Constipation is a common problem, about 14% of people experience constipation at some point in their lives. One of the most common cause of constipation is the slow movement of food through the digestive system. Other causes may include a poor diet, dehydration, medications, illness, diseases affecting the nervous system, and mental disorders.
Fortunately, there are certain foods like prunes, kiwi, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pears, spinach, broccoli, and berries, which can relief your constipation pain by decreasing gut transit time, adding bulk, increasing stool frequency, and softening stool.
Symptoms of Constipation
In most cases, constipation is just an indication that you require more fibers in your diet along with more fluid. Symptoms from the complications of constipation may include:
- Abdominal pain, discomfort, and swelling
- Stomach upset
- Aggravation of hernias
- Loss of appetite
- Anal tears
- Anal fissures
- Hard stools
- Rectal bleeding
The intensity of constipation symptoms may vary from person to person. For some people, the condition is rare, while it can be a chronic condition for others. The above signs and symptoms can be an indication of a more serious digestive disorder. There are chances if you’ve observed constipation symptoms at one point or another and if it includes severe pain or bleeding, seek medical assistance from your doctor.
Foods to relieve constipation
Sometimes, you may feel unable to empty your bowels completely or regularly. Take note when your bowel movements are fewer than three times per week, it is considered to be a constipation condition.
Primarily, women of age 31 to 50 must eat at least 25g of fibers regularly, while men of that age group should take about 38g. When you grow older, requirements for fiber eventually drop. As a result women of age 51 and older should eat about 21g of fiber daily, whereas men should take 30g of fiber. Researchers suggest that dietary fiber plays an integral role sustaining a healthy gut microbiome, which may affect several other conditions of your health. Eat foods containing appropriate quantity of fiber help you maintaining weight and preventing obesity.
So, the next time if you’re having trouble selecting foods to avoid constipation, here are 6 of the good foods to help relieve constipation by keeping you regular. Add these fiber rich foods to your diet — and get going again.
Prunes are one of the most widely used foods for constipation relief. Also called as dried plums, they include high quantity of fiber with almost ¼ cup (40-gram) containing 3 grams of fiber. They play a significant role by increasing the amount of water in the stool to add bulk with the help of the insoluble fiber present in prunes, cellulose. On the other hand, the soluble fiber is involved in the production of short-chain fatty acids to increase stool weight.
The phenolic compounds present in prunes stimulate the beneficial gut bacteria. This hypothesizes contributing to the laxative effect. Eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of prunes on daily basis significantly improves the stool frequency and enhances consistency compared to treatment with psyllium, a kind of dietary fiber.
You can eat prunes in cereals, salads, baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, and savory stews.
One medium kiwi (about 75 grams) contains at least 2.3g of fiber and lots of other vitamins. Studies have found that eating kiwi on daily basis stimulates the bowel movements. Also, if you’re eating two kiwis a day, it will increase the number of bowel movements during constipation.
Other than fiber, there are certain enzymes in kiwi which help fight against constipation; for example, actinidin is hypothesized to regulate kiwi’s positive effects on gut motility and bowel habits.
A kiwi, like the most berries, has edible seeds. Even you can eat it as raw or with its peel, though most of the people like eating just the flesh. Kiwi makes a tasty addition to the fruity salads and can be sprinkled on smoothies for a fiber boost.
3. Chia seeds and flaxseeds
Chia seeds and flaxseeds are the best way to get rid of constipation as they contain high content of fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. The husk of the flax seeds contains most of the fiber. That is why ground flax seeds are generally recommended to make absorption easy of the fiber.
10g of fiber are present in 1-ounce serving chia seeds along with 138 calories. While 1-ounce of both brown and golden flaxseeds contain 8 g fiber and 152 calories in soluble and insoluble form.
You can sprinkle a spoonful of flaxseeds into your yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothie. Adding it to a salad can give the low-fiber meal an extra power it needs.
4. Spinach and other greens
Other than fiber, green spinach also contains folate, magnesium, vitamins C and K. Brussels sprouts and broccoli are also rich in fibers which help adding bulk and weight to the stools and make them pass through the gut easily.
Only ½ cup of spinach contains 2.7g of fiber. To add this food into your diet, you should try mixing it to a quiche, pie, or soup. Small spinach leaves or tender greens can be included raw in salads or sandwiches for a fiber boost.
Brussels sprouts are also beneficial to help relieve constipation, with its just 5 sprouts serving 14% of the daily fiber requirements with only 41 calories. Brussels sprouts can be boiled, steamed, roasted, grilled, and eaten hot or cold.
While, broccoli includes 2.4g of fiber in just one cup (91 grams). You can cook broccoli and add into soups and stews. You can eat it as raw in salads or as a snack.
Pears are considered to be one of the best foods to help relieve the constipation because they contain good amount of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. A medium-sized pear contains approximately 6g of fiber along with 149 calories, and 1g protein to regulate the digestive system. They also contain high fructose and sorbitol content as compared to other fruits.
Pears are also the best choice for babies with constipation. Pear juice can also prevent constipation in infants. You can add pears in a wide variety of ways in your diet. Eating them just raw or cooked with cheese is a great idea. You can also include them in salads, savory dishes, and baked goods.
Berries are tasty and easy to eat for the sweetest constipation treatment. Just select your choice of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. They all contain good amount of fiber. Only a ½ cup of fresh strawberries provides 4g of fiber to help prevent constipation. While the same size of blackberries are loaded with 7.6g and raspberries with 8g of fiber.
Berries are not too high in calories; you can easily eat a big bowl of berries. Try them as a snack or with low-fat whipped cream as dessert. You can also toss them on your breakfast cereal and just mix them into pancakes.
What should you avoid eating or drinking during constipation?
To help relieve constipation, you should avoid food containing little or no fiber, like
- Prepared foods including some frozen meals and snack foods
- Processed foods like hot dogs or some microwavable dinners
- Fast food
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