How often do you find yourself eating foods that cause constipation? If your answer is “often,” then you are not alone. Be proud of yourself for admitting the truth and for writing it down, because that is a great starting place to begin taking proactive action steps, consistently over time, toward improving your health.
Common sense tells us that if we can willfully walk into a bad situation, then we can certainly choose to walk out of one. The key here is to never lose hope and to take action!
The following fifteen foods possess a natural laxative effect, which can help relieve common symptoms of constipation, as well as many other intestinal ailments. Before you start taking laxatives or stool softeners, try incorporating more of these “laxative foods” into your diet. You will be surprised at how well they work.
15 Natural Laxative Foods
1. Raw Fruits
Fruits like bananas, apples, melons and a variety of berries are extremely high in liquid-content, which helps the body wash out toxins. They are also very easy to digest and high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber and many important vitamins like vitamin C.
- Bananas: High in fiber and a natural bulk-producing laxative, bananas are great for promoting easy digestion. Since bananas are high in potassium, eating a banana a day will help restore valuable electrolytes to your intestinal tract. Additionally, they contain a natural compound called fructooligosaccharide, which can help encourage beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract.
- Apples: The high pectin levels in apples stimulate the bowels and also provide bulk for bowel movements. One of the best natural laxative foods is organic apple cider vinegar. Just pour a small amount into a glass of purified water and drink it in the morning.
- Melons: A melon is a great way to start the day because they are one of the easiest foods to digest. Melons actually proceed directly to the intestines when consumed. If they are held up in the stomach by other foods, they will decompose quickly and ferment.
- Berries: Extremely high in antioxidants, berries rank among my favorite foods. I recommend the following 8 berries to consume during a colon cleanse and on a daily basis afterwards – Blueberries, strawberries, bilberries, cranberries, blackberries, Goji Berries, acai berries and cherries.
Note: When possible, consume fruits and vegetables that are organic (pesticide free), seasonal, and fresh.
Recognized as “nature’s laxative,” prunes are naturally rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. Additionally, prunes provide beneficial bacteria to the intestines, thereby making it a great addition to any colon cleansing diet.
3. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
As mentioned earlier, one of the best natural laxative foods is raw apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar may help improve bowel irregularity, thereby removing toxins from the body at a faster rate. Beneficial ingredients in raw apple cider vinegar include potassium, pectin, malic acid, calcium, ash, and acetic acid.
Only raw organic apple cider vinegar has the “mother of vinegar” made up of living nutrients and bacteria, which help make us feel better, look better and feel energized. I personally use Bragg’s organic raw apple cider vinegar on a daily basis. I would recommend this brand of apple cider vinegar over any other brand currently on the market.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the oldest and most popular medicinal plants known to man. The bulk of the aloe vera leaf is filled with gel, which is approximately 99% water. The other 1% contains over at least 75 known nutrients including 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, 200 active plan compounds called phytonutrients, enzymes and of course, water.
Besides from growing your own aloe vera plant and using its gel, you can also drink aloe vera juice on a daily basis. Packed full of nutrients, aloe juice will also help provide quick constipation relief.
5. Cayenne Pepper, Ginger & Tumeric
Cooking foods containing spices like organic cayenne pepper, ginger and turmeric help with digestion, and act as great laxative food agents. For example, Cayenne pepper has many health benefits, one of which stimulates the digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. Organic, fresh ginger (fresh ginger tea) is considered one of the best spices for maintaining regular digestion. Turmeric is considered the liver’s spice. Turmeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out known dietary carcinogens.
6. Citrus Fruits: Lemons, Oranges & Limes
These citrus-wonders (notice they are acid fruits) have the greatest detoxification power. They aid the body in flushing out toxins, as well as jump-start the digestive tract with enzymatic processes.
Remember, vitamin C is one of the best detox vitamins around, as it transforms toxins into digestible material. One orange will provide you with approximately 12-15% of your daily recommended fiber.
7. Raw Vegetables
- Carrots: High in pectin, they add bulk to stool and can stimulate bowel contractions in addition to being natural body detoxifiers.
- Onions: Contain an antioxidant called Quercetin, which is a flavenoid. They contain Vitamin E, Potassium, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, and Fiber. Onions are known to relieve congestion and allergy symptoms, and help to reduce cholesterol. In addition, they remove heavy metals from the body, and help fight cancer of the lungs, bladder, ovaries, and breast.
- Garlic: Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb, which holds high amounts of allicin and selenium (two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing) has the ability to activate liver enzymes that helps your body flush out toxins. Adding sliced or cooked garlic to any dish will help aid any detox diet. Additionally, garlic also contains unique properties that make it an excellent fighter against stomach cancer.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower: Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which significantly lowers our risk of cancer.
- Cabbage: Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps flush out toxins, and helps soften the stool during bowel movements. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.
Tomatoes are great laxative foods, rich in Vitamins C, A, and K. Tomatoes provide you with approximately 10% of your daily fiber needs. Additionally, they are very high in lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect you from developing colon cancer and prostate cancer. If possible, I recommend buying locally-grown, organic tomatoes.
9. Omega-3 Oils
Omega-3 oils such as hemp, flax-seed, avocado or olive oils are great natural laxative cooking food agents, especially when flushing out toxins. These oils will help lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil, and eliminated by the body.
10. Leafy Green Vegetables
When you are ready to detox your body, fill your refrigerator with blue green algae, barley, bitter gourd, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, dandelion greens, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, mustard greens, chicory, arugula or other organic leafy greens. Why? They act as great natural, laxative foods high in dietary fiber, calcium, folic acid, Vitamins K and C, and magnesium – all essential nutrients necessary for your body, digestion, and overall health. Furthermore, this will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.
11. Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil improves digestion and bowel function, relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids, reduces inflammation, and supports tissue healing and repair. The best kind to get is organic raw unprocessed extra virgin coconut oil. This will assure you that your product is unrefined, certified organic by USDA standards, and contains no added chemicals or genetically modified additives.
Avocados are packed with beneficial nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin k and folate. If you eat one avocado a day, it will provide you with approximately 30% of your daily fiber needs. Furthermore, avocado contains Lutein (a carotenoid along with Vitamin E), Magnesium, and monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Avocado helps fight cancer of the mouth, breast, and prostate, and improves skin tone. It also improves absorption of nutrients in other foods.
13. Broccoli Sprouts
Extremely high in antioxidants, broccoli sprouts can help stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract like none-other. The sprouts are actually more effective than the fully-grown vegetable.
14. Raw Seeds and Nuts
Incorporate more of the easily digestible raw seeds and raw nuts into your diet. These would include flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, siberian cedar nuts and sunflower seeds. They are all rich in fiber, Vitamin E, protein, zinc and other essential nutrients.
15. Beans, Peas & Legumes
Beans, peas, and legumes are low in both fat and cholesterol, and help with digestion. Beans and legumes are high in fiber and protein, therefore great protein substitutes.
Remember to Drink Plenty of Water
Last, but most definitely not least, water is one of the best natural laxative sources for relieving constipation! Every day, drink 8 glasses of purified or distilled water. Water is vital to your body, makes up approximately 80 percent of your body weight, and helps moisten the intestines, regulating bowel flow.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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