With age as the body metabolism decelerates the problem of constipation only worsens. Constipation over long periods of time can cause great discomfort to the sufferer.
Individuals suffering from constipation can either opt for dietary changes or resort to consuming OTC (Over the Counter) drugs to normalize their bowel movements. Natural laxatives, refers to the food items which are rich in fiber and helps in preventing constipation.
The naturally occurring fiber in food can be divided into soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water and helps to soften stools. Insoluble fiber on the other is indigestible and its presence in the bowels can cause the stools to harden.
Over a period of time the buildup of these toxic waste matters can interfere with the normal bodily function and can result in many diseases.
Psylium Husks which are sold worldwide in the form of capsules is an excellent example of a natural laxative. Prunes are high in Vitamin A, iron and potassium. They are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers. Prunes consumed either whole or in the form of juice are extremely beneficial in relieving constipation.
Fruits like apples, bananas and apricots; nuts like walnuts and almonds; vegetables such as beets; oils like olive oil, flax seed oil are all excellent natural laxatives. Foods like cheese; coffee and fried food should be eaten in moderation or avoided completely by people suffering from constipation.
Certain lifestyle changes like drinking plenty of warm water, eating when hungry, proper exercise and avoiding the habit of sleeping immediately after a meal can help prevent constipation to a certain extent.
Inclusion of whole grain breads, high fiber foods and spices like ginger, cumin, coriander and fennel to the meal can help individuals suffering from constipation. Drinking a glass of warm milk at night and the inclusion of fruit juices like carrot, spinach and grapefruit juice at mealtimes is also helpful.
Natural laxatives have no side effects nor do they cause any physical dependency. They will not cause the individual to gain weight nor do they cause unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, stomach cramps or intestinal irritation. In addition to relieving constipation, natural laxatives also help in cleansing the colon.