What is the best recommendation for a laxative? I tend to have more constipation than diarrhea. Also, are enzymes recommended to aid in digestion?
Hi Debbie. Thanks so much for your question! Assuming you have no medical conditions that would prohibit you from a high fiber diet, my first recommendation for dealing with constipation is to make sure you are getting plenty of roughage in your diet from fruits and vegetables, gluten-free grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.
If your diet has previously been low in fiber, I recommend incorporating high fiber foods slowly into your diet, with the ultimate goal being 25 grams of fiber per day.
You could more that meet your daily fiber requirement by consuming 2 servings of fruit, 4 servings each of vegetables and whole gluten-free grains, and one serving each of nuts and legumes. In addition to all that fiber, you will want to make sure you are getting plenty of fluids as well!
If you still find yourself with frequent constipation despite a high fiber diet and lots of fluids, I recommend you see your physician to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing to your constipation. If everything checks out okay, he or she may recommend a trial of magnesium, which can have a laxative effect.
Finally, unless you have a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes, which would need to be diagnosed by a physician, I do not recommend any enzymes to aid in digestion. One of the best recommendations I can give you, apart from consuming a healthy gluten-free diet, is to take time with eating and make sure you enjoy your food!
In good health,
EA Stewart, MBA, RD