While you probably don’t enjoy doing it, pooping is something we all need to do. Having regular bowel movements is crucial for optimal health. It rids the body of waste and keeps the digestive tract moving smoothly. But with an increase in poor diets, toxic overload and high stress lifestyles, many people are having trouble going “number 2.”
A diet high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar and unhealthy fats can lead to numerous digestive disorders, including colitis, IBS, IBD and leaky gut syndrome (just to name a few). When someone suffers from gastrointestinal issues, they typically experience irregular bowel movements–like embarrassing diarrhea and/ or painful constipation.
For many people, when they get backed up, they turn to laxatives for fast relief. In fact, according to Rx-Edge, laxatives are one of the most commonly purchased over-the-counter medications out there.
First things first, there are many different types of laxatives on the market. Some are meant to stimulate a bowel movement. Others are meant to bulk stool.
These include the popular brand names Ex-Lax and Dulcolax. Chances are, you or someone you know, has a box of these in the medicine cabinet right now. Laxatives like these work to increase stool’s hydration and stimulate the intestinal muscles to contract.
Osmotic and Hyperosmolar Laxatives
Then there are fast-acting enemas. They work by drawing fluid into the intestines to help stool pass more easily. Do you remember taking these as a child? If so, you remember getting down on the floor, laying on your side and inserting a tiny white tube into your bottom. NOT FUN! But, within minutes you feel the urgency to go.
Just like it sounds, this type of laxative works to make stool slippery. The mineral oils used in these laxatives coat the lining of the intestinal wall, which stops stool from drying out.
Bulking Agents (Fiber)
Fiber helps bulk stool, allowing it to pass.
While using laxatives can give you instant relief, they should never become a go-to source. You must understand, they ultimately don’t fix any underlying digestive problems. Rather, your body can become dependent on them and overuse of laxatives can cause serious health issues.
While the number one group of laxative abusers is people suffering from eating disorders (they’re looking for a way to control their weight), that’s not the only group taking laxatives on a regular basis. Middle-aged adults and elders who deal with chronic constipation also abuse laxatives to control their digestive issues.
Before taking your next laxative, take a look at some of the dangers:
- Water retention
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Inability to produce enough digestive enzymes
- Damage to the digestive tract and colon
- Dizziness / light-headedness
- Heart issues
- Weight changes
- Death (if overused)
Let Food Be Your Medicine
Rather than turning to an over-the-counter laxative, a healthy diet and a good daily probiotic supplement can give you the relief you need.
For centuries, people have used the following foods to stimulate a good poop. So get proactive and add these foods to your diet now! They will help keep you regular without causing damage to your intestines.
Another Powerful, Natural Remedy:
Along with adding these 13 laxative-acting foods to your diet, you should also take a daily probiotic supplement. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the digestive tract and help keep you healthy. They also promote regular bowel movements.