FOODS AND LAXATIVES TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION
To solve or prevent intestinal transit disorders, it is often recommended to supplement one’s diet with probiotics, which naturally restore gut flora. But what does gut flora do? Why is it important to eat fibre every day? And what are probiotics?
The role of gut flora and probiotics
Gut flora, called microbiota by specialists, is made up of billions of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract and improve the body’s functioning. These bacteria come from our diet, which is not sterile. Some bacteria, the ones not destroyed by acidic stomach juices (which, as a result of this action, play a protective role), make their way to the colon, where they remain and become gut flora. These bacteria improve digestion because they break down dietary fibre in the colon, particularly fibre found in fruit, vegetables and grains. Developing and maintaining these bacteria is key to a healthy intestinal transit. Moreover, our gut bacteria help combat pathogenic viruses and bacteria. As such, they are essential for our immune system and, consequently, for our health. However, lifestyle and dietary changes have resulted in people consuming more and more pasteurised foods that do not contain any bacteria, which ultimately leads to poor or imbalanced gut flora that no longer protects or maintains the immune system or improves bowel movements. This in turn causes intestinal disorders (constipation, bloating, abdominal cramps) as a result of much less effective peristalsis (muscle contractions in the digestive tract) if the contents of the colon are reduced or dehydrated. It is therefore crucial to cultivate your gut flora, not only for your daily well-being but also for your health in general in the fight against certain diseases and disorders.
Why fibre is important for fighting against constipation
Dietary fibre, derived from plants, comes from our diet. It is more or less fermented (digested) in the colon by the bacteria that feed off it and thereby contribute to the proper development and balance of gut flora. Plant fibre can be categorised into soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble dietary fibre, which is more fermentable than insoluble fibre, more effectively contributes to the nutrition and growth of bacteria contained in gut flora and indirectly provides energy for cells that make up the colon lining. All these actions combined improve intestinal transit and help relieve constipation. A high-fibre, balanced diet contributes to the proper functioning of the colon and is made up in 50% of soluble fibre and, in the other 50%, of insoluble fibre. OptiFibre® is a way of supplementing your diet in fibre and thereby improving your bowel movements. In addition to its short-term laxative effect, OptiFibre® has a long-term effect of restoring gut flora thanks to its composition comprising guar gum, which is particularly fermentable.
NATURAL REMEDIES TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION
Constipation can be relieved naturally. There are natural remedies for constipation that allow you to avoid resorting to allopathic medicine. A healthy diet, herbal medicines, essential oils and plant fibre are all alternatives to medications. What’s more, they are less aggressive and more effective in the long term.
The importance of a balanced diet for intestinal transit
Healthy bowel movements are essential for your well-being. Abdominal cramps, bloating and constipation are all discomforts that can be both painful and debilitating on a daily basis. Yet the first remedy for these intestinal disorders is on your plate! Modern diets prioritise refined and sterilised foods, when actually your body needs fibre to maintain gut flora. Fibre is mainly found in fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. This means that, for instance, it is better to eat wholegrain or half-wholegrain bread rather than white bread if you have difficulties passing stool. It is also important to stay hydrated. The water you ingest softens your stool, which makes it easier to pass. However, modern lifestyles and dietary habits can sometimes make it difficult to increase one’s intake in plant fibre. Nevertheless, there are simple and practical solutions to overcome this problem, such as OptiFibre®, which contains 100% guar gum and which has a beneficial double effect on bowel movements by restoring gut flora and stimulating colon activity.
Natural methods to relieve constipation
Relieving constipation also involves addressing its causes. Stress and anxiety, for instance, can lead to or aggravate constipation. In such cases, the solution is to learn how to manage your stress and regain an inner sense of well-being, which can be done through herbal medicine (herbal teas made from valerian, passion flower, lemon balm, Angelica root), homoeopathy (Ignatia, Gelsemium) and aromatherapy (e.g. lavender essential oil). Moreover, some essential oils, including ginger and fennel, have a direct impact on bowel movements. Physical exercise is also an excellent remedy for constipation. Even if all you do is walk, movement promotes effective emptying of the bowels.
Natural products for healthy bowel movements
Some plants and dry fruit are traditionally used to relieve constipation, such as flax seeds and prunes. Another solution is to use herbal remedies, which are good for gut bacteria and restore it and which consequently have a long-term effect. OptiFibre®, made up of partially hydrolysed guar gum, helps relieve constipation in a natural and lasting way. The guar gum fibre found in OptiFibre® helps relieve constipation in the long term.
CONSTIPATION AND DIET: WHAT ARE THE BEST LAXATIVE FOODS?
In most cases of constipation, diet is one of the main factors you can influence. First of all because many foods contain water, and second because they are a potential source of dietary fibre. In short, they contain what you need to overcome constipation. But what are the best foods to choose?
Constipation: Why is diet paramount?
It’s important to watch your diet to ensure a healthy intestinal transit. Specialists all agree! Sufficient hydration and a daily intake of dietary fibre is the perfect combination for regular bowel movements. Intestinal laziness is often caused by a diet lacking in soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre retains water and transports it to the colon, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. OptiFibre® helps you supplement your daily fibre intake. Made up of 100% plant-based soluble guar gum, this FSMP (Food for Special Medical Purposes) has effective laxative properties.
