Dear Melissa, I have been looking for remedies for Whole30 constipation relief. Could you help here? – Thanks, Julie

Hi Julie,

I’ve collaborated with Whole30’s in-house Registered Dietitian Stephanie Greunke to provide you with some general constipation relief recommendations based on Whole30-compatible foods and supplements.

Whole30 Constipation Relief: Fiber

Fiber plays a major role in digestive health. It helps to keep the digestive tract flowing by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and keeping them soft and regular. Whole30’ers get their fiber from vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. As our Meal Template recommends, fill your plates with non-starchy vegetables, include high-fiber fruits like berries, and occasionally add a portion of nuts or seeds for extra crunch, healthy fats, and fiber. If you’re new to the Whole30, you may need to slowly increase your fiber intake, and it may take some intentional meal planning to get to the recommended 25 grams a day for women, 38 grams for men.

Prunes or prune juice

This is a staple “mom” laxative for a reason: it works, and it’s all-natural. A word of caution, however—prunes have a lot of carbohydrates (60 grams in just 10 prunes), so this may not work well for those with metabolic concerns. If it fits your context, try eating 5-10 prunes throughout the day, or drinking 1/2 a cup of 100% prune juice once or twice a day until you achieve the desired result.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that helps motility, and studies show most Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium in their diets. Try the magnesium citrate form found in Whole30 compatible Natural Calm Original. You can find this popular brand on Amazon or at your local natural foods store. Start with half the recommended dose (one teaspoon) mixed into lukewarm water before bed each night. Allow the bubbles to settle, then drink. You can try slowly upping your dose each night until you get the desired effect, but don’t overdo it, as it can quickly cause diarrhea. (Bonus: many Whole30’ers report taking their Natural Calm before bed also promotes deeper, more restful sleep.)

Hydration

This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many of us are walking around dehydrated! To keep things moving naturally, make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Eight glasses a day is the old stand-by, but to be honest, there’s no actual science behind that. Your actual needs will vary based on climate, activity levels, body size, and other factors. Basically, just drink water consistently throughout your day (beverages like unsweetened almond milk, tea, and even coffee counts) and try not to consume too much water with meals, as that hampers digestion.

Still, too much water can be just as problematic as too little. Ensure you’re not flushing out valuable electrolytes (like potassium, which aids in colon muscle motility) by adding one packet of unflavored Raw LMNT to a 20 to 40-oz hydroflask each day. It’s Whole30 compatible, tastes delicious (not too salty!), and will add extra high-quality sodium, magnesium, and potassium to your diet.

Probiotics

Adding some probiotics and/or fermented foods to your daily diet can also keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy, which can keep things moving healthfully. Try naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi, and consider adding a basic probiotic regimen as recommended by Dr. Michael Ruscio (author of Healthy Gut, Healthy You). His 3-step probiotic regimen (Lacto-Bifido, Saccharomyces, and a Soil-Based probiotic) are what I take daily, and have helped my digestion tremendously. Need to dive deeper here? Listen to episode #30 of Do The Thing. I interview Dr. Ruscio about gut health, including the specific probiotic regime he recommends.

Finally, if your constipation lasts more than a few days, at-home remedies aren’t working, or you’ve noticed a concerning change in your bowel movements in general, please seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner.

Hope this helps,

Melissa XO

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