Constipation is an embarrassing yet highly preventable and manageable condition, yet millions suffer in silence every day. Constipation is defined as 3 or fewer bowel movements per week and we all know how this can make our lives a misery.
Aside from resorting to laxatives and other harmful solutions, there are many other options that you can try in the comfort of your own home.
1) GET OILED UP
Just as we use oil to lubricate engines or a creaky door, certain healthy oils and fats are extremely effective in ensuring that our digestive systems work as they should. Stick to oils such as olive oil or coconut oil or make sure you are eating enough nuts and avocado to ensure that your bowels keep moving.
To help prevent constipation consume one tablespoon of olive oil mixed with lemon juice (to help with the taste) every morning on an empty stomach.
2) COFFEE AND OTHER CAFFEINATED PRODUCTS
Most of us can’t function without our favorite cup of morning magic- our coffee. Turns out or digestive systems also benefit from a bit of a wake up from the caffeine in our daily coffee as well as certain teas.
Caffeine actually works to stimulate our digestive systems and ensures movement in our bowels. As an added bonus this study reported coffee might even help to improve the health of our gut bacteria. Caffeine is also a diuretic though so too many cups can cause dehydration as well as unwanted side effects such as anxiety and insomnia.
Stick to one or two cups per day for the best results.
3) STAYING WELL HYDRATED
You may have heard that you should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. One of the main reasons for this is to avoid constipation. Excess water is released through our kidney’s every time we need to urinate but water is also released through our stools every time we need to go. If we are dehydrated water is absorbed from our stools in our colons and the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass. This is commonly referred to as constipation.
One of the best ways to prevent constipation is to ensure that you drink enough water on a daily basis, for your body weight as well as the level of activity.
This morning brew does more than wake you up. Coffee — particularly dark-roast coffee — stimulates digestion and contains fiber, oil, and water, all of which help keep the bowels moving. A cup or two will do the trick. As a diuretic, more than a couple cups may make for too many trips to the bathroom. Plus, the excessive caffeine may cause nervous symptoms. Choose organic and fair-trade varieties when choosing coffee.
Yogurt and kefir make for an excellent breakfast, whether it’s consumed as is or mixed with your favorite breakfast cereal or grain-free granola. The probiotic strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium encourage healthy bowels which translates to easier evacuation. Increased frequency, better stool consistency, and a reduced digestive transit time have all been observed with individuals who consume probiotics.
Rich in fiber, a meal containing beans shares many similar benefits as one containing prunes. The fiber keeps stool soft, and the protein has added benefits for growth and repair of bodily tissues. Beans also possess nutrients essential for muscle health and function. For many people, beans may be easier to incorporate into their daily meal plans than prunes.
7) MAGNESIUM-RICH FOODS
Magnesium is essential to muscle health and peristalsis, or the movement of food along the digestive tract. Low magnesium consumption has been associated with increased incidence of constipation.  Adequate magnesium intake directs water to the bowels, keeping the stool soft and easier to move. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, nuts, and fish are high in magnesium.