What are the best foods for constipation?
The most renowned fruits that relieve constipation are, of course, prunes. Why? Simply because these small dried fruits have a high fibre content! But they are far from the only ones. Bananas, apples, dates, figs, raisins, kiwis and cherries also have powerful laxative properties. Apart from being consumed raw or cooked, they can also be drunk in the form of juice. As for vegetables, it is recommended to eat legumes (broad beans, white beans, etc.) and greens. Contrary to popular belief, carrots are also an indisputable ally when it comes to food that relieves constipation because they are rich in fibre. All fibre plays a key role in regulating bowel movements, and particularly relieving constipation.
Constipation: Dietary solutions for constipation
It’s important to be aware that some people are at particular risk of suffering from occasional or chronic constipation. Women, for instance, are often more sensitive to this type of digestive disorder compared to men. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are dietary solutions. To maintain healthy bowel movements, it is above all necessary to consume at least 25 to 30 g of fibre every day. Thanks to OptiFibre®, you will easily reach these daily intakes because a single measure of this Food for Special Medical Purposes contains 5 g of soluble fibre, i.e. the equivalent in fibre of a portion of fruit or vegetables. If the constipation persists, however, you should consult a doctor, the only practitioner authorised to request additional examinations and prescribe medication.
Recipe idea: The laxative smoothie
If you regularly suffer from constipation, this smoothie made from pineapple, figs and prunes should not only improve your bowel movements but also delight your taste buds. To make one, place one cut-up pineapple slice, two figs and two prunes in your blender. Add 10 g of wheat bran and 10 g of flax seeds. Mix it all together. Ready! You can enjoy this smoothie approximately three times a week. To make it even more effective, you can easily add an OptiFibre® stick. This Food for Special Medical Purposes affects neither the taste nor consistency of dishes.
CHOCOLATE AND CONSTIPATION
Does chocolate cause constipation? When it comes to constipation, common beliefs die hard...
Chocolate and constipation
Does chocolate cause constipation?
When it comes to constipation, common beliefs die hard: bananas and rice should be avoided if you are constipated. Some foods slow bowel movements down while others “cure” constipation, or even cause diarrhoea.
Diet plays a key role in maintaining a healthy intestinal transit and a balanced diet helps prevent bowel disorders.
What role does chocolate play in diets?
There are countless people who love devouring chocolate... The French, for example, consume more than 390,000 tonnes per year, i.e. around 7 kg per person. Chocolate can be good for your health when consumed in reasonable quantities, of course, as with all simple pleasures in life.
Chocolate contains fibre: 100 grams of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% give 10 grams of fibre, which is more than some vegetables.
However, it should be noted that we are talking about cocoa-rich dark chocolate only.
When it comes to chocolate, it is important to make the following distinctions:
• Dark chocolate: contains at least 45% cocoa (measured by dry matter), including no less than 26% cocoa butter and 14% non-fat cocoa solids
• Milk chocolate: contains at least 25% of cocoa or 30% in the case of “fine” milk chocolate
• White chocolate: does not contain cocoa, but contains at least 20% of cocoa butter and 14% of milk (dry matter)
Moreover, all these compositions are governed by strict laws.
The positive effects of chocolate on intestinal transit
Only dark chocolate, therefore, has positive effects on bowel movements.
Dark chocolate contains iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and calcium. What’s more, the darker the chocolate (nowadays, you can find dark chocolate containing up to 99% of cocoa solids), the less sugar it contains.
Cocoa, and therefore dark chocolate, contains fibre, which has a positive effect on intestinal transit. Fibre contributes to correct bowel function and helps both prevent and reduce constipation.
To sum up, does chocolate cause constipation? No, if consumed in reasonable quantities. Does it cause diarrhoea? No, although consumed in excessive amounts, dark chocolate may speed up bowel movements because it is rich in minerals and fibre.
Constipation and diet: chocolate, fibre... and enjoyment
Dark chocolate does not cause constipation; on the contrary, it can even be considered a product that relieves constipation.
Due to its slightly bitter taste, dark chocolate is not everyone’s cup of tea, however. Some prefer milk chocolate, the sweeter and melt-in-your-mouth kind, while others still would rather reach for white chocolate. But, as is the case with many foods, any excess will have an impact on bowel movements.
Yet dark chocolate is not necessarily as bitter as you might think. Indulge in it gradually, first trying chocolate with 50% cocoa, followed by 60%.
There are many different types to choose from: dark chocolate with fleur de sel, pistachios, raspberry, almonds, salted butter caramel, and much more.
Start with one square and let it slowly melt on your tongue, perhaps as an accompaniment to an Italian coffee or a nice cup of tea.
Foods that relieve constipation
There you have it: chocolate’s false reputation as a constipating food dispelled. Chocolate does not cause constipation as long as it is dark chocolate, i.e. if it has a cocoa content of at least 43%.
That said, chocolate can hardly be viewed as a food item that relieves constipation.
