Have you ever felt “stopped up?” It’s a common question I get, especially when just beginning the cellar healing plan. I’ve put together my “top natural remedies” for constipation – just in case you need it.
Note: It’s extremely common when switching to a cellular healing plan or incorporating lots of plant fats for constipation to rear its ugly head so following a constipation diet, the digestive system will improve. Combine this with supplements and mind-body practices, and your gut will thank you!
Foods That Offer Assistance
High Fiber Foods – Most people are deficient in fiber, which could be one of many reasons they struggle with constipation issues. In fact, the average American only consumes about half of the recommended amount of fiber in their daily diet. It is important to recognize that insoluble fiber is the type of fiber you want to consume when dealing with constipation as it helps balance the pH levels in the intestine and promote regular bowel movements. It’s easy to add some more fiber to your diet, just add potatoes, avocados, nuts, flaxseed, and green vegetables.
Prunes & Figs – The age-old fix. . .eating a lot of prunes to inevitably wind up for hours on the toilet. One prune contains 1 gram of fiber and has even been shown to be more effective than over the counter laxatives. Figs are also a great option, dried or fresh, and contain a near perfect balance of insoluble and soluble fiber. Both of these fruits work as natural laxatives, but be mindful about how much you eat to try to get things going!
Water & Hydrating Liquids – Before you start out on your high fiber diet and become all about fiber, you need to make sure you’re consistently hydrated and drinking water regularly! If you eat too much fiber without your body being used to it, you might exacerbate the pain and discomfort from constipation. It’s better to begin adding a little fiber at a time until you feel comfortable and hydrated enough to begin a fully high fiber diet. Water helps fiber pass through the digestive system, create stool, and helps fiber get absorbed more easily. Try to get at least 8–16 ounces of water every 2 hours when you start consuming more fiber and then ensure that your water intake is proportionate to your fiber intake.
Green Leafy Vegetables – Green, leafy vegetables are always a great catchall when you need some extra nutrients. Whether it’s fiber or magnesium, regularly consuming green veggies is a great way to help move things along. Broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and any other dark green, leafy vegetable you can think of is sure to contain tons of fiber while staying low In calories.
Warm Liquids – Drinking something warm or room temperature first thing in the morning can help stimulate digestion as the extra liquid can help soften stool to move along. Certain herbal teas can definitely assist in constipation, as well as bone broth, warm water with some lemon juice, or coffee.
Foods to Avoid if You’re Constipated
Pasteurized dairy products – Toddlers, children, and adults alike can be prone to a milk sensitivity or are lactose intolerant. Even consuming a little amount of dairy can result in some terrible constipation for those who are lactose intolerant. If your child becomes constipated from consuming dairy regularly, it’s probably an early sign of lactose intolerance.
“Empty calorie foods” – If you find yourself eating tons of sweets, processed meats, foods high in sodium, fast food, or chips, this is a habit that should be stopped regardless of constipation! These foods are extremely high in calories, but offer little to nothing in terms of fiber or nutrients. They provide nothing in value to your body and are most likely promoting constipation instead of helping.
Alcohol – Alcohol is often considered when it comes to being a large reason for constipation because it increases urine production, resulting in fluid loss and dehydration. Alcohol can make constipation worse if the issue is already present, similarly to those empty calorie foods. It is very important to drink alcohol in moderation and make sure you’re drinking enough water in proportion to alcohol if you do drink it.
Caffeine – Although caffeine has the potential to go either way, it’s always a good idea to regulate your caffeine intake due to how it effects the person in terms of digestion. If you consume too much caffeine, it can cause frequent urination and make constipation worse. On the opposite side, others find that it improves bowel movements through the stimulation of muscle contractions.
Fried foods – Fried foods are often high in trans-fats and low in fiber, which ultimately slows down digestion and results in “clogged” intestines. They also contain tons of salt which can dehydrate the intestines and makes it even more difficult to push stool through the body.
Refined flour – Refined flour does not contain any fiber will ultimately not help with constipation. Refined flour can often be found in desserts like cakes and pastries and often contain little fiber but many processed ingredients.
Relieve Constipation with These Supplements
Psyllium Husk: Taking psyllium husk with water allows it to swell and produce more bulk which stimulates the intestines to contract and help stool move quicker through the digestive tract. Psyllium husk is a wonderful natural constipation solution due to its high fiber and helpfulness in the process of forming stool. For adults and children over 12 years old, mix one tablespoon with 8 oz liquid daily and let the “magic” happen by itself!
Aloe Vera Juice: When taken internally, aloe juice has a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect and also contains anthraquinones which acts as a natural laxative. Try to take 1/4 cup twice daily and adjust as your body reacts to it.
Sprouted Chia Seeds & Flaxseeds: Both of these seeds aid in the absorption of water and contain lots of fiber and other nutrients. Flaxseed oil has been used for many years to help relieve constipation because it acts as a lubricant the colon. Even more powerful than prunes, you can quickly relieve constipation pain by taking about 2-3 tablespoons of soaked seeds everyday with water, as well as consuming 1 tablespoon daily of flaxseed oil.
Probiotics: A leaky gut will not be super helpful when it comes to staying regular! Therefore – if you’re not already – you should start investing in daily probiotics. Probiotics help soften stools, increase regularity in bowel movements, and can help your digestion in general. A study showed that Bifidobacterium was the most impactful probiotic to relieve constipation. You can also drink or consume fermented foods like kombucha or yogurt and it’s best to make your own using a recipe from our website!
Coconut Oil: A traditional remedy used upon waking is taking 1 tablespoon of coconut oil upon waking, then hourly until a bowel movement occurs. This can be 8-14 times for the average adult.
Utilizing Mind-Body Practices that Help Prevent Constipation
Exercise: It’s better to exercise a few times a week than not at all, especially when constipated! You’ll be increasing your muscle activity in your intestines, which can keep things regular and kickstart the process if you’re struggling. It’s best to exercise in the morning as you can relieve stress, adjust your mindset and outlook for the day to a more positive one, and kickstart the digestive system. If you’re not ready for an intense workout that focus on your abdominal area, light exercises can work just as well! This includes stretching, yoga, a brisk walk, jogging, or whatever you can fit into your busy morning schedule.
Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a technique you can use to control some of your body’s functions. You can also work with a therapist who uses devices to monitor what muscles are moving and applying pressure in different areas. Ultimately, biofeedback helps you learn to relax and tighten certain parts of your body on command. In terms of constipation, specifically learning how to control your pelvic area can help pass stool more as you can be constipated due to stress or other factors. However, biofeedback definitely might not be the perfect fit for everyone as it is tough to master and can feel awkward at first when working with a therapist.