Most people, at some time in their life, will experience the uncomfortable bloating and abdominal pain that often happens with constipation. Constipation is simply a symptom with an underlying cause. By getting to the root cause, it’s easy to utilize some natural remedies for constipation before it takes hold or becomes chronic. Most people know immediately when constipation is setting in, but what some don’t realize is that one can save time and money by employing natural remedies, most of which they already have at home. So before you make a run to the local pharmacy to walk down the constipation relief aisle, give the following natural remedies for constipation a shot.
Best 11 Natural Remedies for Constipation
1. Drink More Purified Water
Keeping your body hydrated eases digestion and supports muscle function. When the body receives enough water, the digestive tract can manage nutrients and move waste along efficiently. The muscles of the bowel also become more efficient in their ability to keep things moving. How much water do you need to drink? If you experience thirst, it’s a definite indication that you should begin hydrating yourself with purified water. However, if you’re feeling constipated, try 8 to 16 ounces of purified water every two hours. I recommend dividing your body weight in half and drink that same amount of water (in ounces) throughout the day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces per day. While it may seem difficult at first, your thirst mechanism will eventually kick-in and your body will begin to crave more water.
You can also make a warm lemon and purified water drink. Lemons are high in vitamin C which pulls water into the gut. Drinking a mixture of lemon and purified water may help relieve constipation in some people. To make lemon water, simply mix the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water. Try drinking this mixture at night and first thing in the morning. Where possible, use fresh, locally sourced lemons.
Hint: You can also add a bit of local, raw honey to your lemon water drink. There is some research suggesting that raw honey can have a beneficial effect on the friendly gut bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy and in balance. In fact, one study found that mice who were supplemented with raw honey had increased amounts of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillius.
2. Prune Juice or Prunes
Out of all the natural remedies for constipation, prunes are a no-brainer for most of us. Prunes are usually thought of as “nature’s remedy” for constipation. In fact, prunes or prune juice is probably the first of many natural remedy for constipation that we think about. 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. It’s a good idea to begin with an 8 ounce glass of prune juice or eat 2 or 3 prunes. Wait a while for the prunes to work before trying more. Too much fiber and sorbitol, especially if your body is not used to a good amount of fiber, may cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
3. Caffeinated Coffee
Your morning cup of joe has the ability to do more than just wake you up. Coffee – especially dark-roast coffee – can actually stimulate digestion. It also contains fiber, oil, and water, all of which usually help keep the bowels moving. For most people a cup or two will get things moving right along. Because coffee also acts as a diuretic, more than two cups may make for too many trips to the bathroom. And, of course, the excessive caffeine may cause nervous symptoms. When choosing your coffee, try to pick organic and fair-trade varieties.
4. Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Before eating breakfast in the morning, take a tablespoon of olive oil. As a nutrient-dense oil, it stimulates the digestive tract and has the ability to lubricate the bowel while providing antioxidant protection at the same time.
5. Baking Soda and Warm Water
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a quarter cup of warm purified water. This mixture supposedly relieves pain and pressure associated with constipation, and the bicarbonate is believed to also reduce the symptoms associated with heartburn. The quicker you finish drinking, the better it seems to work – in other words, slam it down.
The worst enemy of bowel health is inactivity. Moving the bowels involves the coordination of many muscles and nerves. Even if you simply take a walk every day, it can make a dramatic difference in the functioning of your bowels. I highly recommend rebounding as one of the best low-impact exercises for constipation as well as lymphatic cleansing. For cases of occasional constipation, pelvic floor exercises have proven more effective than laxatives. Yoga, pilates, and even running may encourage the movement of wastes. Exercise also can relieve stress; psychological stress is one major cause of constipation.
7. Foods that are Rich in Magnesium
Essential to muscle health and peristalsis, or the movement of food along the digestive tract, is the mineral magnesium. Low levels of magnesium is associated with greater bouts of constipation. Adequate magnesium intake takes water to the bowels which helps to keep the stool soft and easier to move. Foods high in magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fish.
Much of the action in the digestive tract, both absorption of nutrients and elimination waste, is made possible by the presence of beneficial bacteria. One cause of constipation and other bowel concerns is a lack of such flora, often due to the overuse of antibiotic drugs. Supplementation with a quality probiotic is a powerful way to keep your bowel healthy. Increased frequency, better stool consistency, and a reduced digestive transit time have all been observed with individuals who consume probiotics.
9. Don’t “put off” the Urge
One key to regularity is to promptly move your bowels when you first feel the urge, rather than postponing it until later. Allowing fecal matter to stay in your gut any longer than necessary only contributes to bowel compaction and constipation, and it enables toxins to enter the body and produce disease.
10. Toilet Posture Matters
Our ancestors were forced to squat when experiencing a bowel movement. This worked great because when your knees are above your hips, it creates an alignment of the anorectal angle to pass a stool with the least amount of strain. And when in a squatting position it allows gravity to work. You can put a stool under your feet or even try something like the Squatty Potty. And guess what, for those that have hemorrhoids, they can actually heal without relapse when the squat posture is adopted for bowel movements.
11. Quickest Natural Relief for Occasional Constipation
A healthy diet rich in the foods mentioned above as well as an overall healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent long-term gastrointestinal duress from sneaking up on you; however, sometimes you need fast relief. If you need overnight relief from a bout with occasional constipation, try Oxy-Powder®, all-natural colon cleaner. Safe and effective, Oxy-Powder® uses the cleaning abilities of monoatomic oxygen and magnesium to remove blockages.
Constipation is an uncomfortable issue and can have a number of root causes. Keep in mind that toxins must be removed from the body in order for it to function at its best so it’s important to pay attention to constipation issues. If you are struggling in this area, try these natural remedies for constipation to help get things moving. If constipation becomes a frequent issue for you, definitely speak to a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner to identify the root cause and find an effective treatment protocol.
RELATED: What You Must Know About Constipation
References and Resources
Dimidi E, Christodoulides S, Fragkos KC, Scott SM, Whelan K. “The effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Aug 6. pii: ajcn.089151.
Anand Mohan, Siew-Young Quek, Noemi Gutierrez-Maddox, Yihuai Gao, Quan Shu, Effect of honey in improving the gut microbial balance, Food Quality and Safety, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1 May 2017, Pages 107–115, https://doi.org/10.1093/fqsafe/fyx015.
Ezz El-Arab, Aly M et al. “Effect of dietary honey on intestinal microflora and toxicity of mycotoxins in mice.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 6 6. 14 Mar. 2006, doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-6.
Murakami K1, Sasaki S, Okubo H, Takahashi Y, Hosoi Y, Itabashi M; Freshmen in Dietetic Courses Study II Group. “Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;61(5):616-22.
Ba-Bai-Ke-Re MM, Wen NR, Hu YL, Zhao L, Tuxun T, Husaiyin A, Sailai Y, Abulimiti A, Wang YH, Yang P. “Biofeedback-guided pelvic floor exercise therapy for obstructive defecation: An effective alternative.” World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul 21;20(27):9162-9. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i27.9162.
Foster M, Hunter D, Samman S. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S. “Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. Herbal Medicine.” Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2011. Chapter 3.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.