If constipation is a relatively serious problem for you, the answer does not lie in a square of chocolate; you need to review your weekly dietary intake.
Do you drink enough water? Do you eat enough whole grains, fruit and vegetables, all of which are rich in fibre?
Did you know that brown rice and legumes, amongst others, are also considered foods that help overcome constipation?
If you suffer from bowel disorders, and particularly chronic or recurring constipation, your pharmacist or dietician will be able to recommend food products that will naturally increase the fibre levels in your daily diet.
OptiFibre®, for example, is a Food for Special Medical Purposes available in pharmacies and made up of 100% plant-based guar gum. This soluble fibre has been proven to regulate bowel movements.
DRINKS TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION: HERBAL TEAS, TEAS, SOUP AND MORE
Herbal teas, teas, soups, smoothies... There is a wide choice of beverages that relieve constipation. In addition to increasing your fluid intake, they also contain ingredients that have a positive effect on your bowel movements. If needed, you can combine them with food supplements such as OptiFibre®.
Choose hot drinks to relieve constipation
Gastroenterologist Felice H. Schnoll-Sussman recommends hot beverages as heat improves bowel movements by causing the blood vessels in the digestive system to dilate. As such, don’t shy away from hot tea and herbal tea if you’re trying to overcome constipation. That said, cold drinks also help relieve constipation by increasing fluid intake (as a reminder, you should try to drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day) and thanks to their nutrients, such as Hepar® mineral water, which is rich in magnesium.
Ideas for herbal teas to relieve constipation
There are several herbal teas that can be used to overcome constipation. For example, you can brew 15 g of flax seeds for a few minutes in a cup of hot water. Flax seeds are rich in fibre, which means that they help improve bowel movements. Nettle tea is also effective (one handful of leaves for one cup) because the plant stimulates bowel movements.
Constipation: Think tea
Drinking green tea to relieve constipation? Great idea! This draining drink helps eliminate toxins and waste from your body all the while improving your bowel movements.
Ideas for soups to relieve constipation
It’s easy to make a soup for constipation. All you need to do is combine vegetables that are rich in fibre: a leek and courgette soup, for example, will do the trick. As for cold soups, try cucumber soup.
Smoothie to relieve constipation?
Why not combine the fibre found in apples with the laxative properties of kiwis in a delicious smoothie? If you want to really make the most out of the apple’s positive effects, however, blend it unpeeled (use organic fruit to avoid traces of pesticides).
It’s easy to supplement your beverages with OptiFibre®!
If you’re suffering from constipation, OptiFibre® can be easily added to your soups and drinks, both hot and cold. This fibre supplement does not affect their smell, taste or even texture, and it helps supplement your fibre intake.
IDEAS FOR NATURAL RECIPES FOR CONSTIPATION
Do you regularly suffer from constipation? Does your digestive system show recurring signs of intestinal laziness? In most cases, adopting a diet high in soluble and insoluble fibre helps regulate bowel movements. For those seeking solutions, here are a few natural recipe ideas for your menus to help overcome constipation!
Recipe for constipation: Wholegrain breakfast
The first meal of the day helps you start off on the right foot by giving you the energy you’ll need to make it until lunchtime. It is therefore vital to pay attention to its ingredients, making sure that it meets your nutritional needs on the one hand and rehydrates your body after a long night’s sleep on the other. Let’s start with what to drink at breakfast. To combine rehydration with a gentle laxative effect, the best solution is a herbal infusion. Many herbal teas (such as fennel, liquorice, anise and chicory) are highly effective when it comes to relieving constipation. Fresh fruit juice is also a good option. As for food, go for whole grains whenever you can. Oats, wheat, bran... Mix it up! You can add some dried fruit or oilseeds for an even tastier recipe.
Recipe for constipation: Breakfast with spring onions
Who says that homemade recipes for constipation can’t be tasty? On the contrary, you need to know how to indulge even when you’re suffering from bowel disorders. That is exactly what we suggest you do with this simple but particularly delicious recipe for tuna with prunes. To delight the taste buds of four people, start by gently frying a thinly sliced spring onion in a little olive oil. Place the tuna (cut into four equal portions) on top of the cooked onion and pour over 35 cl of red wine. Add some mixed herbs and two carrots (thinly sliced) and cover. After simmering for 15 minutes, add around thirty pitted prunes and leave to cook for another quarter of an hour, covered. Remove the pieces of fish and other ingredients so that only the juices remain. Turn the juices into a sauce by adding butter and flower (make a roux). Serve with the carbohydrate of your choice.
OptiFibre®, a food supplement to add to your recipes for constipation
It’s not always easy to make sure that your daily fibre intake (25 to 30 g per day for adults) is fully satisfied. However, you can always count on OptiFibre® to boost your fibre consumption. This Food for Special Medical Purposes will help you easily meet your daily needs. Available as a powdered solution or stick, it contains 100% plant-based partially hydrolysed guar gum. It is intended for adults and children over 3 years old who suffer from intestinal transit disorders. OptiFibre® is very easy to use as it can be mixed into all your recipes without affecting the taste or texture of the food.