Constipation or difficulties when going to the bathroom are very frequent phenomena, especially if you do not have a balanced diet.

This generates stress, discomfort and irritability in the person. However, it can be easily solved at home if you learn to eat the right foods.

We will provide you with a list of delicious and nutritious foods with extensive benefits for your intestinal health, facilitating the task of regularizing your bowel movements.

What is a natural laxative?

A natural laxative is food of non-synthetic origin. They contain properties (minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and more) derived or extracted directly from plants, whether they are vegetables or fruits.

Due to its origin, the human body easily metabolizes these foods. This translates into better intestinal transit, regularization of the number of evacuations, and stools of healthy size and consistency are produced.

They provide vitamins and minerals that keep the metabolism of the economy (human body) in optimal state.

Foods that serve as a natural laxative

1. Castor oil

Castor oil is a yellowish, odorless liquid. It is the extract of the Ricinus communis plant.

It has capacities as a natural laxative. When it is ingested orally, the oil is broken down in the intestine, and its main component is absorbed: ricinoleic acid.

This is an unsaturated fatty acid whose mechanisms are still partially unknown.

It is believed to be due to its ability to inhibit the absorption of water and ions by the intestine, forming less solid stools that easily pass through the intestine.

Second, it favors peristalsis. These are the contractions by the intestine to move food debris and stool toward the rectum.

However, high concentrations of ricinoleic acid cause adverse effects: diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Therefore, its moderate consumption is recommended.

How to consume it?

The recommended daily dose for adults is 15 milliliters daily. You can drink it directly or mix it with natural juices.

The effects should be appreciated from the second to the sixth hour after its consumption.

2. Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be absorbed by the intestine, so they act as lubricants.

Furthermore, interactions between fatty acids and bile are hypothesized to stimulate the propulsion of food waste in the colon.

A study published by Brazilian researchers in the Journal of Renal Nutrition showed that the consumption of olive oil has a laxative effect similar to that of mineral oils used in medical practice.

How to consume it?

A single tablespoon of olive oil is recommended every morning on an empty stomach.

More than a single tablespoon is not recommended (each provides more than 100 calories and could cause diarrhea).

3. Oats

Oats are recognized as nutritious and healthy for their antioxidants, anti-inflammatory elements, vitamins, minerals and, most importantly, fiber.

Fiber is categorized into soluble and insoluble. Oats contain soluble fiber, made up of complex polysaccharides (sugars). Galactomannan, psyllium, and pectin are examples of complex sugars.

Psyllium, the most studied soluble fiber, is capable of increasing the number of evacuations and improving the consistency of feces by thickening the fecal mass.

Finally, fiber is a probiotic food. Promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal flora, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

These microorganisms promote healthy digestion and decrease inflammatory processes throughout the intestine.

How to consume it?

Oats are a very versatile food that can be easily added to your diet. You can consume it as part of your breakfast, snack and even dinner.

When preparing oatmeal, you can add fruits such as raspberries, plums and bananas that promote digestion, provide phytonutrients and minerals that are extremely important for your body.

You can also prepare recipes that incorporate oats in their preparation, such as muffins, cakes, puddings and much more.

4. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are among the foods with the highest amount of fiber, in addition to being highly nutritious by providing fiber, healthy fats, protein and micronutrients.

28 grams of these provide us with 42% of the daily fiber recommendations in our diet.

Most of its fiber is soluble. At the intestinal level, the solubility of the fiber in the seeds allows them to absorb water and grow twice their size.

In this way, during the formation of the feces, they acquire an adequate consistency and can pass more easily throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

How to consume them?

It is recommended that the consumption of chia seeds is not more than three tablespoons throughout the day. We also recommend gradually including them in your diet, allowing your intestines to adapt to them.

The seeds can be added to cereals, salads, desserts, and other baked goods.

It is recommended to limit excessive fiber intake as it could exacerbate constipation by forming very solid stools that cannot be easily defecated.

5. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is a food rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3, which contains linoleic acid, fiber and protein.

One tablespoon (10 grams) of flaxseeds provides 2.8 grams of fiber. Unlike oats, the percentage of insoluble fiber (cellulose and lignin) is higher than the soluble fiber (mucilage).

But both work synergistically. Soluble fiber becomes a viscous mass in the intestine that prevents the absorption of fats, aided by the action of insoluble fiber, they create a film that lubricates the intestinal walls.

This lubricating capacity is achieved only if the person stays hydrated as well. Water favors the action of the fiber.

How to consume it?

Flaxseed is marketed whole, ground or even as oil.

It is recommended to introduce flaxseed into your diet slowly and progressively, facilitating the adaptation of your intestines to it.

A daily tablespoon of ground flaxseed, mixed with water and drunk before breakfast, promotes intestinal transit.

You can add flaxseed oil as a salad dressing or the seeds in baked goods like cookies.

6. Coconut water

The liquid content of the coconut helps your intestine to form stools of healthy consistency, avoiding both extremes – very solid and painful stools at the time of defecation or very liquid (diarrhea).

Coconut water is rich in sodium and potassium. These electrolytes keep in check the absorption of water from the inside of the intestine towards the walls.

By maintaining a constant movement of water, adequately sized stools are formed.

How to consume it?

Coconut water can be refrigerated overnight and a glass drunk in the morning before breakfast for the best results.

However, it can be consumed at any time of the day.

7. Coffee

In addition to acting as a physical and mental energizer, coffee has a laxative effect on the gastrointestinal system.

It does this by stimulating the peristaltic movements of the colon. It has been proven that coffee is a greater stimulant of intestinal transit than water, capable of inducing the desire to defecate in the body.

The reason lies in the caffeine and chlorogenic acids it contains. Both stimulate the contraction of smooth muscle fibers in the intestinal wall, facilitating the movement of food and waste.

Coffee also speeds up the emptying of gastric contents into the small intestine.

How to consume it?

Coffee is generally consumed in the morning, during or after breakfast. The maximum recommended amount of caffeine in a day is 400 milligrams, equivalent to four strong cups of coffee.

Anything above this can induce tremors, nervousness, anxiety, heart palpitations, headache, and upset stomach.

8. Red fruits

The term red fruits is used, mainly, when talking about berries. Most belong to the Rosaceae family.

They are named for their external appearance, although there is a wide range of colors. We find strawberries, blueberries, currants, cherries, blackberries, raspberries and much more.

They have a moderate laxative effect, a cup of strawberries (153 grams) contains 3 grams of fiber. Blackberries, on the other hand, contain 7.6 grams of fiber per cup (144 g).

As we have already explained, the effect of fiber, both insoluble and soluble, stimulates intestinal movement and softens the stool.

How to consume them?

Berries are versatile fruits. They can be eaten as part of a snack or dinner on their own, but they can be added to all kinds of baked goods, like tartlets and cookies.

9. Nuts

We are talking mainly about nuts, whether they are peanuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and many more.

Walnuts are loaded with potassium, fatty acids, particularly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and fiber.

Walnuts and almonds are rich in soluble fiber, while other nuts contain a higher proportion of insoluble fiber.

How to consume them?

Nuts can be eaten fresh or used creatively in gastronomy.

They can be used as fillings in pastries, nut breads, pies, and much more. However, moderate consumption of these is recommended since they are foods loaded with calories.

10. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera (or aloe vera) is an important ally against constipation and inflammation of the intestinal mucosa (common in people with chronic inflammatory syndrome or IBS).

Aloe juice is credited with the ability to lubricate and reduce inflammation that may be causing intestinal blockage, especially if you suffer from an underlying condition.

The juice, created from the pulp, is rich in mucilage (insoluble fiber). An Iranian study showed that after ingesting aloe vera in patients suffering from IBS, the frequency and urgency of bowel movements increased.

