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Eating Peanuts Eased Reader's Bathroom Difficulty

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Q. I suffer from constipation. I have never had a bowel movement without a laxative. Needless to say, I have taken just about all the medications on the market at one time or another for relief.

I have found that eating cashews or peanuts alleviates my constipation. What is in nuts that would cause this miracle?

A. We have no idea why peanuts or cashews would help against constipation, but this seems like a benign treatment for a common problem. Perhaps others will let us know if it works for them.

Other readers have found a variety of ways to ease constipation. Some are fairly mainstream, while others, like yours, are a bit idiosyncratic. Here are a few examples: 

JFR said: "I was given harsh laxatives when I was a child and this has caused me problems into adult years. Here are some the things that have worked for me.

"Magnesium oxide, try 200 mg, if this doesn't work, try 400 mg
or take 500 mg Vitamin C daily.

"Metamucil - a teaspoon in a cup of water: stir and drink quickly. Do this EVERY DAY. "Smooth" Metamucil is kinder. "Orange" tastes better.

"Slow way down on carbs and sugar.

"Eat oranges and apples

"Don't eat coconut

Fran reported: "My nurse daughter recommended 1/4 cup Bran Buds every morning. This has been perfect for me to avoid constipation and it is delicious when I blend it with multi-grain Cheerios."

PP added: "A nurse suggested drinking successive glasses /cups of hot and cold water. Also, papaya and mangoes are great for this problem."

There are many other suggestions in our Guide to Constipation. 

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Cashews are loaded in magnesium (think milk of magnesia as an equivalent laxative). I try to eat at least a handful every day. Magnesium is good for you in so many ways and this is an easy, tasty way to get it.

1/4 cup of cashews provides 25% of of the % Daily Value (%DV) of magnesium, or about 100 mg.

I, too, have found great relief from peanuts. I tried taking a magnesium supplement only to be in worse trouble.

Seems to be that any meds that are tablets make everything "backup". I try to get liquid or liquid capsules and find that helps also. A daily banana also helps....

Some of us are strange creatures, to be sure.

My start-of-the-day is the one 1/4 Bran Buds combined with toasted whole almonds and pecans, almond milk (high in calcium), and a few dried cranberries to top it off. Lots of water (I measure mine in a Brita pitcher every morning) during the day is probably helpful, too. After surgery several years ago I drank strong, hot, black coffee and hot water with lemon juice for a couple of days to get back "in the groove."

And don't forget the okra! It works great, and really soothes inflamed intestines. When you ran the laxative article a couple weeks ago, I was constipated as usual, and also bleeding badly from both large and small intestines (bright red, AND black and tarry) and my guts felt they'd been scoured with Brillo from the inside. I got a bag of frozen okra, cooked and ate about a cupful, and everything worked fine the next morning, and the raw feeling had disappeared. So I'm eating some every evening.

Of note - I'm in a lot of pain from past injuries, doctors won't prescribe Vicodin even in small amounts, so I'd been taking Ibuprofen, Acetomenaphin, Aspirin, and Naproxen, 2 to 4 a day total, for years. Guess what? Side effects of ALL of them include "bloody, tarry stools." So now I'm taking none of them, the bleeding has stopped, but it's really hard living with the pain (Sciatica and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.)

Thanks so much for People's Pharmacy, and everyone's contributions!

I take two tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar plus one teaspoon of Extra Virgin Oil plus one teaspoon of honey mixed with 8 ounces of water, taken 2 times a day and my constipation is no longer a problem.

I've used cashews and other nuts for years. I believe the chewed nut irritates the lining of the bowel to move out feces and the oil from the nut acts as a lubricant. Like corn, the stomach cannot process nuts into soft waste so out it goes, asap.

I eat cashews, take mag, use 8 stool softeners a day, take powdered ascorbic acid several times a week, still have problems. I am going to add some mag oxide, which I understand, goes thru you and pulls the contents of your bowels with it. I have been using a different mag for medicinal reasons. Otherwise, I force a movement as daily as I can do it. If I can't, then I take a double portion of milk of mag, which usually does it for me. However, I would really like a more natural time in the bathroom.

