Natural Remedies for Constipation – An 8-Step Action Plan
Here are some safe, natural recommendations to give you relief for constipation and get things moving again.
Step 1 — Review Medications and Medical Conditions
There are certain types of medications and supplements that cause constipation including: Antihistamines, cough, cold and sleep medications, antacids with aluminum, anticholinergics for depression, anxiety, nervousness, and Parkinson’s, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antihypertensives to lower blood pressure, antipsychotics, cholesterol lowering, calcium channel blockers, calcium supplements especially carbonate, iron supplements, and opiate pain relievers.
If you identify a medication or supplement on this list, talk with your doctor or health practitioner. You may be able to find a substitute that is not constipating.
Step 2 — Add Water
Fill up TWO quart bottles (or two liter bottles) of purified water every morning and drink them throughout the day. Do not use tap water because there are many chemicals (such as chlorine which kills off friendly bacteria) in tap water that could be contributing to constipation. Your colon needs water to move digested food along and eliminate it. If you are dehydrated, your colon will remove all of the water from digested food in an attempt to rehydrate your body. The digested food without water will turn rock hard and be very difficult to eliminate.
Step 3 — Review Foods
In the House Go through your cupboard and refrigerator and take out all the food and drinks that have as the first two ingredients sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, or white rice. These foods are low in fiber and will be constipating. Replace refined carbohydrates with whole wheat flour, whole rye, and other grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes, honey, molasses, Stevia, and Xylitol (made from Birch tree sugar). Do not replace sugar with diet products as they have many negative health consequences.
Step 4 — Add a Healthy Food to Your Diet
Add foods from each of the following lists to your diet and eat them every day.
- Foods That Lubricate the Intestines
- Sesame seed tahini
- Swiss chard Kale
- Collard Okra
- Carrot Cauliflower
- Beet Banana
- Celery Honey
- Pear Prune
- Peach Apple
- Apricot Dates
- Raisins Walnut
- Winter squash Pine nut
- Almond Alfalfa sprouts
Foods That Promote Bowel Movements
- Cabbage Papaya
- Coconut Sweet Potato
- Asparagus Peas
Foods Especially High in Fiber (more than 5 grams per serving)
- Whole grain breads, buns, bagels, muffins, bran flakes, All Bran, brown rice, whole grain pastas
- Dried fruits (apricots, dates, prunes, raisins)
- Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, dried peas and beans, lentils, corn
- Homemade sauerkraut
- Homemade pickles
- Yogurt (with live bacteria, preferably home-made)
- Kefir (with live bacteria)
- Wheat-grass juice
Step 5 — Add Good Oil
Add two tablespoonfuls of uncooked, virgin, cold-pressed olive oil to your diet daily. You can pour over vegetables, salads, soups, or the main course after it is cooked. Good olive oil will help lubricate your intestinal tract.
Step 6 — Add a Probiotic Supplement
Supplementing with probiotics helps restore healthy balance to your digestive system and keep it running smoothly. Multi-strain probiotic supplements that include the bifidobacteria have proven to be one of the most effective remedies for constipation. One of the best probiotic strains is Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 which has been shown to significantly improve common digestion and colon problems, and provide relief for constipation. In fact, the research has shown it helped stool move through the bowel 20 hours faster than 2,000 other probiotics.
Step 7 — Exercise
Certain types of exercise that relax us and encourage the colon to move will benefit constipation. Chinese medicine has developed very specific health exercises called Chi Gong (also spelled Qigong) to help constipation. They involve easy, gentle twisting motions that can be done sitting or standing for a few minutes a day. Yoga, also, has specific movements that have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to help constipation. Walking or leisurely strolling that helps you relax will probably help constipation more than intense, competitive exercise.
Step 8 — Reduce Adrenalin
You’ve eliminated constipating medications and supplements, you drink lots of water, you eat fruits and vegetables and olive oil, you take probiotics, you exercise daily and you’re still constipated. What is wrong? The problem may be too much adrenalin. Adrenalin shuts down your digestion and your eliminations. To ease anxiety and reduce your adrenalin level, try one or more of the following for at least 20 minutes:
- Do Chi Gong, Yoga, or Tai Chi in relaxed manner, without worrying about how well you are doing
- Take a relaxing walk
- Have someone read out loud to you from a book that makes you feel good
- Listen to a relaxation tape
- Listen to relaxing music
- Notice what makes you feel relaxed and do more of it
- Do not listen to the news or read a newspaper