While store-bought laxatives may get the job done, many people are reluctant to expose themselves to a host of synthetic chemicals just to relieve constipation. If that’s you, don’t fear—there are plenty of all-natural solutions! Here are five laxatives that will help keep you regular, just like nature intended.
Prunes are the classic all-natural laxative—just ask any television show that’s incorporated them into a constipation-related plot. They’re full of insoluble fiber, which helps speed up the digestion process and keeps it regular. They also contain dihydrophenylisatin, a chemical compound that promotes intestinal contractions. If you’re using prunes as a laxative, it’s best to start small and increase your intake slowly. Try one or two prunes or a quarter cup of prune juice, and see if that resolves the constipation. If you’re not getting the desired effects, begin to incorporate more into your diet.
Like prunes, apples are another fruit that’s chock full of fiber, which is essential for normal digestive health. They’re also full of pectin, which acts as a natural bowel stimulant that remedies constipation. If you can stomach it, apple cider vinegar is an especially potent way to get things flowing down there—a tablespoon a day should be enough to do the trick.
There’s not an easier way to fight constipation than by drinking more water. Staying properly hydrated will soften your stools and make them easier to pass as well. The old adage says that you need eight glasses a day, but current research is not so sure. Many researchers think that the actual amount a human needs depends on a lot of factors like age, weight, and activity level, but the eight-glass rule is still a good starting place.
It turns out that staying fit can work wonders for your digestive health. Although doctors are still unsure why this is the case, studies have shown that people who are inactive or bedridden have higher rates of constipation than people who stay active. Currently, their best guess is that movement helps move stool along the digestive tract quickly, which doesn’t allow the large intestine time to absorb excess water from it.
This tangy cabbage dish helps the digestive process along in two different ways. The dietary fiber content of cabbage is decent, but what really makes it a great all-natural laxative is the probiotic properties it receives during the fermentation process. This helps stimulate the growth of naturally-occurring bacteria in your gut, which are necessary for normal digestion and regular bowel movements.