How to consume it?

You can prepare your own juice after extracting and preparing the pulp of an aloe vera leaf or purchase the juice directly from the market.

You can add one to two tablespoons of the juice to a good portion of drinks, from a smoothie to a fruit shake.

11. Apple

The apple, especially with its skin intact, contains a very good amount of fiber. A medium-sized apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber.

Its fiber is rich in soluble fiber (pectin). In addition to accelerating intestinal transit, it also has a probiotic effect on healthy bacteria.

It also helps the hardening (healthy) of the stool.

How to consume it?

It can be eaten fresh on its own or added, along with other fruits, in natural salads. They can also be implemented in other recipes.

The juice of an apple is not an optimal option if you want to improve constipation, since a good portion of its fiber resides in its skin.

12. Plum

Prunes are powerful natural laxatives because of their fiber content (a cup of plums contains 12 grams of fiber), but also because of the sorbitol.

Sorbitol is a glycitol (a sugar attached to a primary hydroxyl group, that is, an alcohol). Sorbitol has a naturally sweet taste and is not absorbable in the intestine.

Because of this, sorbitol draws water into the intestines, promoting peristalsis.

How to consume it?

Prunes can be eaten fresh on their own, but can be added to other recipes, such as your morning oatmeal or baked goods.

They can also be mixed with nuts to create a nutritious snack.

Finally, they can also be blended and drunk as a smoothie or juice.

However, excessive consumption of plums can lead to adverse effects, such as diarrhea or exacerbate constipation.

13. Papaya

Papaya is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidant phytonutrients, and water.

One small papaya – approximately 157 grams – provides us with 2.7 grams of dietary fiber. It is also rich in potassium which supports healthy transport of water into and out of the intestines as well.

Another important attribute is its high water content. Introducing high amounts of fiber into your diet without increasing your water intake can result in hard stools and constipation.

In the case of papaya, it is capable of providing both.

How to consume it?

Papaya is a very sweet fruit that can be prepared and eaten sliced ​​or cubed as a snack.

It can also be prepared as a juice, but it does not provide the body with the same amount of fiber that whole fruit would.

14. Handle

Contains polyphenolic compounds. These are a broad group of molecules with multitudes of benefits.

Among these, they promote intestinal transit and the frequency of evacuations.

Certain inflammatory intestinal diseases hinder the process of digestion and expulsion of excreta. Polyphenols, by acting as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, regulate intestinal activity under these diseases.

How to consume it?

Like most fruits, it can be eaten whole (which provides the most benefits). You can also extract the juice from the fruit and prepare delicious juices.

15. Orange

Like the previous one, it provides vitamin C and E, minerals and antioxidants (polyphenols).

Polyphenols also interact favorably with the intestinal mucosa, increasing the liquid content of feces (which represent 70% of fecal mass).

How to consume it?

The orange can be eaten sliced ​​as a snack, after any meal.

You can also prepare nutritious juices with the juice of this.

Benefits of natural laxatives

Eliminate toxins

Feces, together with urine, eliminate most of the waste produced by our body. Irregularities when defecating can present an accumulation of toxins in our intestinal tract.

By regularizing bowel movements, gastric emptying and peristalsis, natural waste is eliminated more quickly.

They relieve constipation

Laxatives increase the frequency of bowel movements through different mechanisms: osmotic action, softening the stool, lubrication, formation of solid stool, and stimulant.

Regardless of the method, the end result prevents constipation, keeps the intestinal mucosa intact and promotes healthy digestion.

Improve mood and energy

Infrequent evacuations not only affect the body physically, they also generate feelings of unpleasantness, discomfort and annoyance. Affecting, in turn, your productivity and mood.

By improving evacuation, those exasperating sensations are diminished.

Improve gut health

An irritated intestinal mucosa or alterations in the bacterial population of the intestine can be causes of constipation.

By consuming foods rich in fiber, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, we provide our body with the tools to keep itself healthy.

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