Question:

It’s a little awkward to talk about but I need some remedies for constipation. We all have it at some point but for me it seems ongoing! What can I do? I’ve heard that papaya enzymes can help. Thank you for your time.

– Andre F.

Answer:

What goes in must come out! Even people on temporary liquid diets still create poop. For chronic constipation be sure to get checked by your physician to rule out any underlying medical cause. Home remedies for constipation include: 

Drink adequate fluids – target 0.5 fluid ounces per pound of body weight minimum per day. Strains from both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genuses are employed for constipation relief, as are Activia® yogurt and Yakult® drink. Consuming adequate fiber, both soluble and insoluble, helps to promote regularity.1  

Aim for 25-30 grams total dietary fiber per day from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. Exercises that may benefit the gut include yoga, squats, lunges and aerobic workouts. Reducing stress may also help improve intestinal flow. 

Enzymes such as in papaya and pineapples, help to break down amino acid strands thus promote efficient digestion of proteins. Theoretically digestive enzymes would reduce the amount of waste to your large intestines, but they’ve not been proven effective to relieve constipation. 

Resources: 

  1. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. “Overview of Constipation Treatments.” https://www.aboutconstipation.org/treatment-overview.htmlSeptember 29, 2017. Accessed 10.25.2019 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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