Brazil nuts and dried pineapple work wonders for me. I don't need laxatives because I am always regular. I just like eating Brazil nuts and dried pineapple because it takes good. However, I notice that I have extra bowel movements after consuming the combination.

I mix orange Metamucil with a small amount of warm water to get it into solution, add cold milk, vanilla, then mix with a stick blender. It tastes like a creamcicle milk shake. I am going to try one with cinnamon. During the summer I mix orange sports drink powder with it. Drinking this, stool softener, and probiotics really helps my constipation. I am thinking of trying unflavored Metamucil with different flavors of sports drink.

People's Pharmacy response: This certainly sounds like a good solution. Be sure not to use excessive amounts of cinnamon. The usual spice (cassia cinnamon) may have coumarin, a liver toxin, in it.

Romaine or green leaf lettuce keeps me regular, better than any other vegetable - one large leaf at lunch and another at dinner.

Almonds also work for me. Think they have magnesium as well as some calcium.

I started taking Metamucil years ago to help lower cholesterol and it also alleviated any constipation problems as a bonus. I decided I didn't want the added sugar and more so artificial sweeteners so I changed to psyillium husks. There is nothing added and I mix 1 tsp. or less in a glass of water mixed with some orange juice nightly. That is it! It works wonders!

The doctor told me to take 1 1/2 capfuls of Mirolax 3 times a day. It fixed my constipation. Is it safe to take it on a regular basis? He said it was because it does not stay in the body.

I do not thankfully have a constipation problem, I may go 4-5 times a day. But noticed after eating peanuts or mixed or cashew nuts I need to go within 30 min. and now I do know why. I think you're on to something. My mother had IBS w/some constipation and I know the hell she went through 24/7.

Just make sure you rest your legs on a stool as you sit on the toilet and presto you will find great joy in having no trouble doing #2. I learned that just a month ago after 68 years of being constipated. It has changed my life.

To we I would like to encourage you to seek chiropractic care for your Sciatic pain as it has been the answer & solution for me.

I hate to think of you being in so much pain.
Magnesium has been the solution for my chronic constipation.

Also, another note, the yellow mustard has been the relief for chigger bites for me, better than benedryl or hydrocortizon.

Try psyllium. Use the husks, it's a ground up fiber -- take it with a glass or orange juice (or any liquid -- I like orange juice with lots of pulp). I like to take it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I never miss a day. Works like a charm. Psyllium can be purchased in any health food store in the "colon care" section.

I want to follow the comments on this post.

It is obvious why nuts of all kinds help with constipation. IT IS THE FIBER IN THE NUTS that makes the difference. I have been plagued with constipation all my life. It's genetic, I believe. I use all of the above remedies in moderation plus FiberCon and Chitosan which really helps. It's a fiber supplement made of seashells n can be found at vitamin companies n health food stores. Plus, of course, Flaxseed meal really helps. But the nuts do work wonders. Eat a handful a day. My favorites are almonds, walnuts n peanuts. Keep prunes in your diet and, instead of the occasional laxative, use the natural Senna tablets.

Believe me when I say I am a longtime lifetime expert on this matter and am now elderly. BOTTOM LINE: I am never regular without nuts... with them I am. My average normal elimination is about three times a week, or at best once every two days or so. HOPE THIS HELPS.

I thought cashews were a great idea as they seemed to relieve my constipation, but I found they increasingly gave a too greater reaction, unto stomach cramps. Then smaller amounts made me dizzy, and my blood pressure dropped precariously on the next occasion and I passed out.

Benadryl was administered and I was warned this was a severe allergic reaction, and to completely avoid them. Cashews are in the same family as poison ivy, and their outer shell is toxic with anacardic acid, and the seed must be roasted carefully. Some individuals may be sensitive to even the processed nut.

The reaction of peanuts causing a BM, may also be a type of allergic response by this person, and eating them more frequently may cause an increased response that might no longer be so desirable. (I have a family member with a severe peanut allergy, so am always aware of these possibilities.)

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