Americans spend more than $250 million a year on medication for a problem as common as constipation. Although it can be frustrating and painful, in most cases it occurs because you’re not eating enough fiber, or are dehydrated.
We hope that you never suffer from constipation, so we want to tell you about 6 quick ways you can start visiting your toilet again with pleasure. And don’t miss the bonus section to find out what most of us have been doing wrong in the toilet!
1. Drink honey-lemon tea.
Make a tea by adding honey and lemon to water. Honey is a laxative and also helps to reduce the sourness of the tea caused by lemon. Lemon acts as a natural stimulant for the digestive system and helps in flushing out toxins from the body.
2. Drink a lot of water.
Men should drink at least 3.7 liters of fluid and women 2.7 liters per day. This is because hard, dry stool is the most common cause of constipation and drinking enough water will keep the body properly hydrated and make it easy for the stool to pass. Water and fruit juices are best for fighting constipation. Pear and apple juices are mild natural laxatives, so you will fare better if you choose them.
Avoid caffeinated beverages and sodas since they are diuretics, and instead of hydrating your body, they will actually leach more fluid from your body.
3. Eat fibrous food.
Fibrous food acts as a natural laxative. They help your stool retain more water and therefore bulk it up. You should include at least 20-35 grams of fiber in your daily diet to keep things flowing freely. Food sources that are rich in fiber include Brussels sprouts, apples, figs, bran cereal, and black beans.
Seeds and nuts like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, or flax seeds are also good sources of fiber. However, a word of caution: do not eat flax seeds if you suffer from bleeding disorders, intestinal obstructions, or high blood pressure. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also avoid it.
4. Eat prunes.
Not only are prunes rich in fiber, but they also contain sorbitol, a stool-loosening sugar that relieves constipation naturally. 100 grams of prunes have 14.7 grams of sorbitol. However, like many people, if you might not like the taste of prunes, you can quickly gulp a glass of its juice. Although the juice contains less fiber than the fruit, it should still do the trick.
Remember that prunes take a while to start showing an effect, so take it easy for an hour or 2. Please don’t go overboard!
5. Consume bulking agents.
Herbs like flaxseed, fenugreek, and psyllium have a laxative effect and soften the stool. Eat them and drink a lot of water if you are suffering from constipation. Also, there are teas available with these supplements, you could give them a try as well.
6. Include yogurt in your meals, but stay away from other dairy products.
Although it’s advised to stay away from dairy products if you are suffering from constipation, yogurt is the exception. Yogurt contains probiotics like Bifidobacterium longum or Bifidobacterium animalis which studies have shown aid in more frequent and less painful passage of stool.
Bonus: There’s a correct sitting position for the toilet.
Sitting with your back straight at 90° with your thighs is very common while sitting in “Western-style” flush toilets. But this is the wrong posture. The passage for defecation becomes narrow due to the pull of puborectalis muscle. It is a muscle band that rings around the end of the colon. When the thighs and hips make a 90° angle, this muscle is taut and doesn’t allow the colon to open properly. The correct way to sit is to lean forward so that your spine is at an angle of around 35° with respect to your thighs.
Do you often suffer from constipation? What do you do to relieve yourself? We are eager to know!