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NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO MIRALAX
Miralax is an Over-the-Counter (OTC) laxative mixture that increases the amount of water in the intestinal tract to eliminate bowel matter more easily. Miralax’s active ingredient is polyethylene glycol 3350 and it is used to treat occasional constipation or irregular bowel movements.
Miralax’s active ingredient (polyethylene glycol 3350) is reportedly a petroleum derivative and although approved by the FDA for adults, is not approved for use in children. There is also parental concern that polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG 3350), may be linked to tics, tremors, and behavioral problems, such as aggression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, following its use in children.
Due to the above, many people, especially parents, are looking for natural alternatives to Miralax. One such natural laxative is sorbitol, found in many dried fruits. Sorbitol is also found in berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries), apples, plums, pears, cherries, dates, avocados, peaches, apricots and cherries.
Fiber-rich foods such as the following are considered natural alternatives to help bowel movements:
- citrus fruits
Although not an all-inclusive list of natural alternatives, other natural alternatives to take note of include:
✔ Coconut oil due to properties that lead to a faster breakdown of food and increased frequency of bowel movements. It can be consumed in teaspoons, mixed in a natural fruit juice, or used as cooking oil.
✔ Olive oil has a consistency that serves as a lubricant to speed up bowel elimination and, being rich in antioxidants, it promotes a healthy digestive tract. Like coconut oil, it can be consumed in teaspoons, mixed in a natural fruit juice, or used as cooking oil.
✔ Lemon has citric acid content, stimulating the digestive system and assisting with elimination. It is recommended right after waking up in the morning or after a meal. Some sources recommend mixing lemon juice with several teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of water. Baking soda can neutralize stomach acids and help the intestinal tract move easier as well.
✔ Dandelion has a long history of use for constipation, diarrhea, and inflammation due to being full of vitamins and minerals making it a good diuretic and mild laxative. Dandelion leaves or dandelion vinegar can be added to regular food dishes or steeped as tea. Approximately three cups of tea a day are recommended to get rid of constipation.
✔ Probiotics provide good bacteria to decrease the bad bacteria in the gut, reducing the risk of constipation and problems with digestion. Probiotics can be found in cheese, fermented foods, live culture yogurt, fermented vegetables, and miso soup. They can also be taken in supplement forms and consumed as probiotic beverages.
✔ Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and serves as a lubricant rich in vitamins and minerals that help waste pass through the bowels. Good sources of omega-3 are salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna, and sardines. Fish oil can also be consumed through dietary supplements.
✔ Blackstrap molasses is made by boiling pure cane sugar and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is also an alkaline food so equalizes the stomach pH helping with stool movement. This crystallized form of sucrose can be used in food and drink as a sweetener, taken in a teaspoon, or with water.
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