Constipation is a common issue for most people and evidence suggests that it may be addressed by olive oil. Constipation is defined as experiencing difficult to pass, small, hard or dry stool or less than three bowel movements within the week. People have been known to utilize olive oil for various different purposes. These include addressing obesity, high cholesterol, even heart or cardiovascular diseases, and other medical conditions such as constipation.
How to Use Olive Oil to Relieve and Treat Constipation
Stools that are dry and hard do not easily go through bowel that easily. Technically, this is what constipation really is. Studies show that using olive oil to help stool move along the bowel more easily and smoothly may be a safe and natural method of addressing constipation.
Olive oil contains fats that can help the bowels have smoother inner linings. This smoother inner lining within the bowel may help stool move or pass faster thereby addressing constipation. Olive oil can also help in the stool’s retention of water. Once this happens, the stool will maintain its softness and can, therefore, pass more easily through the bowel.
It is recommended that healthy adults take one (1) tablespoon of olive oil each morning before any meals to help fight and alleviate the symptoms of constipation. Individuals, however, are advised against taking more than one tablespoon of olive oil as it can cause cramping and diarrhea. People who are undergoing the medical procedure known as dialysis may have an increased chance of experiencing constipation more frequently.
A study conducted in 2015 found that for around fifty (50) people undergoing dialysis and experiencing constipation, the daily use of mineral oil, flaxseed oil, and olive oil may help relieve and address the symptoms of constipation. Experts further recommend that the intake of fiber be increased to help prevent the occurrence of constipation.
Is Olive Oil Safe for Children?
As stated earlier, olive oil is recommended for use by healthy adults. But what about the use of olive oil for children and babies? Unlike adults, experts do not recommend olive oil to treat constipation in children and babies. As an alternative, people may use pureed prunes, kayo syrup, pear juice or apple juice to help infants with constipation.
Children, on the other hand, may take in foods that are high in fiber such as whole grain cereals, apricots, and prunes. If infants and babies have already been given the said alternative treatments but still feel constipated it may be best to seek medical attention from the child’s pediatrician.
Other Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Aside from being beneficial against constipation, olive oil has some other excellent health benefits for individuals. People from the Mediterranean have olive oil as part of their staple food which experts have linked to better overall health and improved longevity. Olive oil has also been shown to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties owing to it phenolic compound content.
Evidence also suggests that it can help against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, both of which are degenerative diseases that can greatly impact the quality of life of patients. Olive oil may also help in the management of arthritis, cancers, heart and cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Heart Association or the AHA recommends the use of olive oil for improved heart or cardiovascular due to its increased levels of monosaturated fats that are good for the heart. This is because, in order to stay healthy, it is recommended that people should have at least ten (10 %) percent of saturated fats out of their recommended daily dose of around 20 to 35 % of their total fat calorie intake which makes olive oil an excellent health food for people who want an improved and enhanced health.
Vitamin E is also present in significant amounts in Olive Oil which has been shown to prevent the formation of free radicals and help boost the immune system of individuals. There are many types of olive oil available in the market but experts suggest that people purchase those that are labeled or identified as “extra virgin”. This is because extra virgin olive oil retains almost all of its natural ingredients as it was naturally processed without any additional artificial enhancements or reductions. Going for the light variant of olive oil may also mean opting for a more processed version of olive oil which means less natural components with health benefits.
What Other Oils Can Help in Fighting Against Constipation?
People have been using different oils to treat constipation for thousands of years. One such oil is castor oil which has strong reactive properties when compared to olive oil. Castor oil can make bowel muscles move and contract to make stool pass and move through the bowel. This may be the reason why castor oil is also used to induce pregnant women into contractions. Similar to that of olive oil, flaxseed oil and mineral oil has been found to aid in making stool soft thereby encouraging it to pass through the bowels and helping against constipation.
Prevention Against Constipation
Experts suggest certain lifestyle modifications to prevent the occurrence of constipation. These include eating more fiber, getting more physically active and drinking a lot more water.