It’s not often.. well, maybe never that the topic of bowel problems come up in every day conversation. We are always sure to let someone know if we have a cold, just had a tooth pulled or had a recent hospital stint, but never do we openly discuss the issues of limited movements “down there” or that haven’t done a number two in three days around the water cooler or dinner table.
Its an embarrassing topic to discuss, but one that will most likely, or has already had some sort of effect on all of us at one time or another, which can be caused by a myriad of factors and, if not treated properly, can lead to very severe health problems.
Too embarrassed to ask your local chemist for the “errrmm laxative section please?” and not wanting to ask friends or family for some advice? Don’t sweat it, here are my 10 natural and awkward free tips for getting everything moving again and your belly back on track, without having to take any harmful pills or medication.
Ahh fibre, is there anything it can’t fix? Along with increasing gut health, assisting with the digestion of carbohydrates, keeping blood sugar stable and even increasing hair, skin and nail quality, fibre is a super important factor when looking to get things moving again.
Fruits, fibrous green vegetables, chia seeds, flax seed oil, Matcha green tea powder, rolled oats, brown rice, avocados, raspberries, lentils, beans and bran are all great examples of high fibre foods that not only taste amazing, but are also good for frequent bowel movements.
2/ Olive Oil
Not only is olive oil amazing for fixing a squeaky door, it’s also another great way to fix a stationary stomach. Olive oil has become the poster child of bowel movements, an old home remedy that has been passed down for generations and it’s not surprising when you consider the consistency of olive oil and it’s ability to decrease friction on just about… anything.
Try one tablespoon in a glass of chilled lemon water (first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for best effect), or man up and shoot that tablespoon down baby!
A lot of people love their morning coffee, but it does more than just give off heavenly aromas and help you perk up. Caffeine is a natural stimulant for the digestive and nervous systems, so indulging in a cup of joe will help get you up and running in more ways than one. 1-2 cups a day is fine, but don’t overdo it. Coffee is a diuretic and makes you urinate more frequently, and if you drink it an excess, it can cause constipation by dehydrating your body and drawing out water that would normally soften your stool.
Its not surprising that water makes the list, with everything in our bodies depending on us drinking enough to function properly – aim for 1L per 25kg (55lbs) body weight daily. Dehydration, (which is often a common side-effect of taking store-bought laxatives) can lead to a huge decrease in bowel movements. As little as 2% dehydrations can have a staggering 22% effect on the bodies performance.. not good! See my previous article on the importance of proper water consumption HERE
5/ Physical Activity
If you want stuff to move through your body, you need to move too! Our lifestyle these days not only involves dietary changes that increase constipation, but we’re often sitting much more than we’re active. While there isn’t an exact scientific reason as to why lack of exercise is linked with getting clogged up, we can assume that moving the body helps get the smooth muscle in the colon moving as well.
6/ Baking Soda
Not only is baking soda good for just about anything around the home, It also is an old home remedy that works well for constipation (and tummy aches in general) because it is a bicarbonate, which will encourage air to come out of you one way or another, and relieve pain from pressure. It also re-alkalises the stomach, neutralizing the acid a little bit and helping things pass through your gut.
You will need…
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 cup warm water
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with ¼ cup of warm water, drink immediately.
This is one I am sure we have all heard before and for good reason.. it seems to work. The fruit works as a natural laxative because it has high amounts of fiber, and contains sorbitol. Sorbitol softens stools because it is a natural carbohydrate that is not easily ingested, causing it to draw a lot of water as it passes through the intestines and adding bulk to stool. Be careful though-too much and sorbitol can cause gas and make stool too soft.
You will need…
-2 glasses of prune juice (8oz)
– Drink one glass on am empty stomach upon rising and another before bed.
8/ Epsom Salts
Epsom salt is an effective home remedy for constipation for two main reasons. First, the salt draws water from its surroundings, softening up stool and making it easier to pass. Second, the magnesium that is present in the salt promotes contraction of the bowel muscles, which also makes passing easier. Table salt can be useful in terms of drawing water out, but it lacks the magnesium that Epsom has, so try and use Epsom salt if possible.
You will need…
-2 teaspoons of Epsom salt (for adults) OR ½ teaspoon (for children)*
-1 cup of water or fruit juice
Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water or fruit juice and drink all of it. If within 4 more hours there is no sign of bowel movement, you may take one more dose. Only use ½ teaspoon for children
9/ Answer the Call
Another common reason to experience constipation, is not going to the toilet when nature calls. This is your body telling you that it’s time to go.. so go! The longer you hold off going to the toilet, the drier your number 2’s become, meaning they harden, making it harder to pass.
10/ Not all Bacteria is Bad Bacteria
Healthy gut bacteria are incredible important to keep bowel movements frequent and your tummy in tip top condition. Working to keep the good bacteria in our bodies strong and plentiful will help prevent constipation, and lessen its severity should it still occur. There are a number of ways to go about helping your bacteria flourish, but one simple method is to enjoy a cup of yogurt, which is filled with probiotics, with breakfast and during the day.
You can also buy pro-biotic pills like Inner health plus and also drinks like Yakut and other brands to keep things moving along.
If you find that none of these home remedies work, see your nearest practitioner asap, as it could be another underlying issues that can lead to great health problems. Constipation is never something to be embarrassed about, so seek help sooner, rather than later.
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