It is no secret that the modern diet, which often consists of large amounts of processed and unnatural food, is taking its toll on the Western world. Obesity, diabetes, and other serious health concerns are becoming international epidemics, and the food we eat is the single biggest reason for it. One other medical condition caused by unhealthy food that often gets overlooked, however, is constipation – the infrequent or irregular evacuation of the bowels. Constipation is caused by intestinal obstruction, which in itself is usually triggered by the consumption of foods that are difficult, or in some cases even impossible, for our bodies to adequately digest.
Fortunately, constipation is quite easy to cure. Nature provides us with a large number of natural laxative foods that can help soften stools and break up internal obstructions.
A List of Natural Laxatives
Blackstrap molasses – The first food I always recommend as a laxative is blackstrap molasses, not just because it is a natural stool softener, but because it also re-mineralizes the body (blackstrap contains a large number of trace minerals like zinc, copper, and magnesium). One tablespoon of unsulphured blackstrap molasses mixed into hot water and drunk once a day, ideally in the morning before food, serves as a great health supplement as well as a potent laxative.
Aloe vera – Due to its aloin content, aloe vera is a gentle and scientifically-proven laxative. Aloe vera also helps fight Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and acid build-ups in the stomach.
Fruits – It might be cliched to point it out, but all fruits do soften stools and promote regularity due to their high fiber content. Fruits that have an especially powerful laxative effect are black olives, figs, prunes, grapes, mangos, avocados, and dried apricots.
Bran products – Bran products are great natural laxative foods because bran is extremely dense in dietary fiber, which stimulates intestinal peristalsis. For example, one cup (58g) of oat bran contains 58% of an adult’s recommended daily intake (RDA) of fiber, whereas the same amount of wheat bran contains a whopping 100% of your recommended daily fiber allowance. Bran-based cereals such as Bran Flakes also help constipation, but bear in mind that these cereals often contain unhealthy ingredients like refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Other laxatives – Nuts (especially almonds and walnuts), licorice, flaxseed, parsley, watercress, soybeans, and dandelions. A number of unhealthier foods and drinks also serve as laxatives, such as chocolate, coffee, and alcohol, but I don’t recommend choosing them to cure constipation!
Hopefully you’ll now have a better idea of what foods to consume if you’re suffering from constipation or other bowel-related conditions. However, if you discover that eating large amounts of fibrous foods (coupled with constant water drinking) still doesn’t work after several weeks, then your intestinal obstructions might be too difficult for natural foods to break. In this case, I recommend a series of colonic irrigations to remove the congested matter. This will work, but it can also be expensive. Therefore, I encourage you to improve your diet before resorting to external measures. Very few block-ups can withstand the consistent assault of fresh water, blackstrap molasses flushes, and fruit!