some are nothing more than placebos. There are five remedies in particular that are widely used around the globe to ensure constipation relief, such as herbal constipation remedies, fish and castor oils, probiotics, and adding more fiber to one’s diet. All five have varying levels of effectiveness for each person as every human is different, and a probiotic that works perfectly for one person may be less effective than adding fiber to another sufferer’s diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can be derived from a natural, balanced diet (try a pescetarian or Mediterranean diet if you’re looking for ways to add more of these fatty acids to your diet without taking a supplement!), and they are thought to play a significant role in how our digestive system functions. They can also help manage colitis or symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease as well as treat constipation by assisting the body in regulating bowel movements as well as treating glaucoma and symptoms associated with ADHD. But what fish are best for these Omega-3 acids? Halibut, salmon, tuna, and anchovies are a significant source of fatty acids. You can also find them in supplements in your local pharmacy. Care must be taken when taking supplements, however, as high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids can increase your risk of bleeding and may present adverse reactions when combined with diabetes medication or meds for high cholesterol.
Castor oil is a remedy that has been in use for decades as a constipation remedy. It is a highly effective laxative that works quickly, and a number of studies have proven its effectiveness in children seeking constipation relief. Unfortunately, it tastes as bad as it smells, so it is usually advised to chill the oil and mix it with a little bit of orange juice to negate the taste and odor. It is considered safe for constipation relief, but like any other supplement, it is certainly possible to overdose so care must be taken to prevent that from happening. Be cautious and follow your doctor’s orders when taking castor oil as a supplement and ask questions if you’re unsure about how much to take or if you’re unsure about any potential interactions with other medications you might be taking.
More Fiber in Your Diet
One of the easiest, most effective ways to treat ongoing constipation is to simply add more fiber into your diet. The FDA daily recommendation of fiber is between twenty to thirty-five grams per day depending on individual needs and dietary requirements. If you’re fiber deficient, the simplest way to add more fiber into your diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables along with the addition of whole grains into your diet. It is probably the most convenient constipation remedy as many people already have a constant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to get their daily fiber from. It can also be found in supplement forms such as Metamucil. However, care must be taken to stay properly hydrated as fiber can potentially worsen constipation if you’re not drinking enough water to help the fiber move through your digestive tract. Metamucil, especially, should be taken with a large glass of water in order to prevent your constipation worsening and to get actual constipation relief.
Herbal laxatives are another popular way to treat constipation, and their use dates back to ancient times with dozens of cultures using them over thousands of years for their efficacy as constipation remedies. They are usually divided into two categories, stimulant laxatives, such as senna or aloe and bulk-forming laxatives, such as barley or flaxseed (not flaxseed oil but whole or crushed flax seeds — the oil derived from flaxseed is not a laxative on its own). Care must be taken when using a stimulant laxative for constipation relief, as aloe, in particular, can cause cramping or intestinal discomfort. Always be sure to speak to your doctor before beginning an herbal constipation remedy.
Finally, there are probiotics. These bacteria live inside the human gut and help break down food as a part of the digestive process. They can be found in some foods such as yogurt or cheese, and they can also be found in supplement form at your local supermarket. Like fiber, probiotics are an effective constipation remedy for home use since most people have plenty of foods in which probiotics are present. Studies on their long-term effectiveness as a constipation remedy are still inconclusive while many studies tout their effectiveness in the short-term.
Remember that each individual person’s body is unique in its particular dietary and bodily needs and what might work for you as a constipation remedy may not work for someone else.
Featured Image Source: Thinkstock/michaeljungPosted on April 23, 2018