Gen Z are drinking olive oil to relieve constipation, experts explain why it works

Most of us know that unpleasant feeling of “being blocked up” – but Generation Z are embracing an unusual remedy to help them stay regular.

More formally known as constipation, the common condition affects around 1 in 5 Australians. Meanwhile around four million people in the US suffer from constipation, the New York Post reports.

This uncomfortable complaint has prompted the younger generation to turn to natural remedies like drinking olive oil to help them fight it, according to laxative retailer Dulcolax’s poll of 2000 people in the UK, obtained by the Daily Mail.

And it’s just not some viral hack beloved by the younger generation – experts say it works.

The fats in olive oil can help smooth the inside of a person’s bowel and keep their stool softer by helping it absorb more water, according to Medical News Today.

Constipation, characterised by infrequent or uncomfortable bowel movements, is the most common gastrointestinal complaint and leads to 2.5 million doctor visits annually, per Hopkins Medicine.

“Constipation happens because your colon (large intestine) absorbs too much water from your poop. This dries out your poop, making it hard in consistency and difficult to push out of your body,” Cleveland Clinic explained.

One tablespoon of olive oil taken in the morning on an empty stomach can help people poo, and there are studies to back it up too.

A study published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition in 2015 found that olive oil, flaxseed oil and mineral oil effectively relieved constipation for the 50 people involved.

In addition to the 5.7 per cent of Brits drinking olive oil, 65.6 per cent are drinking more water, 22.2 per cent of the people surveyed in the UK said they ate prunes and 13.1 per cent admitted to jumping up and down to get things moving.

Other remedies, according to the poll, include drinking coffee to speed up the bathroom process (23.7 per cent) and taking a hot bath (15.9 per cent). Among those surveyed, 15.6 per cent eat a fruit-only diet, 6.3 per cent try fasting and 7.4 per cent resort to having a cigarette.

Over half of people between 18 and 54 have been constipated sometime in the last six months – but one in seven of them said they were too embarrassed to get help and 48 per cent of people were too shy to buy laxatives.

In addition to trying laxatives and natural remedies, people who want better bowel movements can make lifestyle changes like eating more fibre, drinking more water, reducing dairy intake and exercising more.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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