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Constipation Relief Tip No. 1 - Get Fiber for Better ‘Release'
The most common constipation relief advice any doctor would probably tell you is increase your fiber intake. Fiber rich foods particularly fruits and vegetables are widely available and you won't have a problem looking for whole wheat loaves in the grocery.
For many people though, the amount of fiber-rich foods you need to consume to meet the daily dietary requirement can be too large that taking in fiber supplements is more advisable.
How does fiber help in constipation relief? The human gastrointestinal tract is incapable of digesting fiber. When ingested, fiber simply goes through your stomach undigested and binds with the water in your intestines. This causes the water in your intestines to be retained. When mixed with the stool, the fiber and water mixture adds bulk and causes the stool to soften at the same time.
Types of Dietary Fiber for Constipation Relief
The type of fiber you're taking in for constipation relief can be grouped according to its source. Some of the most common sources for fiber include fruits and vegetables, wheat, psyllium seed, polycarbophil, and synthetic methyl cellulose. Almost all types of dietary fibers come from plants and whole grains.
Generally however, dietary fibers are simply classified to two categories: Soluble and Insoluble. Insoluble fibers or those that don't dissolve in water have already been established as beneficial for constipation relief, while the good soluble fiber can do has just been discovered recently.
The types of insoluble fibers, that are considered natural laxatives for constipation relief include:
- Cellulose and Lignin – found in whole grains.
- Hemicellulose – also found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. This type of insoluble fiber is partly soluble.
In the meantime, types of soluble fibers are:
- Pectin – found in fruits.
- Beta-glucans – found in oats, rye, and barley.
- Gums – from beans, cereal, seed, and seaweeds.
- Arabinose – found in legumes.
Regardless of whether they're soluble or insoluble, all dietary fibers are indigestible by humans and therefore favorable for constipation relief. Also, many fiber-rich foods contain both types of fiber but in different proportions.
While fiber is indigestible by humans, our gastrointestinal system reacts to it by having our digestive bacteria attack the fiber. This reaction causes the release of methane gas, which then leads to flatulence. All types of fiber can cause flatulence but at different levels depending on its source.
If you're looking at increasing your fiber intake for constipation relief, it is advisable that you increase your dosage gradually with 1 or 2 week intervals.