Updated: Jun 1
Constipation is a common digestive issue that can cause discomfort and disrupt daily life. Infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, and a feeling of incomplete bowel movement characterize it. Several factors lead to constipation. Nutrition and physical activity are crucial aspects of a regular bowel movement, but you can never ignore how stress and anxiety lead to sluggish digestion and constipation. Fiber-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables can help maintain regular bowel movements and increase stool bulk. In contrast, a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and fat can contribute to constipation. A routine physical activity regimen, such as walking or yoga, can stimulate the digestive system and relieve constipation. Sometimes you get occasional constipation, which means you are not prone to have it. Many factors can contribute to occasional constipation, including changes in diet, hydration, physical activity, stress levels, medications, and medical conditions. Still, having a high amount of high-fat meat and dairy products like milk and cheese or taking certain medications, including sedatives, opioid pain medications, some antidepressants, or medications to lower blood pressure, leads to partial or complete constipation. I will discuss a few effective remedies to soften your stool without taking powerful pills or artificial laxatives with serious side effects.
1. Apple- Flax- chia smoothie:
Apple flax smoothie is an old traditional way to soften the stool and speed up the transit time. Apple contains a unique soluble fiber called pectin. As pectin acts as a gelling agent, it tremendously helps digestive processes. Pectins affect transit time, gastric emptying, and nutrient absorption from the gut. Due to its resistance to degradation by gastric acid and intestinal enzymes, it reaches the colon, fermented by the gut microbiota into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). On the other hand, Flax and chia seeds also contain soluble fiber that helps the stool pass and relieves gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain due to constipation.
Apple – flax – chia smoothie is very easy to make. I prefer to use peeled apples. Although apple peels contain most of the antioxidants, it also contains pesticide residues. Removing peels is always a good idea to avoid consuming the wax coating unless you pick organic apples directly from the orchard.
Preparation time - 5mins
Cook time – 0 mins
Total time – 5 mins
Apple- 1 (peeled and roughly chopped)
Flax seed powder- 1 tbsp
Chia seeds- 1 tsp
Honey- 1 tsp
Water- 1 cup
1. Add chopped apple, Flax seeds powder, and water in a blender. Blend it smoothly.
2. Add chia seeds and honey to it. Mix it with the spoon and rest it for 10 mins.
Oat is a wonder grain. We know oats and oat products can prevent human diseases and promote health. Oatmeal is the answer to many digestive issues. It contains soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your digestive system active and at ease, encouraging regular bowel movement. Besides being relatively easy to digest, it has many essential nutrients your body needs. They also contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which helps increase good gut microbiota that can improve overall gut health and relieve constipation. Additionally, oats are a good source of magnesium, which can help relax the muscles in the intestines, allowing for better digestion and bowel movement.
It's no secret oats are a great way to start a day, so food manufacturers came up with a chemical-laden sweet and savory variety of instant oats. Always check the ingredient list before buying oats. Ensure you purchase non-GMO, Whole grain oats without added preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors. Mostly all boxes and bags of oats come with cooking instructions on them. You can always follow the instructions, cook accordingly, and add your favorite toppings of colorful fruits, nuts, and seeds to suit your palate. I love to cook my oats in water. You can use any plant-based milk of your choice. I usually omit sweeteners as fruits like bananas, and berries naturally sweeten them. This lovely breakfast is endlessly customizable. So go ahead, explore, and enjoy.
Preparation time - 5mins
Cook time – 10 mins
Total time – 15 mins
Rolled/steel-cut oats - ½ cup
Water/ plant-based milk – For Rolled oats - 1 cup
For steel-cut oats- 2 cups
Cinnamon – ¼ tsp (powdered)
Banana – 1 (sliced)
Apple- 2 ( chopped)
Walnuts- 7-8 ( chopped)
Chia seeds – 1 tbsp.
Flaxseed – 1 tbsp. (powdered)
(Maple syrup/ jaggery/ coconut palm sugar/honey) – 1 tsp (optional
1. Boil water or milk.
2. Stir oats in it.
3. Add cinnamon powder.
4. cook rolled oats for 5 mins or steel-cut oats for 15 mins.
5. Serve in a bowl with your favorite toppings.
3. Beetroot juice
Beet juice is rich in dietary fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals, which can help with digestion and relieve constipation. The dietary fiber in beetroot helps to bulk up stool and make it easier to pass. The natural sugars in beets help stimulate the intestines and increase the production of digestive juices, reducing constipation. It contains a compound called betalains that have a cleansing effect on the digestive system. Additionally, the potassium in beets can help to reduce bloating and gas associated with constipation. However, excessive consumption of beet juice or other high-fiber foods may cause some people bloating, gas, and other digestive discomforts.
