11 surprising home remedies for constipation relief
We all suffer from it now and again, some of us more so than others, but what’s surprising is that a cure for constipation may be as close as your kitchen! Try these trusted natural cures for quick relief.
Constipation remedy: Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds make great home remedies for constipation, according to a study published in the International Journal for Research in Applied Science and Engineering Technology. The oily composition of sesame seeds works to moisturise the intestines, which can help if dry stools are a problem and provide constipation relief. Add the seeds to cereals or salads for crunch, or pulverise them in a coffee grinder and sprinkle on food like a seasoning.
Constipation remedy: Molasses
One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses before bed should help ease your constipation by morning. The ingredient was studied by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2019 on paediatric constipation with successful results. Blackstrap molasses is boiled and concentrated three times, so it has significant vitamins and minerals; magnesium, in particular, will help you achieve constipation relief.
Constipation remedy: Fibre
Fibre acts like a pipe cleaner, scrubbing food and waste particles from your digestive tract and soaking up water. It adds bulk to your stool, giving the muscles of your GI tract something to grab on to, so they can keep food moving along. The Mayo Clinic suggests aiming for 20 to 35 grams of fibre a day to stay regular. Foods particularly high in fibre include bran cereals, beans, lentils, oatmeal, almonds, barley, many vegetables, and fresh and dried fruit. All of these foods can be home remedies for constipation. If you’re constipated and taking in additional fibre, be sure to drink more water than usual to keep your stool soft and easy to pass.
If you’re still not convinced high-fibre foods can help relieve constipation, this may convince you that you can control constipation.
Constipation remedy: Mint or ginger tea
Mint and ginger are both proven remedies to help alleviate a slew of digestive problems. Peppermint contains menthol, which has an antispasmodic effect that relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Ginger is a ‘warming’ herb that causes the inside of the body to generate more heat; herbalists say this can help speed up sluggish digestion. Dr Stephen Sinatra of HeartMD Institute recommends ginger in either capsule or tea form. In tea, the hot water will also stimulate digestion and provide constipation relief. Dandelion tea is also a gentle laxative and detoxifier.
Constipation remedy: Healthy fats
Olive oil, nuts and avocados all contain healthy fats, which can help lubricate your intestines and ease constipation, according to the experts at Harvard Medical School. A salad with fibre-rich leafy greens and a simple olive oil dressing, a small handful of nuts, or a tablespoon of natural nut butter on fruit or toast are good options. Even if you’re watching your weight, healthy fats are necessary for basic body functions; they are very satiating so keep you satisfied with less.
Constipation remedy: Lemon water
The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant to your digestive system and can help flush toxins from your body, providing constipation relief. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass of water every morning, or add lemon to tea; you may find that the refreshingly tart water not only acts as a natural remedy to your constipation but also that it helps you drink more water each day, which will improve your long-term digestion. And don’t be afraid to warm it up, as warm or hot fluids can also be a helpful treatment.
Constipation remedy: Coffee
Coffee can stimulate your colon and speed up your trip to the bathroom. Other hot drinks work as home remedies for constipation too, such as herbal teas or a cup of hot water with a little lemon juice (see previous) or honey may stimulate your colon as well. Coffee is also a diuretic, however, so make sure you keep drinking water or your constipation could become worse, according to Harvard Medical School experts.
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Constipation remedy: Raisins
High in fibre, raisins also contain tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect, according to Stanford Children’s Health. Cherries and apricots are also rich in fibre and can help kick your constipation. Eat these fruits with a bowl of yoghurt for the added benefits of gut-soothing probiotics.
Constipation remedy: Prunes
These fibre-rich fruits are a go-to home remedy for getting your digestion back on track. Three prunes have 3 grams of fibre, and they also contain a phenolic compound that triggers the intestinal contraction that makes you want to go. Johns Hopkins Women’s Center For Pelvic Health recommends an easy recipe using prune juice to improve bowel regularity. Another great dried fruit choice is figs, which may not cause as much bloating as prunes.
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Constipation remedy: Castor oil
This home remedy for constipation has been handed down for generations. In fact, using castor oil as a laxative is one of the oil’s primary uses, according to Cleveland Clinic. For best results, take one to two teaspoons on an empty stomach and you should see results in about eight hours. Why? A component in the oil breaks down into a substance that stimulates your large and small intestines.
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Constipation remedy: Exercise
The Mayo Clinic promotes exercise as a way to increase muscle activity in your intestines. Even a daily 15-minute walk can help move food through your bowel more quickly. If you feel sleepy after a heavy meal, try to move around instead of lying down. Jump-starting the digestive process can help you avoid that painfully full feeling that often follows a large meal.
Now, discover how to eat your way to a bloat-free belly.
Medically reviewed by Dr Tia Jackson-Bey.
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