Constipation refers to a person having three or fewer bowel movements in a week. It can occur in any age group starting from newborn to older people, with children and women being mostly affected.
The factors that can trigger constipation may include:
- Consuming fewer fiber
- Decreased mobility
- Consuming too much milk or cheese
- Overuse of alcohol
In India it is one of the self claimed problems that are never openly discussed. According to a Gut Health Survey by Abbott, 22% of the Indian adult population is suffering from constipation, with 13% complaining of severe constipation. Among them 6% of the Indian populations suffer from constipation associated with certain comorbidities.
However, anyone can face this issue and must be managed to avoid further complications.
Here are the top Indian foods to relief constipation
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. When your body is dehydrated, the colon absorbs the extra water from your stool to hydrate the whole body. This results in dry, hard, and difficult to move stool. In fact, being low on fluids is one of the most common causes of constipation. (Source – 1)
On the contrary, when your body is enough hydrated, less water is withdrawn from the colon. This helps your stool to become soft and easy to pass through your colon.
How Much Water to Intake?
It is recommended to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation. Drinking 4 to 8 glasses of water daily can reduce the risk of constipation.
Yogurt is a food produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk, and eating it regularly may boost several aspects of your health.
It is a rich source of probiotics, the “good” or “helpful” bacteria when consumed improve or restore your gut health. Probiotics are useful for several health benefits including treating constipation.
Eating yogurt regularly provides probiotics that have a favorable effect in increasing defecation frequency and improving stool consistency and bowel transit time. (Sources – 2, 3, 4, 5)
While choosing yogurt look for the following strain of bacterial content
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus casei Shirota
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Bifidobacterium animalis
3. Jeera Water
Cumin or jeera is being used as an ayurvedic medicine to treat health conditions like cramps, digestive spasms, bloating, and constipation since ancient times.
Consuming jeera may also increase the release of bile acid from your liver and can increase the volume by 25% which can be beneficial for your healthy digestion. (Source – 6)
Jeera contains soluble dietary fiber and studies have indicated that consuming fiber is beneficial in increasing your stool frequency and relieving chronic constipation. (Sources – 7, 8, 9)
Besides, a small pilot study has revealed that cumin extract is an effective treatment in improving all IBS symptoms.
How to Prepare Jeera Water?
- Take 1 teaspoon of jeera seeds and
- 1 cup of water
- Roast jeera seeds on a tawa till they turn deep brown.
- Then cool them and grind them into a fine powder.
- Mix this powder with water and consume it on an empty stomach.
Most of the benefits of barley for constipation come from it being a rich source of fiber. Most of the fiber found in barley is insoluble which means it can help to soften your stool and can make it bulkier, helping it move through your digestive tract. (Source – 10)
Besides, consuming barley can increase your stool volume, the frequency of defecation, and improve your bowel function. (Sources – 11, 12)
How to Take Barley?
Barley water is the easiest way to make it. Take 4 cups of water in a large pot and add ¼ of barley with it. Boil the mixture on a medium flame for 12 minutes and stir occasionally. Strain the mixture, add salt and drink it.
Oats provide the highest amount of fiber than other grains. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, soluble fiber being the most. One research has claimed that both soluble and insoluble fiber is beneficial in improving constipation conditions.
But most of the benefits of oats for constipation come from it being the maximum soluble fiber content.
Soluble fiber absorbs water to become a gel-like substance and is fermented by bacteria in the digestive tract which in turn can help to pass your stool smoothly through your intestines.
Soluble fiber can improve your stool consistency, pain during defecation, and can also reduce the number of days between your stools. (Source- 13)
How to Take Oats?
Take half a cup of dry oats and mix with a bowl of hot milk. Add chopped nuts, and seeds to make it healthier.
Flaxseeds have been extensively used to cure the symptoms of many health conditions, including constipation. Being a rich source of healthful nutrients, flaxseeds are a great source for you to get fiber.
These tiny seeds are an effective laxative, which in turn help your harder stool to become loose and ease the passing of your stool smoothly through your intestines.
Consuming flaxseeds can shorten your start time of defecation and can improve your stool frequency. (Source – 14)
Moreover, studies on humans and animals have observed that flaxseeds are effective in relieving constipation symptoms. (Sources – 15, 16)
How to Consume Flaxseeds?
It is easy to add Flaxseeds to smoothies, on top of salads or yogurt.
Triphala is a well-known medicine in the Indian system of Ayurveda. It comes in a powder form that contains an equal proportion of three plant’s dried fruit –Amalaki or the Indian Gooseberry, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki.
It has been used as an herbal remedy to treat many health issues including constipation since ancient times.
Triphala has been found effective in treating constipation, abdominal pain, and improving the frequency, and consistency of stool. (Source – 17)
It does so by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut.
Additionally, it helps you to improve your bowel movement to remove waste from your body. (Source – 18)
Consuming Triphala also helps you to clean the colon and relives anorectal blockage, the sensation of incomplete evacuation, flatulence, and bloating. (Source – 19)
How to Take Triphala?
Triphala is recommended to take in between your meals on empty stomach. You can consume Triphala as dosages of 3 to 6 g daily for the treatment of constipation. (Source – 20)
8. Aloe vera
Aloe vera has a long history of traditional use for constipation. It can be used to treat constipation in the form of juice, gel, or in capsules.
Aloe latex contains anthraquinone glycosides that work as a laxative, which helps to empty the intestine naturally. The laxative property of aloe latex also helps you to reduce water absorption and thus promotes the formation of softer stools. (Source – 21)
A small study has concluded the use of aloe vera can reduce abdominal pain as well as flatulence in patients with constipation.
How to Consume Aloe vera?
If you are consuming aloe vera first time, you can start with 50 ml of aloe vera juice daily.
9. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is one of the most effective and easy-to-make Indian home remedies to cure constipation. Lemon contains pectin, a type of water-soluble fiber which is useful in the treatment of constipation. (Source – 22)
Besides, lemons are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant compound that can increase water content in your gut. The presence of enough water in your gut means it can soften your stool and enhance your bowel movement.
How to Take Lemon Juice?
Take a glass of lukewarm water and add about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Drink the mixture every morning to improve constipation.
Coffee is one of the most common beverages consumed all over the world. It contains caffeine which has the ability to help you relieve constipation.
A small study with 10 participants revealed that caffeine can activate contractions in your colon and intestinal muscles, and an increased desire to defecate.
Additionally, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees can increase the gastrin levels by 2.3 and 1.7 times respectively, a hormone that helps to contract your colon. (Source – 23)
Although, according to a research caffeinated coffee makes the colon 23% more active than decaf coffee.
How to Take Coffee?
If you are new to coffee, you can start with 1 cup of coffee daily.
Ginger is one of the effective herbal remedies for constipation. It is useful in increasing gastrointestinal motility and stimulating gastric emptying. (Source – 24)
Besides, consuming ginger is also helpful in decreasing the pressure on the lower intestines and reducing intestinal cramping. (Source – 25)
How to Take Ginger?
Many people use ginger tea to get relief from constipation. Drink 1 or 2 cups each day, after meals.
Foods to Avoid During Constipation
If you are suffering from constipation, it is recommended to avoid the following foods:
- Gluten Foods
- White Flour(Maida), and White Sugar
- Processed or Fried Foods
- Carrots & Potatoes
- High Salted Foods
- Red meat
- Milk and Dairy Products in excess