When your "works" are all stopped up, you want relief quicker than you can say "go." If a poor diet — one lacking fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — is a major cause of the problem, better food choices and plenty of fluids are a major part of the solution.
These are full of fibre, the key to a smooth-running digestive system. As fibre travels along the large intestine, it absorbs fluids to bulk up and soften waste material. That helps stool pass more easily through the colon, where muscle contractions move it along. Fibre is particularly dense in the skin, stems, and leaves of fruit and plants, so don't peel that apple or toss those broccoli stalks.
Dark green leafy vegetables (think spinach, broccoli, etc.) can do double duty not only because of their fibre but also because of their high magnesium content (see under Nutritional Supplements on the opposite page).