Though over-the-counter and prescription laxatives are easily available, a lot of people, especially those suffering from constipation, prefer foods that are beneficial as natural laxatives.
What type of foods contains laxatives?
Though all natural foods contain laxative qualities, processed foods are mostly not laxative foods.
There are two types of laxative foods: herbs, and natural food. Herbs are usually made into teas whereas natural foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, are eaten raw or cooked. Their laxative action eliminates toxins and body waste.
Are there any typical sorts of food that contains laxatives rather than others?
As mentioned above, processed foods are not good laxatives compared to natural foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, whole grain cereals, etc. Even these natural foods vary in their laxative action depending on how much soluble and insoluble fibers they contain.
Why use laxative foods?
Because of the fear of chemical laxatives and their dangerous side effects, a lot of people consider the use of natural laxatives a far safer and better remedy. Natural laxative foods are mostly harmless substances that actually restore the health of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Laxative foods supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals that boost your health. Daily consumption of these foods as part of a laxative diet will greatly reduce the effects of constipation.
The list is long but the most well known are: acai berries, almonds, apples, apricots, artichokes, avocados, bananas, beans, blackberries, Brazil nuts, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, cranberries, cucumbers, dates, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, green leafy vegetables, jackfruit, legumes, lemons, mangoes, melons, oats, okra, olives, onions, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, soybeans, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, walnuts, watercress, and yams.
Some health benefits of a laxative diet
- The soluble and insoluble fiber in the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cereals strengthen the large intestine and colon.
- These laxative foods rarely cause weight problems.
- They are safe for use over a short period of time, without the dangerous side effects that are common with chemical laxatives.
Most popular natural laxative foods
Prunes (and prune juice) is a very good natural laxative and is rich in potassium, iron and vitamin A.
Cabbage is another popular laxative food that rids the body of toxins while aiding in relieving constipation. Whether raw or cooked, it can be eaten three times a week for excellent laxative results. Like cauliflower and broccoli, cabbage is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, etc.
Vegetable salad made with beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, etc. would provide abundant vitamins and minerals while enabling you to have a regular bowel movement.
Other popular laxative foods
Fruits like apples, grapes, apricots, mangoes, melons, peaches, pears, plums, berries and pineapple are protein-rich, have antioxidants, calcium, the B-vitamins, folic acid, fiber, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc, are easy to digest and are beneficial for good health.
Seeds and nuts like peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, and almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds and vegetables like mushroom, green beans, peas, etc., which are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium and potassium, are also good laxative foods. They are rich in mucilage (soluble dietary fiber) that stimulates peristaltic action in the intestines to expel waste.
Most fruits and vegetables also provide a lot of water that is essential to loosen the stool. The water helps to avoid dehydration, which can be serious if not treated promptly.
How to consume these laxative foods
These fruits, vegetables and nuts are best eaten raw to obtain the nutrients and vitamins that they have: most vitamins get lost when foods are boiled. Seeds like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. when eaten raw are easily digested and are very rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
These laxative diet foods, especially dried fruits and nuts, should be consumed with lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Some people are allergic to these natural laxative foods, so consult your doctor before using any laxative for a long time.
Even natural laxatives, if over used, can have detrimental effects.
Pregnant women should not take anything that may harm the fetus.
Nursing mothers should not take these laxatives as it could affect their babies being breast-fed.