Almost all of us have, at one time or another, suffered from digestive problems. These may range from heartburn to diarrhea and indigestion to constipation. For many people, constipation and its dreaded bloated and full feeling are the worst.
One of the best way to avoid constipation is by eating a well-balanced diet that includes fiber and lots of liquids. But maybe you don’t have enough time in your busy day to eat the required servings of fruits and veggies. Maybe you forgot to drink enough water all week. Maybe you just want to buy a fast-acting laxative and be done with it.
But wait! Before you run to the pharmacy for a laxative, which could make the situation worse, try one of the following drinks. Don’t worry! You can easily prepare these or buy them already prepared. Just serve yourself, have a drink at the office, and reap the benefits while you work.
1. Coffee or Tea
Do you love the smell of coffee brewing? Do you have to have a cup in the morning to wake up? Or are you more of a tea person? It doesn’t matter, the caffeine in both drinks can help relieve your constipation. Caffeine is a natural digestive stimulant and diuretic. According to one study, it triggers contractions in your colon which help to move hardened waste through the duct.
Warning: Caffeine may lead to diarrhea in some people. Too much caffeine may result in dehydration which could make constipation worse.
Not only is this sweet golden liquid perfect for a cup of tea or bowl of oatmeal, but it can also relieve constipation. The best way to benefit from its effects is by mixing a spoonful with a cup of warm water and drinking it about 30 minutes before eating. Some people claim a squirt of lemon juice increases its effectiveness. Research suggests that honey may be a laxative in some people due to the body’s inability to absorb all of its fructose.
Warning: Honey is a natural sugar and should be limited to 1 teaspoon a day, especially for people with diabetes as its consumption can result in increased blood sugar levels.
3. Fat-Free Milk
Drinking fat-free milk is another constipation-relieving option. While some research indicates that full fat milk may actually result in constipation, another study determined that fat-free milk has the opposite effect. Consuming fat-free milk increases two peptide hormones which work to stimulate the digestive tract.
Warning: People with lactose intolerance should try one of the other constipation remedies on the list to avoid diarrhea.
4. Tomato Juice
Since a lack of dietary fiber is the leading cause of constipation, it’s important to increase fiber consumption. Try drinking tomato juice; it has one of the highest amounts of fiber when compared to any other fruit juice.
Ginger acts as a natural laxative and can stimulate bowel activity. Drinking ginger tea is the best way to benefit from its effects. Add about 2 teaspoons of ginger for every cup of hot water and have a cup 2 or 3 times daily.
Warning: Ginger may affect the body’s response to medicine for diabetes and may adversely interact with blood-thinning medications as well. Consult a doctor before consume.
These 5 drinks are only short-term recommendations. The best way to prevent and treat constipation is via diet, liquid intake, and exercise. Make sure to get the recommended daily serving of fiber: between 30 and 35 grams. Fiber intake needs to be done with increased liquid intake. Fiber is important because it dissolves in water and helps soften the body’s solid waste. When stool is soft, it is easier to pass which helps us avoid constipation. Exercise is also important because it helps to stimulate the digestive system.
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