Constipation is a condition that affects, according to estimates, almost 30% of the adult population, with a worsening of physical and psychological conditions and quality of life. Are there any natural remedies to combat constipation without side effects? Of course there are, on our side we have several natural methods available, such as herbal teas, nutrition and massages. So let's go deeper into this topic by referring, as always, to scientific research.
Diet and lifestyle against constipation
The first intervention to prevent and counteract constipation is to ensure an adequate supply of water, from one and a half to two liters per day. Even better, if you suffer from constipation, is to choose mineral waters rich in magnesium (Bellini et al, Nutrients, 2021). It is also important to ensure a balanced diet with regular meals, without skipping breakfast, since it is precisely the intake of food that stimulates bowel movements. Then, remember to increase the intake of foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, especially apples, pears and plums, vegetables, such as green leafy vegetables. Not to be missed are legumes, barley and rye but also Jerusalem artichokes, artichokes, garlic, leeks, onion, avocado, bananas and chicory, which act as prebiotics for the intestine. This means that these foods nourish the good bacteria of the intestine, thus improving digestive processes and helping to reduce inflammation (Bellini et al, Nutrients, 2021). Also not to be forgotten are flax seeds that counteract constipation thanks to their fiber and mucilage content (Bellini et al, Nutrients, 2021). You can grind a tablespoon of flax seeds, using the coffee grinder for example, and add the flax seeds to the morning yogurt. Then, even the intake of probiotics has been shown to improve intestinal motility (Bellini et al, Nutrients, 2021). Probiotics are found in the form of supplements to buy at the pharmacy or by taking drinks and yogurt added with probiotics. Finally, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of constipation. Therefore, it is important to ensure regular and moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or light jogging.
With a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil constipation goes away
A teaspoon, about 4 ml, of extra virgin olive oil per day, better if taken in the morning on an empty stomach, has been shown to significantly counteract constipation (Ramos et al, Journal of Renal Nutrition, 2015).
Get rid of constipation with prunes
Including prunes in your diet has been shown to counteract constipation, thanks to the presence of fiber and sorbitol which give prunes a laxative action (Bellini et al, Nutrients, 2021).
Kiwifruit against constipation
Against constipation, even in the presence of irritable bowel syndrome, kiwifruit is a valuable aid, thanks to its fiber and mineral salts content. In fact, studies have shown that the intake of two kiwifruits a day for 4 weeks has been able to counteract constipation in people who suffer from it, reduced transit times in the colon and the use of medicines against constipation and improved intestinal function. Not only that, the kiwifruit did not cause swelling or fermentation, thus being very well tolerated (Chang et al, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2010 - Chan et al, World J Gastroenterol, 2007). The extra advice? In the morning, for breakfast, peel a kiwifruit and cut it into pieces, add it to the morning yogurt, preferably vegetable, quickly mash the kiwifruit with a fork and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Then eat, in this way you can get even the laziest intestines moving again!
Pu erh tea
The intake of Pu erh tea has been shown to counteract constipation, even with a powerful preventive action. In particular, this tea is capable of increasing those hormones, such as motilin, which stimulate intestinal motility, improve intestinal transit and reduce its duration (Li et al, Mol Med Rep, 2014).
Massage with essential oils
Especially in the elderly, an aid against constipation comes from the massage with essential oils. In particular, as shown by scientific studies, massage the abdomen with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond oil, to which a blend of the essential oils of rosemary, lemon and mint has been added, 2- 3 drops of each essential oil, is able to counteract constipation and improve intestinal motility up to two weeks after treatment (Kim et al, Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi, 2005).