Looking For Natural Laxative Foods? Here Are Some Suggestions!

    Looking For Natural Laxative Foods? Here Are Some Suggestions!

    Do you take a stool softener or laxative the minute you realize you haven’t had a bowel movement for a couple of days now? If you do, then perhaps, you already know that you can only use them occasionally, and that they may lead to side effects, such as bloating, cramps, feeling sick, or dehydration. This why many people who experience constipation try consuming natural laxative foods and drinks first before using over-the-counter medicines.

    List of Natural Laxative Foods and Drinks

    Are you looking for a natural laxative to relieve constipation? If so, remember these three guidelines:

    • Hydrate, because fluid helps make stool softer.
    • Increase your fiber intake, because fiber helps move waste through the body. Aim to have 25 to 31 grams of fiber daily, or talk to your doctor about the adequate amount of fiber for you.
    • Consider probiotics.

    With that said, below are the natural laxative foods and drinks you can try when you have constipation:

    Water and Fresh Fruit Juice

    Constipation sometimes happens when the intestines cannot add water to stool.

    For this reason, it’s crucial that you drink plenty of water daily. You can also consider having clear soups; not only do they have high water content, but they are also easy to digest.

    Do you want “flavored” drinks? Instead of sugary beverages (which are generally unhealthy), why not have fresh fruit juices?

    Important: If you have a health condition that necessitates close fluid intake monitoring, ask your healthcare provider about how much fluid you can have.

    Prunes

    Have you heard about psyllium husk fiber? It’s usually in powder form and marketed as a natural way to ease constipation.

    Like psyllium, prunes are also high in fiber. They also have sorbitol, a type of sugar that helps add water to the digestive tract.

    In fact, one study found that prunes seem to be more effective than psyllium in improving stool frequency and consistency¹. The researchers even concluded that prunes “may be a promising intervention for the management of constipation” although they agree that we still need further studies about it.

    Broccoli Sprouts

    Another natural laxative food on our list is broccoli sprouts.

    Researchers discovered that people who ate 20 grams of broccoli sprouts daily for four weeks developed quicker bowel movements and had less constipation symptoms².

    What’s even more promising is that broccoli sprouts don’t seem to have side effects.

    natural laxative

    Cereals with Wheat Bran

    Wheat bran, like most foods on our list, is also rich in fiber.

    In one report, researchers found that low-fiber consumers who ate a bowl of breakfast cereal containing wheat bran daily for half a month reported a significant improvement in bowel function and digestive feelings³.

    Yogurt

    Last in our list of natural laxative foods is yogurt, particularly those containing Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and polydextrose.

    Researchers discovered that participants who ate 180 ml of yogurt containing these three ingredients daily for 14 days experienced a “shorter colonic transit” compared to those who only had plain yogurt.

    In the end, they concluded that yogurt containing polydextrose, B. lactis, and L. acidophilus may be an option for treatment of constipation⁴.

    Additional Reminders

    Please keep in mind that the above is not an exhaustive list of natural laxative foods.

    For instance, many fruits, vegetables, and pulses contain high amounts of fiber that may help you relieve constipation. Several fruits, like apples, grapes, and peaches, also contain sorbitol.

    Furthermore, note that regular exercise also helps in treating and preventing constipation.

    If performing home remedies do not improve your constipation, the best course of action is to get in touch with your doctor.

    Key Takeaways

    Looking for natural laxative foods? Try prunes, broccoli sprouts, cereals with wheat bran, and yogurt. Of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat other high-fiber fruits and vegetables.

    Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    1) Systematic review: the effect of prunes on gastrointestinal function, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/apt.12913, Accessed November 2, 2021

    2) Daily intake of broccoli sprouts normalizes bowel habits in human healthy subjects, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5773831/, Accessed November 2, 2021

    3) Short Term (14 Days) Consumption of Insoluble Wheat Bran Fibre-Containing Breakfast Cereals Improves Subjective Digestive Feelings, General Wellbeing and Bowel Function in a Dose Dependent Manner, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/4/1436/htm, Accessed November 2, 2021

    4) Effect of yogurt containing polydextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study in chronic constipation, https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-75, Accessed November 2, 2021

    5) Laxatives, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laxatives/, Accessed November 2, 2021

    6) Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition, Accessed November 2, 2021

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    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Apr 18
    Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen