First thing's first, what is constipation?
Constipation is a difficulty emptying bowels and/or a reduction in bowel movements. Some define constipation as fewer than three bowel movements a week. However, the definition can vary based on what is normal for an individual.
What could be causing constipation?
Constipation can often be referred to as “simple” or “functional.” In simple constipation, the constipation may be due to lifestyle factors such as low dietary fiber, inadequate water intake, or physical inactivity. Functional constipation on the other hand describes a physical change within the intestines such as an obstruction. Constipation could additionally be a symptom of an underlying condition such as IBS or colorectal cancer.
What are 5 foods that can help relieve constipation and how/why do each of them help?
Papaya & Pineapple
Papaya contains the digestive enzyme papain while pineapple contains bromelain. These enzymes help digest proteins. This digestive support can help encourage bowel movement. You can even find papaya enzymes in capsule forms however, the whole food, due to the fiber, is best!
Flaxseeds contain dietary fiber, which can help act as a bulk laxative to encourage movement through the intestines. Flaxseeds additionally contain omega-3 fatty acids, the fats responsible for reducing inflammation in the body. Constipation unfortunately does involve inflammation since the “trash” is backed up.
You may easily be familiar with coffee’s association with the bathroom. Some people’s bathroom routine is tied to their morning cup of coffee. Coffee can help stimulate the GI tract and encourage movement.
Oats contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. I often think of insoluble fiber as a huge broom, helping collect and pull food through our intestines. Soluble fiber on the other hand dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. Together, both insoluble and soluble fiber, help produce regular movement in a comfortable consistency from our stomach to our butt.
If food alone isn't quite doing the trick, supplementing with gentle, natural herbs and minerals can help move things along. For example, try taking magnesium citrate before bed or incorporating digestive bitters into your health routine.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.