Foods and Exercise that Relieve Constipation Naturally

by Mira

Easy to implement remedies to combat constipation and get soft stools. Fight constipation with foods that act as natural laxatives and with exercise which massages your colon.

I haven't written here in a while and I'd have rather written about something more pleasant, but the fact is, many older people struggle with constipation, and so I think yet another article on the topic might not be amiss.

I've also had some bouts of constipation myself along the way when I spent days on end working without much walking, or eaten foods without regard for fiber, so my advice comes partly from personal experience. But it also comes from locally popular remedies tried out in my family.

So if you're looking for natural ways to relieve constipation, I hope you will find some happy food- and exercise-based solutions in this article. They are far better than chemical laxatives, I believe, because they will keep on working, they won't give you cramps, and they will keep your colon happy in the process.

Thumbnail is a composite of images found on Pixabay.

NB: I am not a medical practitioner, and this is not intended as medical advice. I do not accept any liability from your following the advice on this page, as each person is different and with different medical conditions. Ask your doctor before trying any of these remedies.

If You're Looking for a Quick Fix

Senna might work for you. Depending on the specific makeup of the tablet, you may find that you simply pass a soft stool the next day, or that you experience something close to diarrhea. Which is why I recommend alternative options.

First of All

Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers
Source: Pixabay

Whatever you eat, make sure that each and every single day you eat enough fiber from vegetables (bell peppers are my favorite constipation aid in sandwiches) and fruit. I know that theoretically oatmeal is full of fiber, but I never rely only on oatmeal to do the job. My go-to fruit on days when I've had a lot of bread (say I had to eat two large sandwiches, for instance) is kiwi. There have been scientific studies on it, too, and they showed that kiwi is a laxative. I expect a lot of it has to do with the large quantity of vitamin C it contains. Eating two or three kiwifruit in the evening will help with your constipation -- and will also induce sleepiness.

Kiwis
Kiwis
Source: Pixabay

Which brings me to orange juice. If you often eat sandwiches, couple your meals with freshly squeezed orange juice. It's been proven to relieve constipation. Now, do note that I have seen no effects with orange juice out of a carton. Such juice is pasteurized, which reduces much of its vitamin C content.

Fresh Orange Juice
Fresh Orange Juice
Source: Pixabay

So vitamin C is important. Then magnesium is also a laxative. Simply dissolve an effervescent tablet in water. Magnesium is good for your heart, muscles, and brain, and if you're not taking a multivitamin and mineral complex, is a good supplement to take when you're under a lot of stress with life and work. I don't recommend using Mg all the time (but again, I'm no medical practitioner), but you can use it when you haven't had access to fresh orange juice, for instance.

Grandma's Remedy: Prunes

Given that I live in a country that doesn't produce oranges and kiwis, people in this region have long relied on another fruit: plums/prunes. Prunes have a lot of fiber and also contain sorbitol, and are now easy to find in supermarkets. Some people leave prunes in water for twelve hours, but I find they work dried, too. If you have prunes at night, do not take more than five or six.

The  EU ruled in 2011 that prunes are not a laxative, but Grandma disagrees.

Other Fruit

Some people swear by pears. I don't find them to be better than apples at this, which is to say they're not very powerful. They are important, but can't fight a diet high in bread and cheese, which is what mine now looks like on some days.

Seeds (Flax, Hemp, Sunflower, Pumpkin)

Flaxseed
Flaxseed
Source: Pixabay

Supermarkets here sell these seeds in various combinations. Grind them and serve a tablespoon with two or three tablespoons of yogurt. Eat this as a separate snack, preferably as your last meal of the day. If you have chronic constipation, it's probably a good idea to eat more yogurt – but eat the natural variety, not the sweet versions.

A Note on Flavonoids

Like most vegetables and fruit and other seeds, flax seeds contain flavonoids in important amounts. These are antioxidant nutrients that protect against many forms of cancer. But do note that you have to ingest them at dietary levels. Beware of natural supplements, such as those of flaxseed and grape seed extracts, which contain dangerous amounts of flavonoids, up to 20 times more than a high daily intake. These natural supplements could actually harm you, leading to cancers rather than preventing them. But flavonoids taken in natural form are very healthy.

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Exercise

I found that exercises that bend your body at the waist combined with squats help bowel movements. Also, walk as long as you can every day. Walking massages and stimulates your bowels.

I hope this article has helped you some! Please don't hesitate to leave a comment with other remedies for constipation that you or others close to you have found to work.

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Geri Yoga / Geribody Yoga

Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls partenered with her yoga instructor to create two beautiful and very helpful DVDs
Geri Yoga / Geribody Yoga 2-DVD Set
Updated: 08/08/2018, Mira
 
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Mira 19 days ago

Yes :) Thanks for reminding me to add that to one of the articles I plan to write :)

frankbeswick 20 days ago

I note that you mention flavenoids. Tea is a great source of these chemicals, which are very good for cardio-vascular health.

Mira 20 days ago

Thank you, Tolovay! Sometimes the problem arises from eating lots of sandwiches, for instance.

It's probably good that our body gives us constipation. It alerts us that we need to eat better / a larger variety of healthy foods :)

Tolovaj 20 days ago

We don't like to think about everything going on inside our bodies, yet we are our bodies with all parts which should work as a fine clock. I believe at least half health related problems could be soled with very easy solutions like eating more fibre and exercising more. Just walking several sets of steps every day should help our bowels and this is where the center of immunity is.

Thank for the tips!

Mira 23 days ago

So are Albania and China mentioned in that folktale? I'm not sure I understand your second comment.

DerdriuMarriner 23 days ago

Mira, Perhaps Albania does not prioritize fruits for export. The Elton statement goes back to the 1930s. Ismail Kadare lauds Albania's lemons in The Concert but that's set in the 1970s and written in the 1980s.
In another direction, do you know the folktale about the boy who carried a letter to the kingdom of the dead? The only two countries known to broach that are Albania and China!

Mira on 08/14/2018

Thank you, Frank!

Mira on 08/14/2018

I haven't seen any produce from Albania, actually. They come from Mediterranean countries in Europe, from Turkey, and from South America.

I don't remember about that ruling now, but one well-regarded liquid laxative on the market here does use prunes.

frankbeswick on 08/14/2018

The European Union were examining whether prune consumption would restore healthy bowel function, and it had to say that there was insufficient evidence for this claim. The use of prunes as a laxative was not banned, but was neither encouraged nor discouraged.

DerdriuMarriner on 08/14/2018

Mira, Do you know what prompted the European Union's rulings on prunes not serving as laxatives? Does Romania get oranges from Albania? I remember reading that journalist Leo Elton described Albania as cultivating the world's "best" lemons and oranges.


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