Water | Yogurt | Chia Seeds | Flax Seeds | Legumes | Berries | Aloe Vera | Oat Bran | Castor Oil | Senna | Leafy Green Vegetables | Kefir | Olive Oil | Apples | Rhubarb | Prunes | Kiwi Fruit | Coffee | Sugar Substitute |
What Are Laxatives And Types Of Laxatives?
Before we talk about some of the natural laxatives let us know in brief what exactly these laxatives are; and also know about some of their types. Well! Laxatives are the substances which are essential for loosening stool or for stimulating better bowel movement. Laxatives can even accelerate intestinal transit, which in turn aids speed up the movement of our digestive tract for normal bowel movement.
There are various types of laxative and primary classes of laxatives include, the bulk forming laxatives, stool softeners, osmotic-type laxative, lubricant laxatives, saline laxatives, stimulant laxatives.(1)
It is true that OTC laxatives can be highly essential in alleviating constipation; however, using them in excess can often result in electrolyte disturbances and also changes in the acid-base balance; which in turn can result in kidney and heart damage in long run.(2)
But, there is good news! You can also try some of the best natural laxatives for constipation that might help you get some relief from constipation and also cause no or minimal side effects.
So, read below to know about some of the natural laxatives for constipation.
19 Natural Laxatives For Constipation:
Water is very much essential for remaining hydrated and also preventing constipation. Research has shown that remaining hydrated can actually help in alleviating constipation by increasing the consistence of stool, and thus making it quite easier to pass.(3)
Water can also amplify the effects of all other natural laxatives, like fiber.
In a study, 117 participants suffering from chronic constipation were provided with a diet consisting of 25 grams of fiber every day and half of the participants were also given 2 liters of water every day. after 2 months, both the groups of participants had a significant increase in their stool frequency and less dependence on laxatives; however, the effect was greater in case of the group that were made to drink more water along with the fiber-containing diet.(4)
Yogurt and several other probiotics are usually good for the gut and for digestion. Probiotics like yogurt are helpful for you for normal bowel movements, especially if you are suffering from constipation or diarrhea. This is because they actually reset the microbiome of your gut. Probiotics or yogurt add more of healthy bacteria to the gut and help in reconstituting the digestive tract with those good gut bacteria.
- Chia seeds are rich in fiber, and we know that fiber is actually an excellent natural treatment and one of the best defense against constipation.
- Fiber moves through your intestines quite undigested, thus adding more of bulk to your stool and in turn encouraging the regularity of your bowel.(5 6)
- There are studies that show that by increasing your fiber intake you can increase the frequency of stool and also soften stools so as to ease their passage.(7,8)
- Chia seeds are especially rich in insoluble fiber; comprising 11 grams of fiber in 1 ounce or in 28 grams.(7)
- They primarily contain insoluble fiber; however, about 3% of the total fiber contents are soluble fiber.(8)
- Soluble fiber is known to absorb water so as to form a gel, which in turn can help in making your stool softer so as to ease constipation.(9)
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acid content that is present in flax seeds and also because these seeds are rich in protein content and several other nutrients that actually make them a healthy addition to any type of regular diet.(10,11)
Not only this, flaxseeds are also known to have natural laxative properties in them and they are quite effective in treating constipation as well as diarrhea.
According to an animal study conducted in the year 2015, it was shown that the oil from flax seeds increased the stool frequency in case of guinea pigs. It even had a kind of anti-diarrheal effect and was pretty much able to reduce the condition of diarrhea by about 84%.(12)
These flaxseeds have a good mix of soluble as well as insoluble fiber, which in turn aids in reducing intestinal transit time and also in adding bulk to the stool.(13)
One tbsp or 10 grams of flaxseeds offers you 1 gram of soluble fiber and 2 grams of insoluble fiber.(14)
These seeds are also known to contain a gummy compound known as “Mucilage” that coats the digestive system so as to make the bowel movements go more smoothly. Moreover, the high level of magnesium present in flaxseeds is also helpful because it stimulates the urge to go.
Now, what else is there in our list of some best natural laxatives for constipation? Well! Legumes are one of those best things that work as natural laxatives for constipation. Legumes are actually a family of some edible plants including, chickpeas, beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts. They are rich in fiber which is known to encourage regularity of bowel movements.
One cup or 198 gm of boiled lentils; contains 15.6 gm of fiber while a single cup or 164 grams of chickpeas offer you 12.5 grams of the fiber.(15,16)
Consuming legumes can help in increasing the body’s production of butyric acid, which is a type of short-chain fatty acid that might work as a natural laxative.
