The NID (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) reports that 16 in 100 adults have constipation, with that number reaching 33 out of 100 adults over age 60. While everyone’s bowel habits are different, typically, constipation is defined as fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
People experiencing constipation may experience:
In this article, we will review juices, foods and teas that are helpful in relieving the symptoms of constipation. For each category, we will list many choices, and then break down a few of the most popular.
Now, let’s break down a few of these choices and discuss why they may help relieve constipation.
Apples & Pears – The high fiber content in both of these fruits helps relieve the symptoms of constipation. In addition to fiber, they also contain sorbitol and fructose which can aid in digestion. The high levels of water in these and other fruits also help to keep stools soft. To gain the most benefit from these fruits, eat them whole (including skins) and raw.
Olive & Flaxseed Oils – These oils have a mild laxative effect helping to encourage the flow through the digestive tract. They also contain antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help improve digestion.
Sauerkraut – Fermented foods contain probiotic bacteria that can help improve digestion. The probiotics have also been linked to a boosted immune system and improved digestion of lactose.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Ginger – A common natural choice for indigestion for any time of the day, ginger root tea can help with digestion after a meal. By calming the digestive system and improving digestion, it may help the body process food and produce bowel movements.
Marshmallow Root & Licorice Root – Both of these herbs have an anti-inflammatory effects and sooth the digestive tract. Marshmallow root also has a laxative effect.
Black Tea, Green Tea & Coffee – The naturally-occurring caffeine in these stimulating beverages have a laxative effect. Be cautious if you have a sensitivity to caffeine.
Prune Juice –Well-known for their laxative effect, prunes are high in dietary fiber, sorbitol and potassium. Make sure when purchasing prune juice, look for no added sugar.
Lemon Juice – Lemons help relieve constipation by pulling water into the digestive system. Because dehydration can cause constipation, adding extra water with lemon may help relieve symptoms.
Apple Juice – Both whole apples and apple juice can help ease constipation because they are high in sorbitol and dietary fiber. It is important to note that due to the high fructose content in apples, large quantities may cause digestive upset in some people.
A fun and delicious way to add these juices to your diet is by mixing up a green smoothie by adding spinach, grated ginger root, carrots, apple, flaxseed and berries to a blender. Top with any of the juices listed above until your desired consistency is reached.
Summary – Constipation is a common occurrence that can be caused by a variety of lifestyle, diet and medical factors. Common causes of constipation; stress, dehydration, dietary changes, medications and supplements. Some medical conditions can also cause constipation such as; IBS, pregnancy, diabetes, celiac disease, anxiety, and more.
If your constipation occurs frequently, it may be time to discuss with your doctor possible dietary or lifestyle changes.
Written By: S. Campbell for Access Health Care Physicians, LLC.
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