10 Healthy Foods That Are Natural Laxatives

As many as 63 million people in North America suffer with chronic constipation. Constipation is characterized as bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. The average person should have about 1 to 3 bowel movements everyday. You are considered to be constipated when you only have bowel movements 3 times per week or less. The frequency of bowel movements is less important as how hard you have to push or strain. Passing a bowel movement should take no more effort than urinating or passing gas. Constipation can be triggered by many things like slow movement of stool in the colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pelvic floor disorders, a lack of dietary fiber, medication, a recent surgery, a lack of physical activity, hemorrhoids, wounds in the lining of the anus, etc.

Over-the-counter laxatives are great at relieving constipation because they artificially stimulate the colon in order to loosen up the stool and increase bowel movements. The only problem with laxative medications is that they are not meant to be taken long term. Laxative abuse is a common issue because is a convenient and quick fix when we want to prevent recurring constipation or when we are desperate for relief from the discomfort that comes with constipation. Continuously using laxatives over an extended period of time can cause the loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, indigestible fiber and waste from the colon. This is why some people use laxatives for weight loss. They are under the assumption that a laxative-induced bowel movement contains food, fats and/or calories. This assumption is what causes severe dehydration, weakness, fainting and kidney damage.

The list below contain foods that act as natural laxatives. They mimic the effects of over-the-counter laxative medication. Incorporating these fiber-rich foods into your eating regimen on a regular basis can help to prevent and cure chronic constipation without the adverse effects of laxative abuse.


1) Legumes (Beans & Peas)

2) Nuts

3) Berries

4) Pears

5) Apples

6) Chia Seeds

7) Spinach

8) Broccoli

9) Dates

10) Water

Water isn’t a food but it’s important that you drink your daily allowance of water because without it your stool will not have enough fluid in it to soften up and easily pass through your colon.


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~Image courtesy of Istock

You should consult your physician to recieve a professional diagnosis and get more advice about whether it’s safe for you to incorporate any of these items into your diet.