At one time or another, we all have been caught in a compromising position in the bathroom where we feel bloated and gassy but can’t move our bowels once we plop on the toilet. Despite lifting our feet up and down, and straining our body, we only end up depleting our energy, and remain bloated and uncomfortable in the most inopportune places, such as work or school. Luckily, there are surprising foods that can actually give us a much-needed push and make us “go” without much delay.
“Constipation can be an indicator of poor fat digestion, imbalanced gut microbes, and a toxic liver” Jennifer Scribner, a nutritional therapy practitioner specializing in digestive issues, in Portland, Ore., told Medical Daily in an email. Although it’s normal to deal with constipation, regular constipation can still be a cause for concern because it allows more toxicity to build in the body that can possibly cause long-term issues such as chronic abdominal pain and back pain. To prevent your stool from becoming hard, dry, and difficult to pass, consume these six foods to help you use the bathroom:
1. Cook Beans
This healthful food is known to cause flatulence, but its high fiber content can actually alleviate constipation. Consuming black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and soy beans can minimize gassiness if they’re cooked properly. “Lack of adequate fiber in the diet or water, and eating too much processed foods,” is often an indicator of constipation, Dr. Elaine Ferguson, holistic physician and bestselling author of Superhealing: Engaging Your Mind, Body, and Spirit to Create Optimal Health and Well-Being, told Medical Daily in an email. Foods with fiber help constipation because they add mass to the stool and stimulate the colon to literally push things along. Half a cup of beans can provide you with 6 or more grams of fiber.
2. Drink Coffee
Coffee lovers can rejoice that the bitter-tasting substances in their cup of Joe can actually stimulate the digestive tract and provide constipation relief. Drinking coffee can not only help you use the bathroom, but also pass softer, easier stools. While there are no large-scale studies on this subject, researchers believe drinking coffee can stimulate the movement of the colonic muscles and promote peristalsis — the coordinated contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements — at a fast rate, according to wbur.org, Boston’s NPR news station. Decaffeinated coffee can help bowels, but it won’t do so at the same rate as caffeinated coffee.
3. Eat Dark Chocolate
The health benefits of dark chocolate seem endless, but what chocolate eaters may not know is that it can treat constipation. The candy bar is a rich source of magnesium, which helps relax the muscles in the digestive tract, and throughout the entire body, increasing the likelihood that you will go. If you are unable to eat chocolate, Scribner suggests taking magnesium glycinate supplements to conquer constipation naturally. It’s best to opt for organic dark chocolate that contains at least 72 percent cocoa. Unfortunately, milk chocolate does not work the same as its darker counterpart.
4. Snack on Air-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn can be a tasty way to add more fiber to your diet, as long as it’s low in calories. Avoid adding salt or butter to preserve its benefits. This snack is a whole grain which can be an effective constipation remedy. The insoluble fiber in while grains helps keep you regular and prevent constipation, says the Whole Grains Council.
5. Crunch on Radishes
Radish is a vegetable that often goes neglected but can actually provide several benefits, including constipation relief. It's able to detoxify the liver, push excess bile out, and promote peristalsis, producing a healthy bowel movement. Radishes are considered roughage — composed of indigestible carbohydrates — that facilitate digestion, water retention, and fix constipation, according to organicfacts.net. Add this vegetable to your salad to prevent constipation.
6. Get a Spoon Full of Yogurt
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics, which promotes healthy digestion. “One of the best natural remedies most people don't know about is taking probiotics,” Ferguson said. Examples of probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Sacchromyces boulardi, which are available in supplement form and some foods such as yogurt. However, not all yogurts are created equal. Avoid yogurts that contain lots of sugar and opt for plain organic yogurts that have a good soruce of probiotics.
Next time you feel bloated and uncomfortable, grab yourself one of these foods to get natural constipation relief without colon-damaging laxatives.