5 Home Remedies For Constipation August 8, 2016 Aug 08 2016 There’s nothing worse than the feeling of sitting on the toilet seat, struggling, straining and panting to do a Number 2 and ending up with pathetic little rabbit plops. Yes, we’ve all been there. It feels like running a marathon and tripping up right before you reach the finish line. While the occasional bout of constipation isn’t something to get too worried about, when it happens on a regular basis (yes, this is you with the magazine rack next to your toilet seat), it’s time to raise a red flag. Doing a Number 2 should be quick and effortless. You should be able to sit down, do your business, and be out within minutes. There should be no time to read an entire article! I’m not even sure why this concept of reading has become normalized! Does the very thought of a quick Number 2 sound dreamlike or perhaps even near impossible? Then this blog post is for you. Note: I’m not going to repeat the basics (drink enough water, get enough fibre from vegetables, legumes or grains) because I assume by this point most people have this knowledge, but may not be acting upon it. So step one, make sure you’re drinking 2-3 litres of water and consuming 25-30 grams of fibre per day. Once you have that down, here are my top home remedies for constipation that should get you pooping in no time! Tip #1: Squat, don’t sit This has been a game changer, not only for myself but also anyone else I’ve told. People have come back to me like excited little schoolgirls telling me about how quickly they now poop. (Mom and dad aren’t you proud of me?) Here’s the deal: the modern toilet (while convenient) forces us to sit in a way that’s not natural for doing a Number 2. In fact, before the toilet seat existed, humans were squatting on the ground or using a squat toilet, which still exists in many parts of the world. So why is a toilet seat bad for us? Imagine for a moment that your colon is a garden hose, and that when you sit down it forms a kink in the hose that’s blocking anything from coming out the other end. When you squat however, the kink is straightened out and everything moves much more freely out of the hose. It’s as simple as that! This is the study that opened the world’s eyes to this phenomenon, and that even led to the creation of the wildly popular product called Squatty Potty. I would highly recommend buying one (it’s only $30), and if you’re not sold on it yet, then simply use a stool or flip over an empty garbage can to elevate your feet in the meantime! Tip #2: Hot water & lemon Hey, guess what? You have an in-built laxative inside your body. That laxative is called bile, and it’s made in the liver. If you’ve heard of bile before, you may know that it’s primary purpose is to help break down fats and it’s stored in the gallbladder until it’s needed. One of its other functions is stimulating peristalsis (contractions in the colon) that help move our friend Number 2 along. What’s that got to do with hot water & lemon? Lemons are one of the many bitter foods that help stimulate bile production, and therefore bowel movements. Simply squeeze 1/4 lemon into a cup of hot water, and drink it on an empty stomach in the morning. Tip #3: Dates & prunes I realize that eating prunes is not a newsflash for most people. But eating dates might be. I’m not a huge fan of prunes and since they’re not often (or ever) at my house, I often turn to juicy and plump Mejdool dates that are always on hand. Since dates are extremely high in fibre, eating one or two in the morning after a glass of hot lemon water should do the trick. Tip #4: Magnesium Did you know that approximately 70% of the population is deficient in this mineral? Yikes! One of the main functions of magnesium is to help relax muscles and the nervous system. One of those muscles being the intestinal wall, which is responsible for moving Number 2 along. Not only does magnesium help alleviate any tension in the colon, it also helps draw more water into the gut, which softens the stool and makes it easier to come out. Is it any wonder that between sitting on a toilet seat that knots up our colon and 70% of us being magnesium deficient, that so many people are constipated? The best magnesium to take for constipation is magnesium citrate, or magnesium oxide. This is because they are not extremely well absorbed, which makes them more effective at pushing things out. I would also recommend taking magnesium in liquid or powder form for better results. Tip #5: Probiotics Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard the term “probiotics” by now. You may however, not fully understand what that means. Probiotics simply means good bacteria, and we all need a good amount of this in our gut to regulate digestion, our immunity and to make certain vitamins. Unfortunately, due to multiple rounds of antibiotics, the birth control pill or even a poor diet, we often manage to wipe out most of our good bacteria, which can lead to digestive problems such as constipation. You can start replenishing your gut flora by adding more fermented foods to your diet such as yogurt, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut. However, the simplest and most effective way to do so quickly is by purchasing a good quality probiotic from a health food store. A good starting point is a probiotic that is 10 Bilion CFU and higher. The 7 Day Challenge My dear constipated reader, there is nothing worse than feeling bloated, sluggish and uncomfortable when you’re out. If you are someone who goes to the bathroom once every few days, or can pretty much read a book while waiting for something to happen, I challenge you to do these five home remedies for constipation consistently for a week. If these tips start working wonders for you, please let me know! (Yes, I realize it’s awkward to email a stranger about your pooping habits, but I’m betting you’ll be so ecstatic with the results that you’ll be glad to have one person to tell who will be excited and not grossed out). Good luck 🙂 About Alina I'm a Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada and my official title is Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP). I received my diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. I'm a coach and an educator. Follow Alina on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.