Also sometimes referred to by doctors as purgatives, laxatives are medications formulated to loosen stools and thus promote bowel movement. So in other words, laxatives are for dealing with constipation.

While definitely effective, the problem with laxatives is a lot of them can be habit-forming — in the long run you may have a difficult time emptying your bowels especially if high doses of them are taken for long periods of time.

Health authorities confirm that abusing certain laxatives may also cause serious problems such as severe dehydration, mineral and electrolyte imbalances, increased risk for colon cancer and damage to the internal organs.

Worry not if the said risks of laxative intake are leaving you worrying for your health — there are some alternatives to laxatives that you may count on the next time you find yourself having a bout of constipation.

Instead of popping a laxative in your mouth, give the following a try instead:

Prunes

There are a couple of reasons why prunes make for fantastic alternatives to laxatives. First, they are extremely rich in constipation-fighting fiber. Second, prunes contain sorbitol, a type of sugar known to encourage bowel movement.

Experts say that you may take 3 to 4 pieces of prunes per day for mild constipation. If your constipation is severe, you may have up to 10 pieces a day. If you prefer prune juice, take a cup of it in the morning.

Aloe Vera

If you’re a health-conscious person who has acid reflux, then you know very well that aloe vera juice can provide much needed relief from hyperacidity and heartburn. Are you aware that it’s also good for dealing with constipation?

That’s because aloe vera juice has lubricating properties — it assists in the trouble-free ejection of stools. Just like prune juice, a cup of aloe vera juice is best taken in the morning for superb results.

Coffee

We all know that coffee is capable of exciting the nervous system because of a stimulating chemical in it called caffeine. But did you know that caffeine present in coffee can also leave your gut excited?

It’s exactly for this reason why so many people swear by the effectiveness of coffee in making them want to do a number 2. Just make sure that you also consume plenty of water as a cup of java has dehydrating properties, too.

Greek Yogurt

There are both bad and good bacteria residing in your gut. The goal is to have more beneficial microbes than unfavorable ones. Otherwise, all kinds of digestive problems may come into being — constipation included.

In order to make sure that those harmful bacteria won’t outnumber the friendly ones, regularly eat Greek yogurt as it’s packed with good bacteria. You may add fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh to your diet.

Healthy Oils

Last but not least, you may take a tablespoon of olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil or any other healthy vegetable oil that you have in your kitchen.

If the idea or act of swallowing oil leaves you feeling queasy, fret not — you may simply add the oil of your preference to your diet by using it for frying your foods or making your favorite salad dressing.

Before you go, there are a couple of very important things to remember if you want to keep constipation at bay:

  • Make sure that you drink plenty of water. Experts say that you should consume about 2 liters of it per day to keep your body properly hydrated and to maintain regular elimination of waste materials and poisonous substances from your gut.
  • Steer clear of leading a sedentary lifestyle. Being physically active helps ensure that your entire gastrointestinal or GI tract is in an excellent shape.

And by the way, don’t forget to share this article on your various social media sites so that your family members and friends may also be able to try the above-mentioned healthier alternatives to laxatives.

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