Did you know that about a sixth of the US population suffers from constipation? If you’re passing stool less than three times a week or find it hard or painful to do so, you may be part of the above group of people. Even if you’re going but don’t get the feeling that you’ve emptied yourself completely, there may be a problem that needs to be addressed.

The good news is that making a few lifestyle changes and using plant-based supplements can give you relief from constipation. Organic supplements with herbs can work as natural laxatives, say experts at Abe’s Organics. So, here are a few things you can do when you feel constipated.

Increase Your Fruit and Veggie Intake

White rice and bread lack fiber and can cause constipation. Dairy, and caffeine are also among the prime culprits. Red meat, with its high fat and protein content, can also make digestion difficult.

Fruits are generally rich in fiber, while also offering you a host of other digestive benefits like the stimulation of gut bacteria (prunes), sorbitol (pears) and enzymes (figs). Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can reduce the effects of constipation. Likewise, vegetables like artichokes, spinach, sweet potatoes, and flaxseeds and chia seeds contain soluble and insoluble fibers. Even if you’re taking the best supplements for health, try to increase your servings of fruit and vegetables.

Drink Enough Water

When the body is dehydrated, the large intestine absorbs water from the food inside the body. This makes it hard to pass stool. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

Avoid processed juices as they are loaded with sugar and have no fiber. If you wish to have juice, make it fresh at a time. Consider adding berries, psyllium seeds, broccoli and celery to your juice. Prune juice is known to be a major bowel function booster.

Consider Natural Supplements

Making additions to your diet may not be enough if you have chronic constipation. You may need plant-based, natural supplements to improve your constipation. The best supplements for health have ingredients like elderberry, yacon root, Ceylon cinnamon, triphala and carob.

Get physically active

Sedentary jobs and increased screen time are also a major reason for a poor bowel movement. Sitting for long periods of time can compress the gut and hence affect digestion. With aerobic exercises, your heart rate and breathing go up, which facilitates natural contraction in the intestines. So, food waste can move down quicker. With this, less water is absorbed in the process and stools become easier to pass.

While plant-based supplements and regular exercise can help, sometimes you may need to train your bowels. Go to the loo at the same time each day, preferably 20 to 30 minutes after breakfast. Remember to be completely relaxed and be prepared to spend time there! Ensure you’re not in a hurry and avoid pushing too hard.

As with any medical issue, if symptoms persist consult your physician.

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