There’s probably not many of us that didn’t have issues with disrupted bowel movements at some point and inevitable constipation as a result. So, when you feel your body needs fast and painless cleansing, there is no better option than using natural homemade laxatives for constipation relief.
For some, constipation proves to be discomforting and utterly irritating, whereas for others it can be outright painful.
And while commercial laxatives are there to solve the problem, natural alternatives shouldn’t be ignored. In this article, we take a closer look at 15 different foods and drinks that are a perfect choice as homemade laxatives for constipation.
Why Natural Laxatives?
Certain laxatives like fiber supplements or stool softeners directly affect the composition of faeces (in their own special way) to ease bowel movement.
Whereas those like the stimulant and osmotic variants target the nerves or the water-bloodstream pathway in the large intestine respectively, in order to produce an excretion conducive atmosphere. Needless to say, these drugs can have harsher side effects in some people.
This brings us to the topic of natural laxatives. Simply put, these are normal foods that naturally regulate bowel movements, and because of their natural attributes, they don’t produce undue side effects like their medicinal counterparts.
Mentioned below is a descriptive list of natural homemade laxatives and foods for constipation that offer relief from constipation apart from imparting nutritional inputs to your body.
15 Homemade Laxative For Adults
Note: it may seem like a good option to look for fast relief, but most of the time and if your situation isn’t critical, you’ll be better to opt for a gradual approach and leave your body to follow its natural schedule. Use this approach in the evening before you go to sleep and you will feel better in the morning or on the next day.
It may be considered a boring drink by the younger lot but the truth is that you could suffer from chronic constipation from not drinking enough water. A dehydrated body looks deep into it’s reserves for water and in doing so absorbs more water from the intestines than what’s deemed necessary.
Less water in the bowel translates to harder stool and constipation. In that respect, drinking ample quantity of water not only lubricates the intestinal walls, but also softens the stool as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, it hydrates the system so that it doesn’t have to look elsewhere for water.
Doctors recommend drinking 1.5 liters of water every day and it is an excellent way to help you stay well hydrated and prevent constipation. The perfect recipe to prevent constipation is a good combination of liquids and fiber. Every natural and quality mineral water is a natural laxative recognized as a good constipation remedy, especially suitable for children.
Otherwise known as died plums, this sticky chewy food is naturally blessed with fibers and sorbitol. Fiber when passed down to the intestinal area mixes with the stool to add volume as well as soften it, whereas sorbitol is a natural carbohydrate that performs a similar stool bulking function.
In fact, the laxative qualities of prunes are so good, that they can heighten bowel movement (and cause running stool) in a normal person when taken in large quantities.
Prunes and prune juice are two very common foods that are used for their known laxative effect. Prunes contain fibres, also sorbitol and dihydrophenylsatin, which work together to obtain a laxative effect.
To work well, prunes must be dry so its laxative effects and nutrients are more concentrated. You must be careful with the prune juice: drinking too much can be painful. Prune is a natural laxative.
Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grain products aren’t stripped of their most nutrient-rich parts i.e. the bran and germ.
A notable mention is brown rice, which has good amounts of dietary fiber, magnesium and trace selenium minerals. Fiber provides the necessary bulk and softening attributes to stool, while both magnesium and selenium are well known for their laxative qualities.
Gut flora or good bacteria found in the digestive tract help in breaking down a large chunk of the processed food we consume on a daily basis.
As such, fresh, natural bio yogurt rich in acidophilus and bifidobacterium strains, when taken daily during breakfast, can certainly contribute to your ‘gut flora’ and therefore keep a check on irregular bowel movements. And, yes, any vegan yogurt varieties also contain probiotics.
A perfect option and one of the healthiest foods you can eat is Bulgarian yogurt, which has the extremely beneficial lactobacillus bulgaricus probiotic bacteria.
Another great natural food is kefir. It’s similar to yogurt, but slightly stronger in its cleansing effect. When you try it for the first time, you will surely feel a noticeable change as a sign that the kefir is doing something good to your body from within. Make sure you pick a quality kefir or dried kefir grains from a reputable source.
Be it the soft flesh of a ripe coconut, or the sweet water tapped straight out of green coconuts, the laxative effects are quite prominent regardless.
