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Many people don’t know that not getting enough water is a major cause of constipation. If your body lacks water, tissues use up reserves of water in the intestines, obtained from foods and produced during digestion, which would otherwise be used to facilitate the elimination of waste. Result? Chronic constipation.

– Try to drink at least 3 pints per day of spring water, fruit juice or herbal tea. If you are temporarily constipated or have sluggish intestines, your body will be sure to benefit from more liquids.

– Avoid tea and coffee, both of which are astringents that contract tissues, especially those comprising mucous membranes in the digestive tract. Sluggish intestines can be made to start functioning normally again, simply by eliminating tea and coffee. Replace these beverages with chicory, which has a mild laxative effect .

– A balanced diet containing enough fibre, which facilitates intestinal transit, is essential for preventing and combating constipation. A lack of nutritional fibre is the most common cause of the problem. You need about half to one ounce (15 to 20 grams) of fibre a day (people in most industrialized countries do not ingest that much).

Fiber is the residue that remains in the colon (large intestine) after foods have been digested. Fiber-rich foods combat constipation by stimulating the proliferation of bacteria that are normally present in the colon. In the digestive tube, fibre absorbs water, which facilitates elimination. Vegetables contain more fibre than most other foods.

– Eat lots of grains, and especially bran. If you are not used to eating grains, start increasing your intake slowly to build up your tolerance and avoid irritating your intestinal walls.

– Make the following vegetables and fruit foods of choice: apples, beets, leeks, cabbage, pumpkin, melon, lettuce, asparagus, artichokes, green beans, dried legumes, fruit with their peel (after washing thoroughly).

Recommended foods

– algae

– almonds

– apricots

– artichokes

– asparagus

– aubergine

– blackberries

– bran

– cabbage

– carrots

– cereal

– cherries

– chervil

– clay

– dandelion salad

– dried vegetables

– figs

– french beans

– fruits with skin

– grapes

– Jerusalem artichokes

– leeks

– lettuce

– melon

– myrtle berries

– oats

– olive oil

– olives

– oranges

– peaches

– plums

– potatoes

– pumpkin

– rasberries

– red currants

– rhubarb

– seaweed

– sorrel

– spinach

– strawberries

– swiss chard

– tomatoes

– water

– wheat

– wild chicory

– yoghurt

Foods to avoid

– bananas

– cakes

– coffee

– puree of carrots

– rice

– tea

Note: A good and well known remedy for constipation: Either in the morning before breakfast or last thing at night, take 3 or 4 prunes soaked in water since the day before. Don’t drink the water they were soaked in.

– Eat your meals calmly and take time to chew your food well. Also try to eat at regular hours, especially breakfast, which you should eat at the same time every morning.

– Make sure to get enough fat (not too much!) so your gallbladder has no problem contracting and releasing bile, which is a natural laxative. You might want to take a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning after waking up to help purge your gallbladder.

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