Everyone will suffer from constipation at some point in their lives. Most of the time, it is quite easy to relieve, and hopefully, these home remedies for constipation will set you on the right path! Although these remedies are not necessarily immediate – they may not work in a few hours but maybe in 24 hours – they will make the real difference in relieving constipation for good, if of course, you keep them up.
Up Your Fibre Intake
The first thing you should do if you are suffering from constipation is to increase your intake of dietary fibre. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before, but fibre is an important part of your daily diet; you should aim to eat at least 18-30g a day of the stuff.
There are two different types of fibre, soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre can be digested. It can improve constipation by softening the stools, making them easier to pass. Soluble fibre also maintains the amount of acidity in your bowels by controlling the pH levels.
It is important to note that you should increase your intake of soluble fibre gradually, since too much soluble fibre when you are not used to it can cause an adverse reaction.
Food that contain a good amount of soluble fibre include:
- psyllium husk
- golden linseeds
- flax seeds
- oats/ oat bran, barley and rye
- fruit, such as passion fruit, apricots, apples, pears, bananas, oranges and dried figs
- root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and carrots) and Brussel sprouts
Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre cannot be digested. It works by travelling through your bowels, helping other food through. Eating insoluble fibre will help to keep your bowels healthy while promoting regular movements; it also helps to prevent constipation. It is important to note here that if you are suffering from IBS, you should limit your intake of insoluble fibre to reduce flare- ups.
Foods that contain a good amount of fibre include:
- cereals, such as bran and shredded wheat
- wholemeal bread
- beans including kidney beans
- vegetables such as okra and peas
It does not matter too much which fibre you choose to eat though a balance is great. Both are good for you and will help relieve your constipation.
A Little Bit of Exercise
What has exercise got to do with constipation? It may be difficult to see the link between exercise and constipation, but if you want to have regular bowel movements then exercise is a must. When we exercise, our blood flow and oxygen is increased, which stimulates the muscles in the intestinal walls to push faeces through.
Regular exercise also aids constipation as food is digested faster, limiting the amount of water the body absorbs from the stool, leaving stools soft and easy to pass. Exercise is important and should be incorporated as it can improve your health in so many ways, even if it is just for 30 minutes a day.
Drinking Enough Water?
Most people look at a lack of fibre in their diet as being the sole cause of constipation. However, a lack of fluids is also a major factor. Water makes up around 75% of our total body weight, which really is a significant amount. Our body requires water to carry out daily functions, including metabolising body fat, maintaining temperature, flushing out toxins and aiding digestion.
Fluids can help with digestion by ensuring that your bowels are smooth and food can easily pass through, it also helps by softening up the stools, making them easier to pass.
Experts recommend that we drink 8 glasses of water a day, although some suggest that any type of liquid will do, as long as it is non-alcoholic and not high in caffeine. However, if you want to get rid of constipation, drinking water, especially warm water, is more beneficial.
If you do not like the taste of water, not everybody is a fan, you can try adding some fresh lemon juice, not only will this give it a twist but lemon is also known to clean out your insides and stimulate your digestive system. This has got to be one of the easiest home remedies for constipation!
Squatting, How Nature Intended
The sitting toilets that we are used too, which are more common in the Western part of the world, may be doing us more harm than good. Although they were invented for ease of use, they actually pose a slight health risk and may be why so many of us spend so long sitting on the toilet. Many experts believe that sitting on a toilet seat to defecate is an unnatural position; it is obstructive and creates an unnecessary struggle for us when we are emptying our bowels.
The squatting position, on the other hand, is said to be much more beneficial to our digestive health. Squatting when you are going to the toilet naturally creates pressure in the abdomen, which results in an urge to pass stools, helping waste to exit the body.
While squat toilets can be found in other parts of the world including Asia, the Middle East, Africa and in some European countries – Germany, Italy and France – even in public spaces, they are pretty much unheard of in the West.
Unless you are going to build a whole new toilet, you can invest in a squat stool, which mimics a squat toilet and has been proven to relieve constipation and make stools easier to pass.
Most cases of constipation can be relieved by simple changes to your lifestyle, which don’t cost much money but are very effective, especially for long-term health. Hopefully, these home remedies for constipation are effective for you, but if you have prolonged constipation, it is vital that you book an appointment with your doctor.
What do you think?