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ating dietary fiber and

drinking plenty of fluids are the main ways for keeping our digestive tracts active and happy. Thus, the most com- mon reasons for constipa- tion are a diet lacking in fiber and insufficient

fluid intake. But other reasons can also contribute, such as inadequate exercise, an unbalanced or changed diet due to traveling, ingestion of medications, or hormonal fluctuations. Whatever the reasons, it’s good to know that natural remedies can provide a viable option, instead of resorting to harsher, chemical laxatives.

Generally, all fruits, except for ba- nana and jackfruit, can help get a slug- gish bowel moving. Bael fruit, found in Asian markets, is considered a natural laxative and is eaten to help clean and tone the intestines. Another way to seek relief is eating pears or fresh guavas af- ter dinner or with breakfast. Eating half a medium-sized papaya for breakfast has laxative effects, as do fresh figs. Note that prunes and dry figs should be soaked overnight in a little water and eaten in the morning.

Consider a “fiber day” to move things along, with menus consisting only of steamed vegetables, fruits and salads. Sprinkle various dishes with high-fiber seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and ground flax seeds. According to the American Dietetic Association, the average American cur- rently ingests about 11 grams of fiber daily. Women should aim for 21 to 25 grams a day, and men, 30 to 38 grams. Remember, if constipation strikes, when we literally get moving, so will our bowels.

Sources: remedy/Constipation.html;

Feed Your Feet with Castor Oil


vegetable oil obtained from the seed of the castor plant (Ricinus commu-

nis), pure castor oil is a colorless to pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. Among many uses, it can serve as a natu- rally healthy treatment for several common foot problems. Dryness: When circulation to one’s feet is compromised, the skin may become dried out. According to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, castor oil has long been used to soothe and seal foot skin that has become cracked and fissured, qualified health counselors seek to improve the root cause of the impediment to normal circulation. Red and itchy: The fatty chains of castor oil are made up almost entirely of ricinoleic acid, which modern medicine recognizes as a powerful anti-inflamma- tory (Mediators of Inflammation). Achy: Castor oil has also proved to have analgesic, or pain-reducing, effects, according to a study of surface pain published in the Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery. Fungal: Undecylenic acid, an active ingredient in castor oil, is widely ac- knowledged for its relief of fungal infections in the body (Antiviral Research). For foot or toenail fungus, soak feet in a basin of water with Epsom salts for about five minutes, and then apply castor oil liberally.

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