Our food acts as a natural laxative in many ways. Foods that are high in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits, and bran, add mass to the content of the intestine. This enables greater absorption and retention of moisture, making fecal masses softer and easier to pass through the colon. This is because the bulk of fiber moves through the intestines undigested. Coarse fiber particles irritate nerve endings in the intestine, stimulating peristalsis (intestinal movement). Also, some products like coffee, can have a laxative effect on the intestine.
In all instances, to remedy constipation, it is also necessary to drink sufficient fluids to soften fecal masses.
Bran Relieves Constipation!
Bran is a reliable and proven laxative for constipation. A daily intake of bran can restore normal intestinal function in about 60% of cases of constipation. This natural laxative increases the volume of bowel contents. Also, it does not artificially irritate nerve endings, as do pharmaceutical preparations, to which the intestines eventually cease to respond. Adding bran to the diet is the safest and cheapest method for treating and preventing constipation. Two oz. of bran each day doubles the fecal volume. In practice, everyone should determine for themselves the right dose of bran.
Rice bran is considered to be a very good laxative with benefits that exceed wheat bran. Its benefits have long been known in Asia. In one experiment, healthy people ate both wheat and rice bran. Stool frequency and volume were 25% greater with rice bran than wheat bran. Both types of bran equally influenced stool consistency and ease of bowel movements.
Recommended foods for constipation: bran (wheat or rice), the products of bran, whole grain bread, green vegetables, potatoes, carrots, beets, beans, dried fruits and berries, apples, citrus fruits, plums and especially prunes and laxative jam.
There is no point buying pharmaceuticals when there are natural and harmless products with laxative properties.
Warning! For constipation in young children, do not give them raw bran. Give them oatmeal, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables, while drinking plenty of fluids.
For some people, a cup of black coffee is a good laxative. The action of coffee as a laxative agent was tested on men and women who drank real coffee, decaffinated coffee and clean hot water. In each case the pressure and motility of the colon were then measured. Both types of coffee acted very quickly, within 4 minutes after intake. The researchers concluded that because coffee could not get into the colon so quickly, it must send impulses to the colon with the help of hormones or nervous reactions. It is interesting that coffee had a stronger effect on women than on the men. Hot water did not have any laxative effect.
Although coffee has laxative properties, at the same time it can cause constipation in some individuals. This is because the nerves of the colon become accustomed to the constant stimulant effect of caffeine and become sluggish. According to Scandinavian researchers, caffeine acts as a diuretic, disrupting the water balance of the body and withdraw a fluid from the intestine, where it is needed to soften the fecal masses. Stools become dry and hard, which is the cause of constipation. To test, try to take time off from coffee.
Attention! If you suffer from constipation, add fiber to your diet gradually, and drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. If you intake too much fiber at once and not enough liquid, swelling and bowel obstruction can result! A lack of fluids can cause dry stool and constipation! Gradually increase the intake of fiber over 6 weeks so that the body can adapt.
Mystery of Prunes
Prunes have long been reputed to be the best laxative. Although prunes are rich in fiber, scientists believe it is not the only determinate of its laxative property. For more than half a century, they searched for a substance in prunes that stimulates contractions of the walls of the intestines and increases the secretion of fluid. In 1951, three researchers from the Harrow laboratory (London), clamed solution of the mystery of prunes. They believed they had identified a substance, defenilisatine, similar to one used in laxatives. However, other scientists could not indentify this or any other substance that would act as alaxative. In later experiments on mice, it was thought that magnesium has a laxative effect. But, in later tests, dedicated and isolated, magnesium did not demonstrate this ability. "It appears that the substance is only valid in prunes" - the researchers concluded. The mystery of why prunes have a laxative effect, remains unsolved.
Laxative Jam Recipe
Here is a simple recipe for a jam laxative that has been tested over time for older people with constipation. Patients, who ate a tablespoon or two of the jam every day, realized increased frequency of bowel movements.
The recipe follows: 150 gr. dates (pitted)
150gr. prunes (pitted)
300-350 gr. water
Finely chop the figs and prunes. Put them in boiing water and cook until thick. Store the cooled mass in the refrigerator.
Determine for yourself the frequency and amount of laxative jam that works for you.
Constipation is one of the most common health problems associated with digestion. Most people mistakenly believe that they have constipation. Experts say that bowel movements can occur three times per week and three times a day, both normal. Symptoms of constipation are: the inability to defecate if desired, strain during and irregular bowel movements, hard dry stool and abdominal discomfort during bowel movements.