Natural ways to combat constipation
This month, I talked to Women's Health magazine about natural ways to beat constipation. Head here for the full article. Or just scan my three favourite tips below.
Research shows that kiwi fruit might help your toilet troubles. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but they think that the fibre in kiwi fruit holds onto water, easing constipation. The fruit also contains a digestive enzyme that speeds up the digestive process. Go for green rather than gold kiwis, and snack on two a day for the best effect. Slice them up over cereal, or mix into yoghurt. I’ve been testing this in my clinic for a while now, and it seems to get good results for my clients (although it can become monotonous!).
The right kind of fibre
Many of us turn to fibre to improve constipation, loading up on bran, brown rice and multigrain bread – but it can be too much of a good thing. You do need fibre to stay regular and keep your bowel healthy, but a high intake of insoluble fibre can make constipation worse. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a thick gel in the gut, softening stools. Oats are rich in soluble fibre, so try overnight oats for breakfast; and roast some root vegetables for your Sunday lunch, like carrots, parsnips and celeriac.
I recommend trying flaxseed (also known as linseed) when you have chronic constipation. Choose the ground version, as it’s gentler on the tummy than the whole seeds. Start with 1 teaspoon a day and build up to a tablespoon. This gel-forming soluble fibre can take a while to work, so stick with it for a few months and make sure you drink an extra glass of water each day to help the process along.