With infrequent bowel movements, the digestive tract can retain a large quantity of toxic material that can accumulate over time and contribute to many chronic health problems and conditions. Nature has provided us with some time-tested and research-supported laxative foods that not only relieve constipation but also deliver many additional health benefits.
One of these foods is flaxseed, which has been proven to have a dual effectiveness for both constipation and diarrhea. The study on flaxseed comes from the Natural Products Research Division of the Aga Khan Medical College in Pakistan. Flaxseed oil and its gel-like fiber was given orally to people and it caused a dose-dependent increase in looser bowel movements – meaning that the higher the dose, the more effective it was. Flaxseed is also an effective remedy for hot flashes, other menopause symptoms and high cholesterol.
When studied for its anti-diarrheal effect, flaxseed oil reduced diarrhea by 50%, when it was induced by giving castor-oil. This effect was discovered to be from the ability of flaxseed oil to prevent low potassium levels. The researchers confirmed the medicinal use of flaxseed for both constipation and diarrhea, with a sound basis for both.
Aloe vera leaves are commonly used as a remedy for constipation and the laxative effect of their plant chemicals is well-proven. In one study of 28 adults, aloe vera had a laxative response that was stronger than a stimulant called phenolphthalein. The German Commission E, which is a governmental regulatory agency that has evaluated the usefulness of 300 different herbs, has approved aloe vera laxative preparations for use as a constipation treatment. Aloe vera is also rich and vitamins and minerals and it enhances dental health when used as a mouthwash, heals canker sores and helps heal burns.
The stomach-friendly bacteria in yogurt known as “probiotics,” have been increasingly researched as a remedy for constipation. Scientists from the School of Medicine at King’s College in London reviewed 14 studies involving 1,182 participants. The consensus of the studies is that certain strains of probiotics from supplements can speed up the movement of food through the intestines and it increase stool frequency. Probiotics are widely available in supplements, yogurts (unsweetened is best), and foods such as sauerkraut and pickles. Probiotics are also known to strengthen immunity and encourage healthy skin.
Magnesium is a long-time, traditional and effective cure for constipation. A recent study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed this by their study of magnesium in 3,835 women in Japan — 26% of which had constipation. The researchers found that low magnesium intake was associated with an increase in constipation.
They also discovered that dietary fiber intake, intake of water, or water from other fluids were not associated with constipation. However, low intake of water from foods was definitely related to constipation. The foods highest in water content include vegetables and fruits, and these are a great assistance for achieving smooth stomach health.
Magnesium is also a proven remedy for insomnia, heart health, bone strength and headaches. In one study from the Romanian Journal of Neurology, researchers conducted biochemical and neurological tests in cases of restless leg syndrome with insomnia. The investigators reported several examples of sleep disorders. They found agitated sleep with frequent periods of night time awakenings and a decrease of the duration and percentage of the deeper rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These things are also found in other forms of insomnia that are caused by magnesium deficiency.
This health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.