Constipation is one of the hardest stomach and bowel issues to….well…..stomach. It creates painful stomach and intestinal pain while leaving us with awful hemorrhoids to deal with. Constipation is the one health issue that targets everyone. It does not discriminate over gender or age. It is often due to a lack of hydration and not enough fiber in our diets However, taking care of the issue naturally is super easy with just a few additions to our diet! Here are some popular foods you can eat to get your bowels flowing healthily.
Okay, so water is not technically a food but it does aid in digestion! When we load up on caffeine and sugary drinks, we dehydrate ourselves and just stop things up. Think of it like a water slide. The less water, the more you are going to get stuck and hurt on the way down. But with plenty of water, you will slide easy and with enjoyment. It’s recommended to increase your water up to 8 glasses a day if you are constipated
Prunes are often given a bad rap as being identified as an “old person’s” snack. However, as we age, our systems do not function at top shape and a little help from prunes go a long way. Prunes contain fructans and sorbitol, naturally, and they are fermented sugars that have a laxative effect on the body. No matter how old you are, if you are constipated just grab a few prunes. If eating prunes is just too much, try drinking 2 glasses of prune juice in the day. Or add it to a smoothie!
If you cannot bring yourself to eating prunes, try some dried cherries to help things move along. Cherries are packed with fiber and cause your intestines to move in a wavelike motion that will certainly help your bowel issues. One cup should be enough to help move things along.
Ground flaxseeds are a fantastic way to add fiber to your meals throughout the day. One tablespoon holds 2 grams of fiber. That may not sound like very much but when you had a tablespoon to your oatmeal and another tablespoon to your afternoon smoothie, it adds up. Ground flaxseeds offer a little of soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber makes waste softer and insoluble condenses your waste to make it easier to pass.
Oranges contain a flavonol called naringenin that acts as a laxative. But don’t grab a glass of orange juice! Orange juice has been processed and often contains extra sugar which contributes to issues of constipation. Grab a whole orange instead and add an extra 4 grams of fiber with the naringenin.
Oatmeal is a fantastic source of fiber. One serving has 2 grams soluble fiber and 2 grams of insoluble fiber. They work together to bulk up and soften so that everything passes with ease. But be sure you are not buying the processed and sugary oatmeal packets! One bowl of oatmeal should be enough fiber to help ease your intestines. Don’t forget that oatmeal is also great for heart health!
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera used to be used in laxatives for a long time. Now you can find aloe vera juice and see if it helps you. However, it’s recommended you only start with 2 oz and move up to 8 oz gradually over time. Or stop when you see it working effectively. No need to take 8 oz if 4 oz has you running to the bathroom every hour.
Often when we make recommendations on how to eat we forget that folks may still be lost on how to eat the food they need. So we want to leave you with a recipe for a fantastic salad that will make your tummy a happy one!
- Begin with some red and green leaf romaine, tossed with some spinach and kale for extra flavor and texture.
- Mix in some chopped oranges, dried prunes and/or dried cherries for some sweet.
- A tablespoon of ground flaxseed for an extra fiber punch.
- On top, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. This salad contains 10 grams of 28 grams recommended daily (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).
Foods You Want to Avoid
No matter what you eat, it’s important that you avoid certain foods when you are constipated. Those foods include:
- Anything dairy, it will stop you up
- Heavily processed foods
- Sugary foods
- Red meat
- Fried foods
Constipation can leave us miserable and with no desire to do very much. Rather than suffering at home and on the couch, take in some extra fiber rich snacks and a fiber full meal. You should feel like your old self again!
Featured photo credit: Belmarra Health via belmarrahealth.com