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A naturopath’s guide to beating constipation naturally

By Claire Cavanagh |


I Quit Sugar - Feeling a little blocked up? Naturopath and IQS expert Clarie Cavanagh shares her top tips for getting on top of constipation, naturally.

Constipation. It’s not a fun thing to live with and probably not something you want to discuss with family and friends.

But it’s something I talk about every day with my patients, because bowel movements can tell me so much about what is going on with your health!

Getting on top of constipation.

The overall aim here is to decrease the time it takes for your food to move through your large intestine, which limits the amount of water absorbed from the stool into your body.

And also improve muscle contractions (peristalsis) of your large intestine if they are too sluggish. Here’s how to do it, naturally.

Stay hydrated.

One of the simplest ways to ensure you stay regular. Adults should have at least two litres of water daily.

Decrease your intake of coffee and tea as the caffeine and tannins cause further dehydration.

Eat plenty of fibre.

Up your soluble fibres – that includes starchy vegetables like sweet potato and parsnip, beans, legumes, oats, chia, slippery elm and psyllium.

Soluble fibre helps to bulk the stool and provides prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Insoluble fibre found in leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower helps to move things through the bowel but in excess can actually have the opposite effect. So if you are constipated and having a lot of green smoothies, look at cutting them back until you get it sorted.

Avoid sugar and processed foods.

These feed the bad bacteria in your gut and cause imbalances in your beneficial bacteria, causing all sorts of upsets down below.

Try dandelion root tea.

It has a gentle laxative effect by stimulating bile production. Chamomile tea is also great for the bowel as it helps to relax the smooth muscles of your digestive system.

Get on to a good quality probiotic.

if there may be an imbalance in your gut bacteria, getting plenty of probiotics can be a helpful addition to help relieve constipation by getting things back into sync.

Get moving!

Regular exercise stimulates your nervous system and helps the muscles and nerves in the gut work more efficiently, therefore improving peristalsis.

If you’ve tried all of these tips and still can’t get on top of your constipation, be sure to get help from a health professional who can further investigate what might be causing it.

Claire Cavanagh
Claire Cavanagh is a qualified Naturopathic Clinician practising at Well Aligned Cammeray in Sydney. She has a special interest in all things fertility and nutrition. Claire specialises in women’s health, conception and preconception care, pregnancy and IVF Support.

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