Everyone will experience some form of constipation throughout their life. Some will suffer short term while others will experience constipation severely throughout their lifetime. Constipation can cause discomfort in the lower abdomen due to the slow movement of the stool through the colon and difficulty in passing stools.
Constipation can arise for multiple reasons including side-effects from prescription medication, changes in hormones and a rise in stress. However the most common reason is a lack of fibre or water in the diet. If you suffer from constipation you need to increase the level of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, also ensuring you drink plenty of fluids to flush through your system. The recommended daily intake of water is about eight glasses per day. Aim to drink this amount daily at least, but keep in mind your body requires more fluids if you are quite active.
Spinach is very high in fibre, containing around 5 grams per serving (about a small handful of fresh leaves). Broccoli, green beans, onions and artichoke all contain approximately 2.5 grams of fibre per serving. In a salad, you can replace lettuce with fresh spinach and add the above vegetables to your salad. If you cut the broccoli and green beans finely you can enjoy fresh rather than cooked or steamed.
Some fruits specific for helping with constipation are papaya and figs. Eat half a medium sized papaya at breakfast for its laxative effects. Fresh and dry figs both have a laxative effect. Soak four to five dry figs in a little water and eat in the morning with breakfast. Other fruits that are high in fibre are apples, blackberries and raspberries, all containing approximately five grams of fibre per serving, which is about 25% of your RDI. You can also make a berry smoothie using one banana and one cup of mix berries, blended with one cup of milk or juice.
Senna is a popular natural remedy for constipation which is derived from the senna plant. It works by stimulating your bowel to make a movement. You can get senna tablets from your local pharmacy or find senna tea bags or loose leaves at your local health store.
It is important to visit your doctor if your constipation continues for longer than one week, as it could indicate a more serious underlying problem.
One bowl of bircher muesli/milk with half a medium papaya and 4-5 figs
Berry smoothie using 1 banana, one cup of fresh or frozen mix berries with one cup of milk or juice
2 cups of fresh spinach
Finely diced fresh broccoli and green beans (or lightly steamed)
Half of red or white onion diced
Loosely cut fresh or canned artichoke
Any other fresh ingredients of choice
1x pack of bircher muesli
1x medium papaya
Pack of dry figs
Bag of frozen mix berries (or fresh punnets)
1x 1litre milk or juice
References: Fruits high in fibre http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fiber-in-fruits-and-vegetables