3 Natural Options for Relieving Constipation
Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Individuals who suffer from constipation often find relief by implementing fiber-rich fruits and vegetables into the diet. Foods high in fiber include corn, green peas, spinach, bananas and prunes. Beans, whole grain breads, almonds and walnuts also contain significant amounts of fiber. The recommended amount of fiber for adults is between 20 and 35 grams per day. It is also a good idea for sufferers to minimize intake of foods such as cheese, meat and processed foods, as these items are low in fiber and can lead to additional symptoms.
Increased Fluid Intake
When constipation is caused by dehydration, increasing your daily liquid intake can help rehydrate the body and provide the digestive system with additional fluids to help move the bowels along. The recommended amount of fluids per day is between eight and 10 glasses of water, juice, or non-caffeinated beverages. Beverages containing caffeine can actually dehydrate the body more, so it is important to avoid caffeinated sodas, coffee and teas when treating constipation.
Exercising is essential for optimal digestive health, as continual movement helps stimulate the intestinal muscles and regulate the bowels. If you do not exercise regularly, start off with short walks and slowly increase your activity to one 20-minute walk each day. If you already exercise on a regular basis, cardio exercises such as dancing, swimming or running may help alleviate symptoms. Stretching exercises and yoga are also recommended.
Constipation is a condition in which individuals pass hardened, dry stools less than three times per week, leading to stomach pain, bloating and intestinal gas. The condition occurs when the colon does not absorb enough fluids from foods and liquids when the substances move through the digestive system. Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors that include inadequate fiber intake, certain medications, emotional stress and dehydration.
If you suffer from constipation, it is important to consult with a physician if symptoms last longer than three weeks or are accompanied by weight loss, as this can indicate an underlying medical condition such as hemorrhoids, thyroid problems, intestinal blockages or diabetes. If your symptoms are mild, there are a variety of natural remedies that can help encourage healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
In many cases, constipation symptoms are easily treatable with natural home remedies and lifestyle changes. When home remedies aren't effective, over-the-counter laxatives may be recommended, but should only be taken as directed to prevent dependence. Understanding the common causes of constipation and consulting with a physician when symptoms persist can help ensure the appropriate treatment and encourage optimal digestive health.