As a general guideline, starting with a small amount of beet juice, such as 1/2 cup (4 ounces), is recommended to gradually increase the amount over time to assess tolerance and prevent digestive issues.
Preparation time -10 mins
Cooking Time - 0 min
Total time -10 mins
Beet - 1
Water- 1 Cup
Lemon/Lime - Juice
Chop Beetroot into small pieces.
Blend it with water. Add lemon/lime juice. Strain it in a cup.
4. Triphala Tea
Since ancient times, Triphala has been used by Ayurveda to promote digestive health and overall well-being. Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica), bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and haritaki (Terminalia chebula) fruits together support gut health. It has several antioxidant compounds that may help soothe the gut lining and alleviate constipation. One of the essential antioxidants in Triphala is vitamin C, which is found in high concentrations in the amla fruit. In addition, vitamin C has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in the gut and promote healthy digestion. Another antioxidant in Triphala is gallic acid, found in the haritaki fruit. Gallic acid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, which may help protect the gut lining from damage and promote healthy bowel function. In addition to its antioxidant content, Triphala contains other compounds that may help alleviate constipation, such as fiber and anthraquinones. The fiber in Triphala can help promote bowel regularity and prevent constipation. At the same time, anthraquinones, due to their laxative properties, can help stimulate the bowel and encourage more frequent bowel movements.
Preparation time - 5 mins
Cooking Time - 0 min
Total time - 5 mins
Triphala powder- 1/2 tsp
Boil 1 cup of water and add Triphala powder to it.
5. Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera contains several organic compounds, including anthraquinones, that have a laxative effect and can help stimulate bowel movements to relieve constipation. However, using aloe vera juice in moderation is essential, as excessive consumption of anthraquinones can lead to adverse effects such as stomach cramps and diarrhea. When using aloe vera juice for constipation relief, diluting it with water or another liquid like coconut water is recommended to reduce the risk of side effects. A standard recommendation is to mix equal parts of aloe vera juice and water and drink it once a day; It's best to start with a small amount and gradually increase the dose if necessary. Aloe vera juice can taste bitter, and adding honey and lemon juice can make it more palatable.
Preparation time- 5 mins
Cooking Time - 0 min
Total time - 5 mins
Aloe Vera gel- 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Lemon juice- 1 tsp
Honey - 1 tsp
1. Add Aloe vera gel, water, and lemon juice to the blender.
2. Blend it to perfection. Add honey to sweeten it.
6. Horse gram lentil
According to Ayurveda, Horse gram lentils (Macrotyloma uniflorum) are an effective remedy for constipation. Horse gram lentils are high in dietary fiber, which can help to promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. They are also rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, and protein, which can help to nourish the body and support healthy digestion. In Ayurveda, horse gram lentils are believed to have a warming effect on the body, which can help to stimulate digestion and promote bowel movements. They are also considered natural diuretics, which can help eliminate excess bodily fluids, including waste products contributing to constipation.
Furthermore, horse gram lentils are believed to have a cleansing effect on the colon. Therefore, they can help to remove toxins and waste products from the body, which can help to promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Add a Horse gram lentil sprout to your salad or make a daal/soup and enjoy.
Daily lifestyle refinements
Drinking plenty of water helps to soften stools and make them easier to pass. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Starting your day with a glass of warm water can also help to stimulate bowel movements.
Exercise is a must to improve your bowel movement and your overall health. Involving in physical activity not only stimulates the muscles in your intestines, which can help move waste through your digestive system more efficiently but also reduce stress and anxiety and provide relaxation, aiding in regular bowel movements.
Adding water-rich fruits to your diet is another effective way to treat constipation. Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, and cucumbers are high in water content and can help keep you hydrated. They also contain natural fibers that can help to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Prebiotics are the fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Foods high in prebiotics include oats, millet, barley, legumes, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, etc. These fiber-rich foods can help to promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
Probiotics are live bacteria that can help to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. You can add probiotics to your diet by consuming fermented foods like buttermilk, yogurt, Saurkruat, and other fermented food. These foods can help to promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Resistant starch is a type of fiber not digested in the small intestine. Instead, it ferments in the large intestine and produces short-chain fatty acids that can help to promote bowel movements. Plantains and sweet potatoes are good sources of resistant starch.
Adding figs and prunes in moderation as a part of a balanced diet is another effective way to treat constipation. Figs and prunes are high in fiber, which can help promote regular bowel movements, prevent constipation, and can help to soften stools, making them easier to pass.
Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber that can help to promote healthy bowel movements. You can take psyllium husk as a supplement or add it to foods like smoothies or oatmeal.
In conclusion, constipation can be an uncomfortable and frustrating digestive problem, but several natural and holistic remedies can help promote regular bowel movements and relieve constipation. However, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider if you experience persistent or severe constipation or other digestive symptoms.