6 constipation busters
Constipation can be a very irritating complaint to deal with. Sufferers may experience pain and discomfort, accompanied by straining and bloating.
It’s a common condition that affects people of all ages – around one in every seven adults and one in every three children in the UK.
You may be able to treat constipation yourself by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. If these changes don’t help and the problem continues, you should see your GP.
Candis health editor Karen Evennett suggest these simple remedies…
1. Eat prunes
Their high-fibre content, combined with the active ingredient sorbitol – a natural laxative – makes them a better choice than prune juice alone. Eight a day (around 100g) should do the trick.
2. Befriend fibre
The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fibre. High-fibre foods you should be consuming daily include fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, oats and brown rice. Eat wholegrains, sweet potatoes, peas, okra, kale, garlic, carrots, cabbage, beans, Brussels sprouts and asparagus to get things moving.
3. Drink plenty of water
Extra fluids help keep stools soft and easy to pass. Drink enough water – eight glasses a day is the recommended – to prevent dehydration and drying out your gut.
4. Position yourself correctly on the loo
When we stand up or sit down, there’s a kink in our lower gut that stops us pooping at random. It’s been acknowledged that our Western-style toilets aren’t great for our digestive movements. The squat toilets you may have seen on holiday in places such as France, Japan and China are actually better for you.
But that said, you’re unlikely to install a new toilet. Instead, rest your feet on a low stool when you go to the loo. Doing this will raise your knees above your hips and help gravity to work its magic.
5. Try lubricating the pipes
Healthy oils like olive, canola and other monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils act as digestive lubricants and may help get things rolling again. Try topping off your high-fibre salad with a tablespoon or two of these suggested oils.
6. Use herbal help
Usually, a high-fibre diet accompanied by lots of water is enough to get things moving again. But if not, try natural remedies such as aloe vera, dandelion root, passionflower (passiflora) or milk thistle.