Many people experience constipation from time to time. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also lead to numerous health complications when ignored. If you are feeling backed up, though, you are not alone. According to a 2020 study, 15% of the world’s population reported constipation. Knowing that you’re not alone doesn’t take care of the problem, but that’s where the drinks in this article come to the rescue.
What Is Constipation?
According to health experts, a person is constipated if they experience three or fewer bowel movements per week. Trouble passing stools or not fully eliminating are also common signs of the condition. It’s a normal digestive problem that a lot of people have, but the symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms of constipation can include:
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Hard or lumpy stools
- Straining to empty bowels
- Feeling blocked up (or like you can’t fully empty the bowels)
An April 2013 analysis assessed the diets and stool consistency of more than 9,000 adults. The results indicated that insufficient liquid intake was a primary contributing factor to constipation. That means that staying hydrated with water and other fluids can help smooth things out for regular elimination. It’s very common for people to neglect water intake, though. As a general recommendation, drink half your body weight in ounces of water for optimal hydration. If you weigh 150 pounds and divide that by two to get 75, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.
Water isn’t the only beverage that can help unclog the pipes, so to speak. There are other drinks that can help relieve constipation issues. If you need some assistance getting things moving, consider drinking one or more of the following beverages.
Homemade Apple Juice
Apples are naturally rich in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin A, among other nutrients. Health experts believe that the combination of sorbitol and pectin (a water-soluble fiber) may promote bowel movements. Juicing apples does reduce the fiber content, so it contains less than if you were to consume apples whole. Don’t drink too much apple juice, though, because it can cause digestive discomfort in people with sensitive digestive systems.
This may be the most popular juice to help relieve constipation. Keep in mind that you don’t need a tall glass of prune juice; rather, a half a cup is all you need. You can start with half a cup and adjust as needed. One eight-ounce cup of prune juice contains 2.6 grams of fiber, which satisfies about 10% of your recommended daily intake. Although fiber bulks up stool, sorbitol contributes to softer stool, making it easier to pass. The sorbitol pulls water into the gut to make pooping a little easier.
Lemon juice contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that naturally pulls water into the gut. As previously mentioned, increasing the water content in the gut can help soften stool and stimulate bowel movements. Since freshly squeezed lemon juice can be a bit intense on the palate, consider mixing the juice of one lemon in 12 ounces of warm water. Not only is hydrating a great way to combat constipation, but it’s also an excellent way to flush out additional toxins and waste.
There are those who drink coffee for the caffeine, while others simply enjoy the taste. Then there are the many people who sip a morning cup of Joe to encourage a bowel movement. Caffeinated coffee actually increases the amount of acid that the stomach produces and boosts colon movements. This combination can have a laxative effect, as confirmed by a June 2017 article in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
Water With Chia Seeds
Most people are in a natural state of dehydration, so drinking water first thing in the morning is a great way to begin the rehydration process. Drinking water on its own can help promote a bowel movement, but adding chia seeds to the water can enhance this effort. Simply add one teaspoon of chia seeds to a glass of water and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Chia seeds are chock full of fiber, which can help promote optimal digestion. About 87% of fiber in chia seeds is insoluble fiber, which helps to relieve constipation.