There are several studies that have shown that butyric acid could help in treating constipation by increasing the movement of your digestive tract.(17)
Apart from this, legumes are also known to work as anti-inflammatory agents for reducing the inflammation of intestine that might actually be associated with some sort of digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, or the inflammatory bowel disorder.(17)
Most types of berries are loaded with fiber and thus they could be a great choice as an effective natural laxative in mild cases of constipation.
Strawberries are known to have 3 grams of fiber in 152 grams of in one cup of servings, blueberries offer you 3.6 grams of fiber in 148 grams of in every one cup of the servings, while blackberries offer 7.6 grams of fiber in 144 grams of in one cup of the serving.
It is recommended by the American Dietetic Association that 25 grams of fiber every day for women and for men, 38 grams of fiber every day could help in adding bulk to stool and thus prevent chronic disease.(18)
Berries contain soluble as well as insoluble type of fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water in your gut so as to form as gel-like substance which is known to soften your stool.
Insoluble fiber exactly does not absorb water; however, moves through the body intact, and thus adds the bulk of stool which in turn makes it easier to pass.
So, including berries to your regular diet could be one way of increasing the fiber intake and this in turn would work as a mild natural laxative for constipation.
The latex of aloe vera or a gel coming out from the inner lining of the leaves of the aloe vera plant is used quite frequently for treating constipation.
The laxative properties of aloe vera comes from anthraquinone glycosides, which are compounds that draw water in to your intestines and also stimulate the proper movement of your digestive tract.(19)
As per a study it was confirmed that aloe vera was effective enough in its laxative properties. The study used a preparation that included aloe vera, psyllium, and celandine. It was found that this particular mixture was pretty much able to soften stools effectively and to increase the frequency of bowel movements.(20)
This is produced from the oat grain, in fact from its outer layers and it is rich in both soluble as well as insoluble fiber; and thus making it a great choice as a natural laxatives.
In fact, only one cup pr 94 grams of raw oat bran in known to offer you 14 grams of fiber.(21)
One study has evaluated its effectiveness in treating constipation by using it instead of other laxatives in one geriatric hospital.
It was found that participants tolerated oat bran quite well. This helped the participants in maintaining their body weight and also allowed 59% of those participants to stop the use of laxatives; and thus making oat bran a nice alternative to the OTC products. (22)
Castor oil that is produced from castor beans has a great history of being used as a natural laxative. Once castor oil is consumed, ricinoleic acid is released, that is a type of unsaturated fatty acid known to be responsible for its great laxative effect.
Ricinoleic acid functions by activating a specific receptor in your digestive tract that improves the movement of the intestinal muscles for inducing a bowel movement.(23)
A study showed that this oil was quite able enough to alleviate the symptoms of constipation by softening the stool consistency, by reducing straining during defecation and by reducing the unwanted feeling of incomplete evacuation.(24)
Senna is an herb mostly used as a natural stimulant laxative. This is found in several OTC products, such as Senna-Lax, Ex-Lax, and Senokot. The sennoside content of the plant helps in offering you relief from constipation.
Sennosides compounds work by accelerating the movement of your digestive system for stimulating a bowel movement. They even increase the fluid absorption in your color so as to help in the proper passage of stool.(25)
Leafy Green Vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables are also known to be best natural laxatives for constipation. Spinach, cabbage, and kale are some of the leafy green vegetables which work in a few different ways for improving the regularity and for preventing constipation.
First of all they are very much dense in nutrient, and thus provide a fair amount of minerals, vitamins and fiber with relatively few calories.
One cup of kale or 67 grams of it offers 1.3 grams of fiber so as to help increase the regularity and has around 33 calories.(26)
In addition, the leafy green vegetables are also packed with magnesium and this is the primary ingredient in many types of laxatives; because it helps to draw water into your intestines so as to help an easier passage of stools.(27)
There are some studies that have shown that consuming low amount of magnesium in diet could be linked with constipation; so ensuring adequate magnesium intake is important for maintaining regularity.(28)
Kefir is one of the fermented milk products and it contains probiotics that is a type of essential gut bacteria having numerous health benefits, which include improving the function of your immune system and enhancing the health of your digestive system.(29)
Taking probiotics via food or supplements can actually help you in increasing the regularity and also improving the consistency of stool and also speeding up intestinal transit.(30)
Kefir, in particular, has been known to add more of moisture and bulk to your stool.(31)
One study conducted in the year 2014, looked at the incredible effects of kefir on 20 people suffering from constipation. It was found that after consuming 17 ounces or 500 ml of kefir every day for about 4 weeks, participants in the study had a significant increase in their stool frequency, along with improvements in the stool consistency and a reduced use of laxative.(32)
It has been found through some research that you can alleviate constipation quite naturally and effectively by consuming olive oil.
