Home Remedies to Relieve Constipation

15 Apr 2015

Let’s talk about poop.

I know, I know, you probably just looked at the screen and thought that you might close my webpage. After all, you probably didn’t come here specifically to learn about your bowel movements. However, I would like to get serious about a kind of shitty subject, pun intended.

Our digestive system is something that has the ability to keep us incredibly healthy, feeling energetic, light, and body functioning properly. It also has the ability to have a build up of toxins, feel bloated, get bad skin, feel lethargic and disease.

Now I write this to you because I’ve just been on an island in the middle of an ocean where many girls I was with got constipated, myself included. It can start with one day of not using the toilet and get as bad as not going for one week. After giving advice to a few girls during my yoga training, I thought I would share with you all some of my home remedies to relieve constipation.

Lemon juice: you might have heard that lemon juice is extremely good for you to drink in the morning. Well, luck be had that it’s true! The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant for your colon and will help flush out toxins when mixed with warm water. Adding it to fluid helps to push everything out as constipation can be caused from dehydration.

It’s easy as mixing 1 cup of warm water with ½ lemon, squeezed and drinking up. This should be done as soon as you wake up and allow 20 minutes before putting anything else in your body.

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Coffee: ever had a really strong coffee and a few minutes later notice that you’re desperate for the toilet? That’s because caffeine is a natural stimulant for your digestive system, however be sure that you are having your cup of joe with plenty of water because it is a diuretic, making you pee more causing dehydration which also will block you up more than you already are.

To get the maximum effectiveness of this remedy, I suggest skipping your normal latte filled with milk and instead going for a cup of black coffee, with a dash of milk if you need it. Milk can actually contribute to constipation and mucus build up, so if you are needing a quick fix then one black coffee might do the trick.

Get out and about: sometimes the best fix for a blocked body is moving that beautiful body of yours. We lead very sedentary lifestyles that involve lots of sitting in cars, at classes, at our desks for jobs, on couches watching TV, in bed playing on social media. It’s no wonder that our body isn’t so happy. This will not necessarily relieve a bad case of constipation but it’s a pretty good way to prevent it from happening. Start off by going for a light jog or run for 20 minutes a day, doing yoga with lots of twists, or any other form of cardio that you enjoy.

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Get those colors in: if you are finding you are not using the toilet as much as you would like it would be a simple case of not eating enough colors, i.e. fiber. Insoluble fiber is the bulky fiber that helps to prevent constipation by binding onto the material in your colon and flushing it out. Just make sure you are drinking lots of water as fiber can build up and get stuck if there’s not anything helping to push it out, a la water. I always recommend people doing my 5 Day Detox in order to relieve bloating, constipation and to help you kick start your weight loss.

Lentils, beans, chickpeas, edamame, barley, steel cut oats, dried figs, dates, berries, pears, chia seeds, squash, sweet potato, and broccoli are all foods that will help to cleanse your gut as well as provide you with ample amounts of vitamins, minerals and other health related benefits. Adding one green smoothie a day, one cup of lentils, or having homemade hummus are all very easy ways to increase your fiber naturally while also reducing cravings for naughty foods. If you don’t have a strong digestive system or get blocked up easily then try cooking your veggies, as they will digest easier in your body.

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photo by @fullyrawkristina

Magnesium: this is one of those minerals that very few people know about and yet it can help with a whole of list of issues ranging from menstrual cramps and cravings, insomnia, anxiety to constipation. When you eat the typical western diet, your magnesium levels are almost non-existent, so first swapping to a diet filled with colors (see above) will replenish those levels. Too much coffee can also deplete your levels, so stick with one cup a day, sans cows milk if possible.

Magnesium supplements are the perfect travel companion to help keep you regular, sleeping well and lowering any stress you might have. The RDA is 200mg, however I find that anywhere from 400-1,000mg a day will benefit the most. You can also eat a diet rich in magnesium with foods like: almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic, kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, shrimp.

Dandelion tea: this is a really great option if you can find it; if not try bringing some with you sealed away in a zip lock baggie, just in case. Dandelion root works by stimulating the liver, which produces bile, releases enzymes into the digestive tract as well as stimulating the gut to get moving.

Boil the tea with the water, as you will get more effective results than just pouring the water into a cup.

Water: oh water, precious water. We all know how much our body needs it, yet we don’t drink nearly enough. One of the biggest contributors to constipation (and weight gain) is dehydration. If you are having too much salt, sugar, caffeine, processed foods or prescription drugs and not enough water then your body is putting a halt on all things working properly. When there is not enough water in your body, your stool becomes hard and unable to pass through.

Drinking 2-3L of water a day is key, especially if you are increasing your fiber intake from other foods. I realize that might seem like a lot of water to be drinking, but buy a 1L bottle, add a mint tea bag to it and drink up. It doesn’t need to be warm water, room temperature is fine. Adding lemon, lime, fresh fruit or mint are all great ways to increase your water intake.

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Senna: if you have tried everything else and still can’t go then taking some senna will be your best bet. However let this be a last option as it is still a laxative, although a more natural one. It comes in tea and powder form and taking it with ginger can help with cramps that you might get with it.

Psyllium husk: as mentioned above, fiber will be your friend when trying to use the toilet, however it is not an overnight remedy like senna, but it will help to bulk up your stool to pass through the colon. This one is essential to take with ample amounts of water; otherwise it can lead to a worse case of constipation.

Take 5mg along with at least 8 fl. Ounces of water, twice a day.

Getting constipated is never a fun thing so just remember that it’s all about how you are treating your body in order to prevent it. Most people don’t realize that you should be using the toilet at least 2x a day and it is considered constipation if you do not go at least once every 24 hours. The key is keeping yourself free from stress as this raises cortisol levels and puts your body into the flight or fight mode, shutting down your digestive system. No matter how big or small the stress in your life is, stress is treated the same way in your body. Having a diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables, plant based proteins and water will give you ample amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body needs in order to keep healthy both mentally and physically. Having a routine will also keep you going and this is just as important as all the food and water you have. If you feel an urge, don’t wait to go until later as this is the body telling you it needs to go.

Hope these tips help to keep you regular and constipation-free both at home and while traveling.

Xoxo, Nikki

@nikkisharp
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