Living in today's fast-paced society means many of us are constantly traveling, and our health takes a backseat. When we're in a hurry we're often stressed, and that means our diet will likely suffer from conveniences such as eating out. Poor eating habits and stress can make us “not go” when we’re on-the-go due to a lack of proper nutrients, including fiber and minerals.

Laxatives are often used to help people become "regular" by stimulating a normal bowel movement. Typically, the stool is formed by the absorption of waste, unwanted nutrients, electrolytes and water within the gut. Then, they come together to make a soft-but-solid substance that is able to easily pass through the digestive tract.

There are different laxatives available on the market to solve constipation woes; most people choose to buy over-the-counter stimulants. These laxatives work by stimulating the lining of the intestines and making the muscles of the digestive system contract, while also increasing stool’s hydration. However, over time, these laxatives can weaken the body’s ability to go to the bathroom, and possibly lead to a “laxative dependency” or abuse. People who abuse laxatives find its “quick fix” appealing to lose unwanted calories and weight, “feel thin” or “feel empty.”

About 2 to 28 percent of the U.S. population suffers from constipation, which means OTC laxatives will only temporarily solve the problem. A better way to relieve constipation is to make long-term changes to our diet by eating more fiber and avoiding inflammatory foods that cause constipation. Eating foods that act like natural laxatives can help us meet our 25 to 40 grams of fiber per day to avoid constipation.

Here are 6 natural food laxatives for constipation relief.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a quick and easy source of protein, healthy fats, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of fiber at 10 grams per ounce, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The amount you eat is contingent on the number of calories you eat in a day; a person eating 2,000 calories a day should aim to get 28 grams of fiber daily. The National Fiber Council recommends an average of 32 grams per day for a healthy body.

Fiber is essential for the body to balance insulin levels. Chia seeds can be a natural blood sugar balancer, because of its higher fiber content and healthy fats. The rich fiber helps people feel more full quicker since it absorbs a significant amount of water, and then immediately expands in the stomach when consumed.

Figs

This fruit provides high levels of fiber and water in addition to antioxidants, which act as an anti-inflammatory in the digestive system. Eating figs delivers a significant dose of fiber that can help the bowels function properly. For example, a single dried fig contains 0.8 grams of total fiber. Four dried figs provide more fiber than three medium-sized prunes, one small apple, one small orange or 1 1/4 cup of fresh strawberries.

Probiotics

Probiotics create a healthy environment in the guy microflora to keep the digestive system free of issues like constipation and diarrhea. Probiotic foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, and probiotic yogurt. A 2014 study found on average, probiotics slowed “gut transit time” by 12.4 hours, increasing the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped soften stools and make them easier to pass.

Leafy Greens

Inevitably, leafy greens are an excellent source of fiber, and possess a high magnesium content. Magnesium is an electrolyte that has the natural ability to soften stool and help you draw water from your gut. It also helps the hard stool easily move through the system, since magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, lettuce and cabbage are extremely rich in fiber, and could be used as a natural, and tasty remedy.

Coffee

The acidity in coffee helps to stimulate the distal colon, which helps dispel waste from the body. There are around 1,000 compounds found in coffee, any of which can cause our body to break down protein more efficiently, or increase the body’s level of cholecystokinin and gastrin — two hormones that help with food digestion.

Kombucha

This ancient “magic” elixir is a sweetened and fermented tea that can be found in the fridge section of the supermarket, or you can brew your own. Kombucha contains probiotics that help bring balance to the flora of your digestive tract, helping improve stomach troubles, and digestion. A 2008 study found the fermented tea itself could provide antimicrobial activity that controls E. Coli and staph bacteria.