Constipation in simple terms involves an overall slowing or complete stalling of digestion. A healthy bowel movement requires a handful of ingredients including water, digestive enzymes, and simply the time to “go when our bodies need to go.”
Just increasing your water intake can be hugely supportive! When you are drinking water, you are hydrating your intestines. And when your organs are properly hydrated, there is sufficient water to push material through your gut without any straining necessary.
Select bitter herbs.
Digestive enzymes are released throughout our gut, from the mouth, stomach, liver, and more. Bitters are foods and herbs known to stimulate secretions and motility. These herbs include bitter orange (citrus aurantium) and dandelion (taraxicum officinale). A bitter herb before or after a meal can help prevent bloating. Some people benefit from a couple orange slices at the start of a meal while others find a higher concentrated amount in a supplement to be beneficial.
Next time you are at the market, pick up bitter greens.
Radicchio, arugula, and mustard greens are greens that might pucker your lips due to their bitterness. This taste helps increase the release of digestive enzymes in the body, helping push everything through the gut. Consider adding a bit of mustard greens to a salad, dipping radicchio into hummus, or topping flatbread with arugula.
Finish a meal with mint tea
Both peppermint and spearmint (mentha piperita/spicata) are top digestion-supporting herbs. The herbs can help reduce gas, bloating, and nausea. And ultimately, these reductions help prevent any back-up that would contribute to constipation.
Don't ignore your body.
Sometimes people ignore their body telling them to go to the bathroom. We have busy schedules and bathroom preferences, but not listening to this signal frustrates the gut and impairs its ability to do its job. When you can, try and listen to your body and take a pause from your laptop or get up a bit earlier in the morning to provide yourself a bit more time in the bathroom.
When we support our gut through choices before, during, and after a meal, we create a greater foundation to ensure proper gut movement. Everyone’s gut is slightly different and a bit more water might be what you need today, while some bitter herbs might be beneficial tomorrow.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.