11 Ways to naturally reduce constipation without laxatives
Visit an Atlanta-based physician to learn more about constipation.
By Angela Tague
Nobody likes to talk about their bathroom behavior. But if you're not visiting the porcelain throne regularly, well, you're not very regular. Yes, we're talking about constipation.
How many glasses of water do you drink each day? If you tend to reach for soda and coffee in lieu of water, it's time to make a few changes. A constant flow of caffeinated beverages can wick moisture out of your system, leaving you constipated. Instead, limit yourself to a few cups of coffee in the morning and switch to hydrating water for the rest of the day.
Eating fresh, unprocessed fruits gives your body a huge dose of fiber. Reach for some apple slices, a fresh local Georgia peach or a bowl of fresh fruit salad in the morning. Or, really get things flowing by using a juicer to make a refreshing morning drink. Try juicing a few apples, carrots and peeled lemon wedges for a vitamin-packed beverage.
Pure juices made from antioxidant-rich berries can help you go to the bathroom. Add a glass of no-sugar-added cherry, blueberry, raspberry or strawberry juice to your breakfast routine. Or, add fresh, whole berries to a high-fiber cereal or multi-grain pancakes.
4. Dairy replacements
When you eat too much cheese, milk and other dairy products, you can experience difficulties making a bowel movement. If you love the creamy goodness of all things dairy, consider trying calcium-rich, dairy-free alternatives. Use soy milk on cereal, almond milk in smoothies and tofu-based cheeses on sandwiches, and try ice cream made with dairy-free coconut milk.
The stretching, bending and contorted poses of a yoga workout get all systems working. Just 20 to 30 minutes of this type of exercise can have you running for the restroom. If you have physical limitations, try floor-based yoga poses that don't put any pressure on the ankles or knees.
Foods made with saturated fats can clog your system. Instead of reaching for packaged brownies and cupcakes made with lard, choose treats made at a local bakery with oils or fat-substitutes such as applesauce. Avoid crispy coatings on meats, sauces made with butter and desserts baked with vegetable shortening.
Too much iron in your diet can cause your bowels to bind. If you eat iron-rich beef, spinach, oysters, sardines or fresh-water fish daily, it's time to mix up your menu. Try eating lower-iron foods such as cheese, milk, fruits, vegetables and eggs. Whip up meatless meals a few times each week to ease constipation.
You've always heard that grandma eats prunes to stay regular, but there are a few more ways to get the goodness of this dried fruit. Try drinking a blended fruit juice that contains prune juice. Or, dice prunes that are flavored with orange or lemon essence as a chewy salad topper.
Walking, jogging and taking the stairs are all mild forms of exercise that get your heart pumping and your insides churning. If you sit all day doing desk work, make it a point to get up from your chair once an hour to stretch and move around the room. Taking the stairs in lieu of an elevator ride might be just the exercise your body needs.
If you tend to skip breakfast, pig out for lunch and go light at dinner, your system may simply be backed up. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day to allow your digestive system to catch up. Then, add high-fiber snacks such as a handful of almonds or apple slices between meals to stave off hunger and keep you regular.
Replace white foods with whole grains for better nutrition and regular visits to the bathroom. Instead of baking with bleached all-purpose flour, experiment with whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa flour. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead of white toast and snack on popcorn in lieu potato chips in the afternoon.
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