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Natural Ways to Prevent Constipation

Prevent ConstipationConstipation is a problem for many people, it is something that can have a direct impact on our overall health and can also cause long term damage to our bodies.  Constipation can be a sign of an unhealthy diet or stress or that you aren’t getting enough water or it can be a sign of another medical condition.  If you are constipated often you should go to a gastroenterologist in Flushing and get a check up.

The recent death of character actor, Abe Vigoda, caused the media to haul out sound bites and videos of some of his most memorable scenes.  Of course, there was dialogue of Vigoda playing Tessio in “The Godfather”, as well as his character Fish in the “Barney Miller” series.  But oddly enough, many of the sound bites and still shots of Fish in “Barney Miller” had that character’s hand dipping into a box of prunes while extolling their virtues.  He said “I’ve been eating prunes for 40 years.  When I was 13, I gave a girl a necklace of prune pits. Her mother thought I was into voodoo.”


PrunesPrunes, formerly known as plums before they are dehydrated, are dark and wrinkled-up and often the butt of jokes, most of them associated with the elderly.  When the word “prune” is mentioned, people tend to snicker as they immediately conjure up an image of old folks relying on prunes to “be regular” … in fact, the word “prune” itself, has such a bad rap, that people often refer to old women as “old prunes”, and that is neither complimentary to the prune, nor the woman.

Well, we’re not here to disparage prunes, but to praise them.  They are one of the best means of combating constipation naturally.  Just one serving (approximately seven to eight prunes) daily will keep help keep you from becoming constipated.

Laugh if you must, but prunes are not just the number one way to cure your constipation woes by providing an excellent source of soluble fiber.  Here is what prunes can do for you:  keep you feeling fuller longer with 8 grams of fiber in each serving, protect against cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses, prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity, protect against bone loss and lower osteoporosis risk, help lower cholesterol and they are a good source of vitamin K and beta carotene which helps improve your circulation and combat aging.  (I know that last two words will have you scurrying to the grocery store now – who doesn’t want to look younger?)

Daily fluid intake

While all of these prune facts are just plum amazing, there are other fruits and veggies and simple tips that will aid in combating constipation and they are suggested below.  Whether you choose to get your prune fix through the fruit or through juice, prunes, as well as other fruits and veggies all will benefit your digestive system, because eating them will aid your daily fluid intake.  Dehydration can lead to headaches, lack of focus, fatigue, constipation and lackluster skin. Whether you’re drinking water, fruit juices, or getting fluids from fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, they all count toward the recommended eight glasses of water a day.

Combat constipation

The US Dietary Guidelines sets adequate intake for fiber at 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams a day for men.  Here are some ways to help chronic constipation:

1)Drink lots of water.  You don’t have to be in the 8-8 group, i.e. drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.  Just increase your intake of water as much as possible.  Drinking a lot of water is beneficial to your colon because when your body is properly hydrated, less water will be withdrawn from the colon, keeping your stool soft and easier to pass.  Ensuring you drink enough liquid will not only help prevent constipation, but it will improve focus and fatigue issues as well.  Remember that you need not chug down that recommended eight glasses of water per day – you may include fruit juices or count the fluids gleaned from the fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.  Juice will also aid in correcting constipation issues, but fresh fruits and veggies are best.  If you want to rely on juice, however, get juice, like OJ, with pulp included for extra fiber.

2)Bran cereals, like “All Bran” or the various brands and types of bran flakes are a natural and tasty way to get more fiber into your diet.  Do remember to introduce any high-fiber foods into your diet gradually to avoid excess gas and that uncomfortable bloated feeling.  Cereals with a lot of fiber definitely help promote digestive health, which is vital to overall health and disease prevention.

3)Eat fruits and veggies rather than relying on artificial stimulants to help you “go”.  Using “helpers” like stool softeners, laxatives, suppositories, enemas or colon cleanses, may be a “quick fix” to your constipation issue, but, these choices are not recommended on a frequent basis.  They are not beneficial to your digestive system because eventually eliminating waste naturally will no longer happen without the artificial stimulants.  So, why risk harming yourself with medications, dehydration, bowel perforation or infection, when the solution is as easy as a trip to the produce counter at your favorite grocery store?  If possible, choose fresh fruits and veggies over juices for optimal benefits.

High-fiber produce

Green peas, artichokes, avocados, edamame, cabbage, broccoli, beans (navy, baked, black, pinto and garbanzo – all are great sources of fiber), lentils, pears, apples and raspberries.

Eat fruits and veggies

Perhaps you made a resolution to exercise to become more fit and flexible in the new year.  Be sure to follow through with this resolution because physical activity revs up your metabolism and helps promote digestive health to keep you regular.

Remember that promoting healthy digestion is by eating the right food.  Using the suggestions above should help corrective the issue, and if not, to ensure that your GI tract is in good working order, contact a top GI doctor right here in Flushing, New York.