Constipation is a common ailment that troubles people of all age groups around the world. Medicines and chemical laxatives provide temporary relief and we keep looking for a natural and permanent solution to this chronic problem. Exploring the use of olive oil for constipation relief in this article, we will talk about its benefits for everyone including babies and the ideal dosage too.
Is Olive Oil a Good Laxative?
Olive oil is known to have a number of health benefits but is olive oil a good laxative? The answer is yes.
Olive oil is known to aid the passage of food through the digestive tract and ease bowel movement. The vegetable mucilage in olive oil not only protects the digestive tract but also works as a natural laxative. Having a spoonful of extra-virgin olive oil on an empty stomach or mixing it with a juice of half a lemon can do wonders for those suffering from constipation.
A study conducted on patients undergoing hemodialysis showed that olive oil works for constipation relief. It can be considered as one of the best oil for constipation relief. A regular intake of olive oil showed improved bowel movements and consistency of stools and the frequency of evacuation—which are otherwise signs of a constipated digestive tract.
Olive oil is also helpful to cleanse the colon region
Based on a study conducted by the Department of Gastroenterology at the Haydarpasa Numune Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, a sample of patients who were undergoing colonoscopy were given a dose of 60 ml olive oil three hours before as a preparation for the procedure.
The results were compared with a sample of patients who were given a chemical laxative such as milk of magnesia and another sample set which was not given any laxative before the procedure. Those who were administered the olive oil were more satisfied with the results of their colonoscopy and also appreciated the taste of the olive oil as a laxative. Their right side colon was also found to be cleaner as compared to the other two groups.
How Does Olive Oil Provide Relief from Constipation?
Not having bowel movements for a period of two consecutive days or more can be called as constipation. A number of factors are responsible for constipation. It can be anything from a lack of physical activity and taking certain medications to unhealthy eating habits, just to name a few. Having a natural remedy for this is highly recommended. Here is how olive oil works to relieve constipation:
Based on its medicinal properties
- Olive oil is a natural laxative and it lubricates the bowels. The oil adds moisture to the stool, making it soft and easy to pass.
- The mucous lining of the colon is strengthened, thus improving its function.
- Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory and soothing properties prevent swelling, irritation, and a puffy intestine, thereby allowing the stool to pass smoothly.
- It helps the gallbladder to release more bile and encourages the production of digestive enzymes to improve digestion.
Based on its nutrients
- The fat-soluble vitamins E & K present in olive oil retain their nutrition value even when cooked. They are digested in the presence of fats. aid in proper digestion and thereby regulate the bowel movements as it helps improve the overall health of the digestive tract.
- Olive oil helps improves the bowel evacuation speed as it has monounsaturated fats, which are helpful in making the passage of food through our digestive tract faster.
How to Use Olive Oil for Constipation Relief?
There are a number of ways in which olive oil can be consumed. In all the ways, it gives best results for constipation relief. Here are a few ways to use olive oil in the daily diet:
1. Plain olive oil
Simply take a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil on an empty stomach every morning. Do not eat or drink anything (not even water) for an hour. Continue this for some days and you will start to notice the effects.
2. Olive oil and lemon juice
For those who cannot stand the taste or smell of extra-virgin olive oil, you can mix up one tablespoon of oil with one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and consume it every morning before having anything else. Results may show up pretty soon.
3. Olive oil and yogurt
Giving our body a dose of good bacteria helps in fighting infections and maintains a healthy lifestyle. A cup of yogurt and a tablespoon of olive oil make a winning combination to have in the morning. This duo makes for a great breakfast snack and is known to send the constipation packing.
4. Olive oil and banana
Banana is a rich source of fiber and potassium. Both help in improving the bowel movements and aid digestion. Potassium plays an important role in smoothing the function of digestive tract muscles.
Take a peeled banana and make thin slices, add the tablespoon of olive oil to it and mix. Have this tasty mixture thrice daily to do away with constipation.
Olive Oil for Constipation Relief in Babies
A common problem that most babies face is constipation. A colicky baby that has an irritable bowel movement is as irritable as anyone can be. A quick remedy for colic is to rub warm olive oil on the baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction to help prevent gas and ensure a peaceful sleep for the baby as well as the parents.
But giving olive oil orally to babies is not recommended. Also, it is advised to talk to a doctor before giving any food as a laxative to infants.
How Much Olive Oil for Constipation Relief?
Is there an ideal dosage of olive oil to be taken? Yes, there is… an ideal dosage is one tablespoon, once daily. Anything more can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps and is not recommended. As mentioned earlier, vary it with any of the combinations and keep a healthy and free-working digestive system.
Side Effects of Olive Oil When Using for Constipation Relief
A lot of studies support the use of olive oil for constipation relief. However, it has also been observed that prolonged use causes certain side effects.
The calories in olive oil are something to watch out for, especially for those who are watching their weight.
As with any laxative, if there is an overdose, it can induce a laxative diarrhea so that needs to be taken care of.
Diabetics need to consult their doctors before they begin this diet. Olive oil is known to reduce sugar levels in the blood.
Other Oils to Treat Constipation
What if you cannot find olive oil for treating a constipated digestive system? A few other oils can also be considered, such as:
A laxative composed of mineral oil can be taken from over-the-counter drug stores. It is usually available as an oral liquid or enema.
Flax seed oil:
Flax seed oil is also known to help relieve constipation. It helps to loosen the stools and allows them to pass through the bowels easily.
Final Word on Using Olive Oil as a Treatment for Constipation
The effects of olive oil on our digestive tract are much milder than OTC laxatives. Olive oil is a good remedy to treat constipation; its natural laxative properties make it a preferred choice of home remedy to treat this commonly appearing problem among patients of all ages.
A word of caution, make sure you stop it, if diarrhea is induced or if it causes weight gain due to the calories it contains.
“Administration of olive oil followed by a low volume of polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution improves patient satisfaction with right-side colonic cleansing over administration of the conventional volume of polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution for colonoscopy preparation.”, September 2009; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19555936, last accessed September 1, 2017
“The Passionate Olive: 101 Things to Do with Olive Oil”
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“The Short-Term Effects of Olive Oil and Flaxseed Oil for the Treatment of Constipation in Hemodialysis Patients”, September 17, 2014; http://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(14)00141-1/abstract, last accessed September 1, 2017
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