Natural Constipation Relief
Constipation is defined as having less frequent bowel movements than is normal for the particular individual or as having hard, difficult-to-pass, stool.
Some causes of constipation include diet, lack of physical activity, the normal slowing down associated with the aging process, some medications, some medical conditions, stress, laxative abuse, or ignoring urges to have bowel movements. Very young children can become constipated as a result of feeling nervous about using the toilet or even fear of falling in. Children who have experienced discomfort associated with a difficult-to-pass stool can begin to fear bowel movements and begin trying to avoid them by "holding it".
While chronic, unexplained, constipation or sudden, severe, symptoms always require seeing a physician, many mild bouts can be cured naturally by adding to the diet foods and beverages that usually encourage bowel movements and staying away from foods and beverages that can contribute to constipation.
Foods/beverages that may help effectively stimulate the bowel include: fresh fruits (apples and grapes, in particular), applesauce, fruit juices, raw vegetables, dark chocolate, peanuts, water and tea.
Cereals high in fibre are often recommended to people with constipation, but these may not produce the more dramatic results that fruits, dark chocolate, coffee and nuts can. Eating high-fibre cereal when the bowel is already sluggish and in need of emptying may seem to make the problem worse for some individuals because these high-fibre cereals can produce a bulky, dry, stool without stimulating the already sluggish bowel as much as it would need to pass the stool. Stone-ground breads and crackers can have a similar effect on some constipation-sufferers.
Sometimes constipation in adults can easily be cured by simply having a large cup of strong coffee and a chocolate bar. Children's constipation may be eased by offering them two servings of applesauce, some extra fruit juice, a handful of grapes and/or some dark chocolate over the course of a day or two.
Cheeses, rice and bananas are binding foods that should generally be avoided.
Generous servings of butter on crackers or bread may help ease constipation associated with hard-to- pass stool. A small serving of pasta topped with a very generous serving of olive oil (or pesto sauce) or a salad with vinegar and oil may help facilitate the passage of dry stool.
Taking a brisk walk, drinking more water, and trying to relax and forget the problem may also help ease constipation.
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