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Constipation - Relief with Natural Foods and Products

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

natural-constipation-foods-and-products

Constipation Statistics

Constipation for adults affects 16% of the people worldwide, although it varies between different countries. It is particularly prevalent in people between the ages of 60 to 110 years of age. The Asian Pacific area and the Americans suffer twice as much constipation as the Europens.

Characteristics of Constipation

Constipation is more common for women, older adults, being dehydrated, a diet too low in fiber or if you are not getting much physical activity. Some medicines, such as sedatives, some antidepressants, opioid pain medications and some high blood pressure medications.

The cause of constipation for many people is unknown, and it is referred to as chronic idiopathic constipation.

Constipation typically has the following symptoms:

  • Less than three bowel movements weekly
  • Difficulty or pain passing stool
  • Hard, dry or lumpy stools
  • Discomfort if all the stool has not passed

Causes of some constipation may be:

  • Medications
  • Eat certain foods you do not tolerate
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Children who have lactose intolerance, so any cow’s milk product
natural-constipation-foods-and-products

Natural Ways to Relieve Constipation

Frequent constipation can cause very negative effects on the quality of your life, and that means physically and on your mental health. There are some natural things you can do to alleviate constipation, and those include:

  • Increase your water intake.
  • Increase your fiber intake, which will increase the bulk and consistency of your bowel movements and make the movements easier to pass. Fiber is found in many vegetables, fruits, legumes and of course whole grains.
  • Exercise has been shown to help in some medical studies.
  • Drinking coffee can increase the urge for some people as it stimulates the muscles in the digestive system.
  • Senna is an over-the-counter herbal laxative found in oral or rectal form. Senna contains glycosides, a plant compound that stimulates the nerves of the digestive system. It is not recommended for pregnant women, those breastfeeding or those with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Magnesium citrate is an osmotic laxative that is an over the counter product.
  • Prunes or prune juice is a sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol.
  • Avoid dairy products if they cause constipation for you.
  • Psyllium is a non-fermentable soluble fiber, and a 2020 medical study found it to be 3.4 times more effective than insoluble wheat bran.
Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut

Mayo Clinic Minute: 5 tips for Constipation Alleviation Without Medication

Probiotics Versus Prebiotics

There has been a lot of discussion about probiotics and prebiotics lately. So, what is the difference? They are both important for human health, however, they play different roles in the human gut.

Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in certain foods or supplements, and they provide numerous health benefits. Probiotics may relieve constipation. They are live beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. There are people with an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, so probiotics may cure the problem.

Probiotic rich foods include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir, which is a fermented probiotic milk drink
  • Sauerkraut and tempah, which is a fermented soybean product
  • Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side dish that has cabbage
  • Miso is a Japanese seasoning.
  • Pickles (gherkins) made with salt and water
  • Traditional buttermilk
  • Natto a fermented soybean product
  • Cheese, like Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese

Prebiotics come from particular carbohydrates that humans cannot digest, so the beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fiber. They improve digestive health because they feed the beneficial gut bacteria, and they boost probiotics, so gut balance is improved. Prebiotics include inulin and oligosaccharides.

Dietary fibers reduce constipation as it improves the consistency and bulk of the stool. Prebiotics improve digestive health. There are prebiotics that may increase the frequency of bowel movements and make stools softer.

Glucomannan is from the roots of a konjac plant that is effective to relieve constipation. A medical study of children found that children with severe constipation experienced 45% relief with this product compared to 13% in the control group.

Some other prebiotic food include:

  • Onion
  • Chicory
  • Garlic
  • Bananas
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Leeks
  • Chickpeas

Benefits of Probiotics & Prebiotics Foods for Gut Health

Conclusion

There several ways to relieve constipation before resorting to strong laxatives that may cause cramping or even enemas. Making lifestyle changes should help an individual with chronic constipation, but it may not be an overnight result. Try the lifestyle changes over a period of time, and there are natural over-the-counter products as well. Probiotics and prebiotics from supplements and food can improve gut health.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 11, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

I was surprised about coffee also. I always think tea is the healthiest choice. I appreciate your comments. Have a nice day, Rajan.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 10, 2020:

I prefer to go for natural remedies for any health issue so this article was quite useful. I am surprised that coffee helps in easing constipation for some people. That's what some people have to say for tea. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 07, 2020:

Dear Vidya,

I agree that probiotics and previotics are the best choice. Constipation is such a common problem. Thank you so much for your very generous comments.

VIDYA D SAGAR on October 07, 2020:

Dear Pamela

This is a very useful and informative article Pamela. Constipation is a common disorder suffered by many without knowing what is causing it. The lifestyle changes that you have suggested are very relevant. Probiotics and Prebiotics are best and my preference mostly. Over the counter medicines are useful. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 07, 2020:

Hi Ms Dora,

Older people do experience constipation more often so it is good to know what to do when that occurs. Thank you for your comments. Stay safe and healthy.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 06, 2020:

Very relevant and useful especially for the old agers. Thanks for all your effort to help us improve our health.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 06, 2020:

Hi Alyssa,

I think we all have to find what words well for our bodies. Thank you so much for your comments.

Alyssa from Ohio on October 05, 2020:

This was very informative, Pamela, and I'm sure it will help many people! You offered some truly great tips! I find that eating Raisin Bran (I've recently started enjoying the crunch variety) every day along with exercise helps keep me regular.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 04, 2020:

Hi Linda,

Constipation can be miserable for those with this problems. I am glad you found the tips useful. I appreciate your comments. Have a lovely day, Linda.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 04, 2020:

Hi Umesh,

Thank you so much for your very nice comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 03, 2020:

Constipation can certainly be an unpleasant problem. It's good to know about ways to help it. Thanks for sharing the tips, Pamela. This is a useful article.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 03, 2020:

Excellent information. Very useful. Thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

Someone was talking to me about Probiotics and Prebiotics, which gave me the idea to write this article for such a common problem. I appreciate your comments and hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 03, 2020:

You have beautifully laid out how best to avoid constipation with all of your tips. Adding the information about the use of Prebiotics and Probiotics was also informative. Thanks, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Devika,

This is such a common problems and I hope all the suggestions will help. Thank you for your comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 03, 2020:

Pamela I like the insightful hub about this common problem I have had for a long time. Your suggestions are most helpful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Adrienne,

I think our lifestyle is certainly one of the main reasons for this problem. Thanks so much for your comments. Have a good weekend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Linda,

I think we all know you eat very healthy and very delicious meals. I appreciate your comments. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Adrienne Farricelli on October 03, 2020:

This is a common problem that seems to go hand-in-hand with our sedentary lives. For sure, your article will help many dealing with this problem.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 03, 2020:

Pamela, another very informative article. Not a problem in this house, but we tend to include many of the foods that you mentioned in our diets. It's good to know that there are so many "natural" ways that one can take care of this rather than relying on medications.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Bill,

It is always good to be informed. Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you have a fantastic weekend as well.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 03, 2020:

Great information, Pamela! This is not a problem I face - yet - but I will be armed with this information should it happen. :) Have a brilliant weekend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi MG,

Personal was the idea. Thank for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Ankita,

I am glad you found this information informative. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Raymond,

I am glad this article may be helpful on your new diet. I appreciate your comments. Good luck.

Ankita B on October 03, 2020:

A very interesting and informative article. It was great to know about the differences between prebiotics and probiotics. Thank you for sharing.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 03, 2020:

This was a very interesting article. I found it useful on a personal level.

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on October 03, 2020:

This is such a helpful article. I switched to low carb food and I must admit that hasn't been easy on my stomach. Fortunately, you listed a lot of food I like and our allowed in my low carb experiment.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

The warm water sounds like it is well worth trying. It is a problem for many people. I take probiotics to and eat pretty healthy.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Hope you are having a good weekend.

Lorna Lamon on October 03, 2020:

This is such a common problem and one that can be quite painful if not treated. I take probiotics and try to eat a healthy diet along with regular exercise. I'm so glad cheese is rich in probiotics as I am addicted.

My mum always drank warm water first thing in the morning which she said kept her regular, so it was interesting to hear Rinita had tried the same remedy. As usual your article is full of great advice and interesting facts Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Rinita,

Drinking hot water is such as easy thing to do. I have not heard about that method, so I appreciate that tip.

Thank you so much for your very nice comments. Have a wonderful weekend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

Lifestyle is surely important. Some people do have problems due to their prescribed medications, so I wanted to add some natural methods of dealing with this problems.

I appreciate your comments and hope you have a lovely weekend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Flourish,

I wanted to try and clarify prebiotic and proiotics as the question has come up recently. I have a relative who is spending $50. monthly to take some combination of these two and I wanted to know the difference.

Thank you for your comments. Have a wonderful weekend.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

I did read your comment and I remember writing back but somehow it is not here. I must have done something wrong for which I appologize. I always appreciate your very thoughtful comments and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Rinita Sen on October 02, 2020:

Great article. Truly useful. I'd like to share one more remedy if that's okay. Something I learned during an Ayurvedic detox. Drinking hot water a few times a day. Not boiling hot but the temperature your mouth can tolerate. This has helped me immensely. Thanks for sharing these great tips again.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 02, 2020:

Excellent and informative article!

You are right that if we follow a healthy lifestyle, with the right food, physical fitness, relaxation etc. constipation is easy to deal with.

There are several natural remedies, which are helpful.

Thanks for sharing another wonderful and useful health related article.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 02, 2020:

The clarifying information on prebiotics vs. probiotics was helpful. This was a good article.

Rosina S Khan on October 02, 2020:

Pamela, didn't you get my comment? I was the first one to comment about four hours ago. Here it is again:

This is a good article for combating constipation. I like the solutions and found the article useful. Thank you for your updated information about the issue. Many people will find it helpful, I am sure, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 02, 2020:

Hi Maria,

A couple of cups of coffee works for many. I hope you enjoy your weekend as well. I appreciate your comments, as always.

Hugs and love,

Pam

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on October 02, 2020:

Great natural remedies for this issue that plagues so many.

My longtime habit of two cups of coffee every morning luckily does the trick for me.

Hope you have a peaceful weekend, my friend.

Love,

Maria

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 02, 2020:

Hi Eric,

I understand the frustration of just sitting there. I hope these more natural alternatives will be good news for some people. I appreciate your comments, and I hope you have a good weekend.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 02, 2020:

Very well done. How interesting. So many folks effected. I will happily take this under consideration. Anything, suggesting a healthier lifestyle is good with me. I understand the verdict is still out on wheat? My biggest issue is sitting there. I just am too hyper :-)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 02, 2020:

Hi Shauna,

I'm glad you have no gut problems. That dish looked good to me also. I appreciate your comments. Have a good weekend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 02, 2020:

Pamela, fortunately, I don't suffer from constipation. I'm quite regular. My body has regulated itself to clear the pipes, so to speak, three times within fifteen minutes after I wake up. So, I start the day off right!

That picture of sauerkraut, brats and mashed potatoes has given me an idea for dinner. I haven't had that combo in a long time and absolutely love it!

Thanks for this informative article, Pamela!

Rosina S Khan on October 02, 2020:

This is a good article for combating constipation. I like the solutions and found the article useful. Thank you for your updated information about the issue. Many people will find it helpful, I am sure, Pamela.