According to a research by THE WEEK, constipation is a problem prevalent in urban areas. Around 10% of the urban population is dealing with the problem of constipation and afflicts 14% of the population.
Constipation is a condition of the digestive system in which hard feces are developed which are difficult to expel. The main causes of constipation are lack of fiber in the diet, physical inactivity, medications, consumption of milk and dairy products, aging, routine changes, not drinking enough water, and not going to the toilet when needed. The symptoms are usually stomach ache and cramps, feeling bloated and nauseous, and losing appetite. Treatment includes stimulants, lubricants, and fiber supplements.
Following are some of the natural home remedies to treat and prevent constipation.
- Water: When the body receives enough water, the digestive system can process nutrients and move wastes along smoothly. Bowel muscles are also more efficient and are able to keep things moving.
- Prune juice and Prunes: Prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol, a carbohydrate the body digests slowly. As the fiber and sorbitol move along the intestines, they collect water which softens fecal matter.
- Coffee: Coffee — particularly dark-roast or decaffeinated coffee — stimulates digestion and contains fiber, oil, and water, all of which help keep the bowels moving. A cup or two will do the trick. As a diuretic, more than a couple cups may make for too many trips to the bathroom.
- Olive oil: Take a tablespoon of olive oil before eating breakfast in the morning. As a nutrient-dense oil, it stimulates the digestive tract. It also lubricates the bowels and provides antioxidant protection at the same time.
- Probiotics: The probiotic strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium encourage healthy bowels which translates to easier evacuation. Increased frequency, better stool consistency, and a reduced digestive transit time have all been observed with individuals who consume probiotics.
- Beans: Beans are rich in fiber which keeps stool soft, and the protein has added benefits for growth and repair of bodily tissues. Beans also possess nutrients essential for muscle health and function.
- Herbs: Flax seed, psyllium, and fenugreek are generally the herbs recommended to start with when it comes to fighting constipation. These are easier on the stomach and fall under the category of bulk laxatives. Purgative herbs such as senna, aloe, and buckthorn are also effective when it comes to constipation.
- Baking soda and warm water: Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a quarter cup of warm water. Supposedly, this mixture is said to relieve pain and pressure associated with constipation, and the bicarbonate is believed to reduce the symptoms associated with heartburn.