Coconut flesh is high on fiber and so consuming a good chunk of it regularly does a lot of good for your bowels. Similarly, coconut water is an excellent hydrating fluid, with a laxative potency high enough to cause watery bowels in some people when consumed in excess!
For the uninitiated, ‘aloin’, a liquid encapsulated inside the skin of aloe-vera plant is highly effective in relieving constipation.
That’s why certain commercially available, herbal laxative pills contain aloin extracts in them. Another chemical component found in aloe-vera is ‘anthraquinone’, which can help in reducing rigidity in stool.
You can easily make your own homemade aloe vera drink and enjoy the multiple benefits for your health.
Now, it would be unfair to pick from the colossus health benefits of flax seed or its oily derivative. But, since we are talking wholly about laxatives in this article, it would be helpful to note that flax seeds can promote bowel movement.
This gentle laxative effect is partly due to the fiber content and partly due to its oily content that acts as a coating for the intestinal wall.
Pure sugarcane juice boiled to a concentrate and crystallized yields regular molasses. When the same is boiled the third time, the result is blackstrap molasses which contains a range of vitamins and minerals.
Magnesium is one such mineral found in this sweet food, which also happens to be a good laxative agent.
Incorporating a variety of raw vegetables into your dietary cycle can ensure a healthy body along with a fit gastrointestinal tract.
The one major component in green leafy vegetables is fiber which is a known promoter of healthy bowel movement. Additionally, certain vegetables like carrot, beet, tomatoes and cabbage among others are specifically known for their mild laxative qualities.
There is a lot to gain in terms of colon cleansing by incorporating raw fruits into your diet. While bananas act like natural bulk-producing laxative food, apples, on the other hand, contain pectin in them, which stimulates intestinal action while also imparting volume to the stool.
Likewise, melons are great in colon cleansing because they are so easy to digest that they proceed directly to the intestines.
Also, fruit derivatives like lemon juice or apple cider are equally effective in regulating and normalizing bowel movement.
Legumes And Beans
It’s the mix of carbohydrates, fibers and other minerals like magnesium, selenium etc that make lentils, peas, beans, and nuts natural laxatives.
Together, the above contents can regulate intestinal action and impart bulk to the stool.
The prevention and curing of constipation start in the morning. Choose a brand of cereals with high fibre content.
The fibre content information is located usually on the side of the box, so make sure you check and read that when you are shopping.
Several portions of cereal brands list the information that corresponds to their fiber content, so this is a good practice to adopt for anyone that is constipated! Wheat bran is a natural laxative for example.
Coffee is a strong stimulant and that stimulates the guts enough to produce a sensitive intestinal movement.
A cup of strong coffee with cereal or some sweet, chocolate bar can do the trick. Make sure that you are taking it in moderation as too much coffee can cause gastritis[Source]
Pear juice is a good alternative for the prune juice, when you are looking for a mild natural laxative. Drinking pear juice or eating tinned pears is a good way to get relief. The fructose and the fibre content is what makes this fruit efficient purgative. Unlike other laxative foods, pear juice and canned pears are mild laxatives. The pear is commonly recognized as a mild natural homemade laxative that works right away.
These fruits have a strong laxative effect and are easily accepted by children for their sweet taste. They work well both in their fresh and dry form.
Four to five dried figs, which have been soaked in water overnight are a really nice laxative and healthy, nutritious option for breakfast that everybody can use safely.
As you can see, when it comes to getting relief, nature has provided a wide range of natural remedies. Laxatives, stool softeners and enemas are useful at the beginning, but they are leading to a lazy intestine condition, causing it to become progressively ineffective.
Laxative medicines are not well systematized and at many occasions not even needed, so often herbs, natural plants remedies and laxative fruits are preferred.
Warning: the natural homemade laxatives for constipation and the remedies listed above are not guaranteed to work every time and for everybody, so please consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of chronic constipation or similar constipation related condition especially if it’s painful and serious.
Foods apart, factors like sedentary lifestyle and stress can also cause constipation. Therefore, a fully decked solution has to be a trifecta of a healthy diet, exercise and stress-free living.
Also, it’s worth noting that some people might be allergic to the foods mentioned above. If so, then they should first consult a doctor before trying them as a remedy for irregular bowel movements.