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Constipation is the most common gastro intestinal complication. It is characterised by less than three bowel movements per week, or bowel movement with dry hard stool that is difficult and painful to pass. Constipation could be as a result of inadequate water intake, poor diet, lack of or inadequate physical activity, stress or medication side effect. While it often lasts for a short period and is not dangerous, persistent constipation can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition that needs medical attention.  

Besides drinking enough water, there are natural laxatives that can help relieve constipation by adding bulk and softening the stool, reducing transit time in the gut and increasing stool frequency.

1.      Prunes

They are an excellent natural remedy for constipation. Rich in soluble fibre, they help increase water content and add bulk to the stool making its passage through the gut easier. Prunes also contain antioxidants that encourage growth of beneficial gut bacteria that improves overall health of the digestive system.

2.      Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant contains a compound known as anthraquinone that acts as a natural laxative. Add a few drops of aloe vera gel in your drinking water or drink aloe juice to help relieve constipation.

3.      Pear

This seasonal fruit is rich in fibre which bulks up the stool and helps it move better. Pears also contain a type of sugar that is poorly absorbed in some people which helps draw water from the body into the stool as it transits through the colon making it softer and easier to pass through.

4.      Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables like sukumawikI, spinach and common traditional vegetables are rich in fibre. Apart from softening and adding bulk to your stool, green vegetables are good sources of potassium which acts as a natural laxative.

5.      Chia and flax seeds

These seeds are a good source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and good oils. One tablespoon of can give up to 15 per cent of recommended daily intake of fibre. This fibre bulks up the stool and makes it pass better in the colon. When chia seeds come into contact with water, they form a gel that helps lubricate stool. Chia seeds can absorb 12 times its own weight in water which helps bulk up stool.

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