Constipation is defined as having less than 3 bowel movements in one week. It is common among Americans due to our SAD diet and sedentary lifestyles. We are also prescribed more medications than any other country. Medications are one of the leading causes of constipation. Let’s take a look at natural ways to treat constipation without the use of laxatives or other over-the-counter drugs.
13 Ways to Relieve Constipation Naturally
Here are some easy things you can do to relieve constipation without taking harmful laxatives or chemicals.
1. Drink More Water
The first and best way to relieve constipation is to drink more water. Your colon is absorbing a lot of the water that you drink. If you don’t drink enough, the stool is going to dry up and won’t come out very well.
Carbonated water is actually a good option to help to get things moving. I recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces a day. Make sure you’re absorbing the water you drink by getting electrolytes in.
2. Saltwater Flush
Add a tablespoon or two of saltwater to 24 ounces of water as the first part of a cleanse.
You can flush out your body in the morning, then drink juices for the rest of the day. If you have blood pressure or kidney problems, I wouldn’t recommend doing this until you’ve gotten them under control.
A saltwater flush is a good way to flush out your insides because the salt water doesn’t get absorbed, it just cleanses your digestive tract.
3. Eat More Fiber
There are different types of fiber, and you eat them for different reasons.
Insoluble fiber is present in the following food sources:
- Whole grains
It adds more bulk to your stool and helps it pass easily through the digestive system. Eating more vegetables is the easiest way to increase your intake.
Soluble fiber can be found in the following foods:
- Some fruits & vegetables
I would recommend sticking with beans, seeds, and nuts unless you have a sensitivity to those.
Soluble fiber is going to absorb more water and forms a gel-like paste in the digestive system, which softens stool and improves consistency.
If your stool feels like it’s backed up and you want to get things moving through you, use insoluble fiber.
If your stool is getting too dried out and it hurts, add more soluble fiber to help soften it up.
Best Sources of Fiber
Non-fermentable soluble fibers such as psyllium husk are the best choice for taking care of constipation. One study in 2020 found psyllium husk to be 3 ½ times more effective than insoluble fiber or a wheat brand for constipation.
Psyllium husk can be found at most grocery stores and can be added easily to any drink to get more fiber in your system.
I would also recommend adding chia or flax seeds and spinach to a smoothie to get both insoluble fiber and soluble fibers in, and get you flushed out.
4. Go On A Walk
Going for a simple walk if you’re having constipation is going to help your digestion system move normally.
Try moving right after dinner, to get the food moving and assist your digestive system and blood flow.
Don’t do high-intensity or long-intensity workouts—simply taking a walk will help you with constipation.
5. Drink Coffee
A study in 1998 found that caffeinated coffee can stimulate the gut the same way a meal can. Caffeinated coffee was 60% more effective than water and 23% more effective than decaf at getting the digestive system moving.
Coffee relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which is the pathway between the esophagus and the stomach. Drinking coffee is a nice, easy way to get your system moving in the morning.
My favorite is the Dr. Livingood Coffee Recipe, which contains organic coffee and healthy fats.
Senna is an herbal laxative, which contains plant compounds called glycosides. These stimulate the nerves in the gut and help speed up bowel movements.
You can buy this in a simple organic tea, usually called Smooth Move. I would avoid using this consistently, or while you’re pregnant.
You don’t want to become reliant on this, but if you’re stopped up or doing a detox protocol, feel free to use it.
You need these good bacteria in your gut to move your bowels along. You actually have more bacteria in your body than you do cells.
A 2019 review found that taking probiotics for just 2 weeks can help take care of constipation by increasing stool frequency and consistency.
My favorite probiotic foods are:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also supplement these with my Pre-Pro-Post Biotic Blend.
This is the food that probiotics feed off of to get your digestive system going and to generate post-biotics.
Prebiotics are fibers that improve digestive health and bolster gut bacteria. Some of the best sources for this are:
- Chicory Root
It’s not the most appetizing menu, but these are all fantastic prebiotics to feed the good bacteria in your gut and stimulate stool movement.
9. Get To The Source
In order to relieve constipation for good, you have to go to the source. Oftentimes our gut is fighting inflammation and toxicity, so it needs a reset. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is going to help calm the inflammation your gut is trying to fight. 80% of the inflammation inside of your body is due to your gut.
I recommend removing the foods that irritate your gut and going through a six-step process to reset your gut. I have an entire training on how to do this reset.
10. Konjac Root (Glucomannan)
One study in children found that 45% of those taking glucomannan experienced relief from severe constipation, compared to only 13% in the control group.
This means that it’s 3 times more effective than not doing anything for eliminating constipation.
Glucomannan is a great way to help get toxins out of your system, keep your blood sugar down, and move food through your system. If you need a glucomannan powder to add to a smoothie or food for yourself or your kids, you can find one here.
Taking moderate amounts of magnesium via supplements or in a food form can help relieve constipation. Doctors often prescribe higher doses of it before a surgery to clean out your bowels.
Good sources of magnesium include:
- Black beans
If you want to know 20 more foods that are high in magnesium, check out my video here.
Some studies show that prunes may be more effective than fiber at moving the digestive system. The effective dosage is around 50 grams, or around 7 medium-sized prunes twice a day.
If you have IBS, prunes aren’t an ideal solution because they have high sugar content.
13. Avoid Dairy
Dairy creates a lot of constipation by creating extra air and gas in the system. It’s also very hard on bowel movements.
If you are constipated, cut out all forms of dairy for a period of time and allow your body to recover.
A lot of times, the underlying cause of constipation is a beat-up immune system and gut. The gut needs proper resetting, and I have a training video that you can view here to learn about my simple 6-step gut reset process.