Before discussing the remedies for constipation, I would like to make people aware of what constipation is and what are the common causes of constipation. Bowel habit is an individual characteristic. It varies from one individual to another and it can never be generalized. People having excessive flatus (gas), hard stools and inability to pass them at the usual interval are said to have constipation.
Here I would like to highlight few common causes of constipation like excessive stress, physical inactivity, decreased fiber and fluid intake, use of certain medications, artificial sweeteners and aging. Few medical conditions that may lead to constipation are diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome and malignancies.
It is always better to try natural home remedies in order to relieve constipation instead of jumping directly to the laxatives or purgatives. Although laxatives and purgatives are very much effective but with side effects. Moreover, patients are likely to get dependent on these agents. Here are few remedial measures for constipation;
High fiber diet – it is the key. Fiber is the undigested part of your diet and it keeps the bowel moving if adequate fluid is present in the bowel. High fiber diet includes whole cereals, grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. At least six ounces of whole grains must be consumed in order to keep your bowel moving.
Fruits – fruits like apples, oranges, pears, peaches etc have high fiber content. Almost five to six servings of fruits must be included in daily dietary plan. Instead of fruit juices whole fruit must be consumed as it has high fiber content.
Vegetables – vegetables like peas, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potatoes should be included in daily diet. Mildly cooked vegetables have more fiber content as compared to well cooked ones.
Avoiding refined products – refined flour, grains, rice and cereals must be avoided because they are poor source of fiber. Brown rice should be preferred on white rice because it has more fiber content.
Honey – honey is very effective in preventing constipation but it cannot be used regularly for this purpose because of its high sugar content.
Physical activity – daily physical activity for at least forty minutes prevents constipation more than any other remedy. It is very helpful in initiation of bowel movements.
Adequate water intake – almost 8 to 10 glasses of water must be taken in order to prevent constipation. Water must be added to the high fiber diet as it helps in the movement of fiber within the gastrointestinal tract.