Home remedies for constipation
Constipation or potty problem is a common problem but most people are embarrassed to talk about it. It is a condition in which you do not empty the bowel everyday or pass hard or painful stools. Constipation is no laughing matter in fact it can be disturbing. If you are severely constipated (that is you do not pass stool for more than 2-3 days) you may experience cramps or pain in the lower part of your tummy. You may also feel uneasy or bloated.
"Constipation is caused by going on crash diets, not eating enough fiber or not drinking enough water. Some medical conditions such as underactive thyroid, IBS, pregnancy, poor mobility in elderly or some medicines can also cause constipation as a side effect. People often become constipated when travelling because their normal diet and daily routines are disrupte, " explains our in house expert, Dr Neelam Motling.
Constipation is unpleasant, but you do not have to suffer. Read here simple home remedies that will help you to relieve the discomfort caused due to constipation and will also help to clear your bowels daily.
1. Dry Fruits
a) Black raisin
Well Known Nutritionist Vriti Srivastav says, "Raisins are full of fiber and antioxidants. Darker the raisins, higher the antioxidant levels. Black raisins are full of fiber hence acts as a natural laxative. Soak 10-12 black raisins in water overnight and have the raisins and water on an empty stomach in the morning."
Figs are packed with fiber hence eating 2-3 fresh figs or dried figs with a cup of warm milk before going to bed helps to clear the bowels. Vriti adds, "Dried figs (3-4) can also be soaked overnight and had on empty stomach in the morning to prevent constipation."
Vriti explains, "Papaya, raw or ripened is a good remedy for constipation. It relieves discomfort due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Papaya contains good levels of anti-oxidants and protein digesting enzyme called papain, which prevents indigestion and prevents bloating."
Along with a high Vitamin C content, oranges also have a high amount of fiber. Having two oranges everyday one in the morning and one in the evening will provide relief from constipation. Vriti adds, "Having whole orange instead of juice, will give you fiber which aids in bowel movement giving bulk to the stools. Since constipation also causes toxins from the waste to enter the bloodstream, our body needs good amount of anti-oxidants to neutralize the toxins. Most of the foods including orange, which are termed good for curing constipation are rich in anti-oxidant levels too."
Guavas have soluble and insoluble fiber which helps in constipation. The pulp of guavas contains soluble fiber while the seeds have insoluble fiber which helps to ease the bowel movement. Having a guava every day will keep constipation problems at bay.
Banana contains soluble fiber which again aids in bowel movement. Ripened banana can be had as it is or with milk to prevent constipation.
- Green leafy vegetables
"Dark green leafy vegetables not only provide fiber, but are also good sources of magnesium which is known to be a great laxative. These vegetables can be had raw in salad form or can be cooked" points out Nutritionist Vriti.
- Cucumber –
Vriti suggests, "Cucumber is a savior for many common ailments and also for constipation due to its high fiber content. Start having a cucumber as a salad everyday with your meals."
Ayurveda recommends lemon juice with warm water and a pinch of salt first thing in the morning. Lemon juice helps to cleanse the intestines while salt helps for the easy passage of stools.
Flaxseeds are also known for their fiber content and help to relieve constipation. You can have 1 tsp of ground flaxseeds with warm water on an empty stomach. Nutritionist says, "Apart from their richness in omega-3, flaxseeds also contain fiber and minerals aiding in bowel movement. Flaxseeds are best in their grounded form. They can be roasted and grounded and used as chatni with meals, or used as seasoning for salads, raita or vegetables. Flaxseeds (2-3 tsp) can also be had early in the morning on an empty stomach with water."
Drink plenty of water (at least 8- 10 gasses of water every day). Vriti adds, "Start your day with 2 glasses of warm water to get the muscle movements started. Water keeps the body hydrated helps in the movement of food and aides in good digestion. Lack of water in the body will cause hard stools which lead to further complications." you can keep a glass of water in a copper container overnight and then drink it in the morning to get effective results for constipation.
Following a sedentary lifestyle increase the likelihood of constipation. If you want the waste in your body to move it is important that you keep moving. Vriti explains, "Exercise is an important factor in preventing or curing constipation as it decreases the time foods take to move through the large intestine. It helps in natural contraction of intestinal muscles. However, it is suggested that you should wait for an hour or 45 mins after a meal before performing rigorous exercise."
Dos and don'ts to avoid constipation:
- Eat freshly cooked food with spices like cumin seeds, turmeric and asafetida.
- Eat slowly to avoid over eating and chew your food properly so that it gets easily digested.
- Avoid or limit the intake of white flour (maida), white sugar and processed and tinned food. Include whole cereals and pulses in your diet.
- Have salads with lunch and dinner.
- Fix your meal timings.
- Eat at least 2 hours before bedtime
- Be active and exercise regularly.
- Reduce stress by practicing deep breathing exercise of meditation.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Reduce the amount of tea / coffee
Constipation is easily manageable. Taking care of your diet and exercising regularly will keep you away from constipation. If you experience chronic constipation in spite of following a healthy lifestyle please visit your physician for a checkup.