This oil works as a lubricant laxative, offering a coating in your rectum, that lets an easier passage, while also stimulating your small intestine so as to speed up transit.(33)
According to several studies, olive oil has been found to work quite well in spurring bowel movements as well as in improving the symptoms of constipation.(34)
In a study, researchers had combined olive oil along with a traditional colon-cleansing formula and they found that the traditional formula was more effective when it was combined with olive oil than with any other laxative, such as magnesium hydroxide.(35)
Apples are great for our health and are also known to be one of the best natural laxatives for constipation. These fruits are rich in fiber, and it is found that 125 grams or one cup of the fruit serving offers 3 grams of fiber. In addition to it, apples are also packed with pectin that is a type of soluble fiber that can work as a laxative.
A study showed that this soluble fiber or pectin was able to speed up the transit time in the colon and it even worked as a pre-biotic by increasing the number of essential bacteria in the gut so as to promote the digestive health.(36)
In one more study, rats were given apple fiber for 2 weeks before administering morphine for causing constipation. It was found in the study that the apple fiber was able to prevent constipation by stimulating movement in the rats’ digestive tract and by increasing the stool frequency.(37)
Rhubarb is a natural laxative that contains Sennoside A or a compound that provides some potential laxative properties. This compound reduces the levels of AQP3, or a type of protein that helps in regulating the water content in your stool.
This results in a laxative effect by increasing the water absorption so as to soften stool and to ease the bowel movements.(38)
Rhubarb is also known to contain a fair amount of fiber that helps in promoting regularity. One cup or 122 grams of servings contain 2.2. grams of fiber in it.(39)
Prunes offer you a lot of fiber and 28 grams of servings offer you 2 grams of fiber. They are also known to contain a kind of sugar alcohol that is known to be sorbitol.(40,41)
Sorbitol gets poorly absorbed and it functions as an osmotic agent, thus getting water in to the intestines, and this in turn helps in inducing bowel movements.
There are a lot of studies which have found that prunes can actually increase stool frequency and also improve stool consistency that is better than several other natural laxatives.(42,43)
Kiwi fruit is loaded with fiber. One cup or 177 grams of the fruit provides you 5.3 grams of fiber, and this covers 21% of the recommended daily intake.
It contains a mix of both, soluble as well as insoluble fiber. Kiwi fruit contains pectin, and this has got some natural laxative effects.(44,45)
A 4-week long study looked at the potential effects of kiwi on both, healthy as well as patients with constipation. The study found that by using kiwifruit on a daily basis, it helped in alleviating constipation by speeding up the transit time in your gut.(46)
Coffee might help you in increasing your urge to make use of the bathroom. It helps in stimulating the muscles of colon, which in turn can produce the effect of natural laxative.(47,48)
This happens because of the coffee’s effect on a hormone called gastrin that gets released after eating. Gastrin is known to responsible for the secretion of gastric acid, which is known to benefit in break down food in your stomach.(49)
Gastrin is also shown for increasing the movement of your intestinal muscles; which help in speeding up the intestinal transit and in inducing bowel movement.(50)
It must be mentioned that excessive consumption of certain types of sugar substitutes might have a laxative effect; and this is due to the fact that they pass through your gut usually in an unabsorbed form, drawing water in to your intestines and thus speeding up transit in your gut.(51)
This particular process is especially true in case of sugar alcohols, which gets absorbed poorly in the digestive tract.
It has been investigated that Lactitol, which is a kind of sugar alcohol that is derived from milk sugar, is quite potential in treating chronic constipation.(52)
There is another common sugar alcohol named Xylitol that even acts as a natural laxative. It is generally found in trace amounts in sugar-free gums and diet drinks. However, if you consume it in large quantity, it could draw water in to your intestines, thus inducing a bowel movement or even resulting in diarrhea.(53,54)
It is true that there are a lot of natural laxatives for constipation, and you might be aware of many of those from this article. If you are suffering from constipation or want to improve stool consistency and frequency then do add these natural laxatives and also make very much sure to remain properly hydrated. It is also important for you to follow a healthy diet and do regular exercises so as to help prevent constipation and to maintain a healthy functioning of your digestive system.
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