Food With Fiber Constipation

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Food With Fiber Constipation. Constipation is an uncomfortable problem that can be quite unpleasant as you cannot defecate properly. This can cause health hazards and other serious issues too. That’s why you need to find out about the causes, signs, treatment and prevention of constipation along with natural cures for constipation .

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Food With Fiber Constipation

1. Prunes

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Dried plums, known as prunes, are widely used as a natural remedy for constipation.

They contain high amounts of fiber, with nearly 3 grams of fiber per 1/4-cup (40-gram) serving. This is 12% of the American Heart Association’s Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of fiber.

The insoluble fiber in prunes, known as cellulose, increases the amount of water in the stool, which can add bulk. Meanwhile, the soluble fiber in prunes is fermented in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids, which also can increase stool weight.

In addition, prunes contain sorbitol. This sugar alcohol is not absorbed well by the body, causing water to be pulled into the colon and leading to a laxative effect in a small number of people.

Finally, prunes also contain phenolic compounds that stimulate beneficial gut bacteria. This has been hypothesized to contribute to their laxative effect.

One older study in 40 people with chronic constipation found that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of prunes per day significantly improved stool frequency and consistency compared with treatment with psyllium, a type of dietary fiber.

You can enjoy prunes on their own or in salads, cereals, oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, and savory stews.

SUMMARY

Prunes are high in fiber, sorbitol, and gut-healthy phenolic compounds, all of which can help treat constipation.

2. Apples

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Apples are rich in fiber. In fact, one medium apple with the skin on (about 200 grams) contains 4.8 grams of fiber, which is 19% of the RDI.

Although most of that fiber is insoluble, apples also contain soluble fiber, which is mostly in the form of a dietary fiber called pectin.

In the gut, pectin is rapidly fermented by bacteria to form short-chain fatty acids, which can pull water into the colon, softening the stool and decreasing gut transit time.

One study in 80 people with constipation found that pectin accelerated stool movement through the intestines, improved symptoms of constipation, and increased the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Another older animal study found that rats fed a diet of apple fiber had increased stool frequency and weight, despite being given morphine, which causes constipation.

Apples are an easy way to boost the fiber content of your diet and alleviate constipation. You can eat them whole on their own or slice them up to add to salads or baked goods. Granny Smith apples have a particularly high fiber content.

SUMMARY

Apples contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can soften the stool and promote its movement through the digestive tract.

3. Pears

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Pears are another fruit rich in fiber, with about 5.5 grams of fiber in a medium-sized fruit (about 178 grams). That’s 22% of the RDI for fiber.

Alongside the fiber benefits, pears are particularly high in fructose and sorbitol compared with other fruits.

Fructose is a type of sugar that some people absorb poorly. This means that some of it ends up in the colon, where it pulls in water by osmosis, stimulating a bowel movement.

Pears also contain the sugar alcohol sorbitol. Like fructose, sorbitol is not well absorbed by the body and acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines.

You can include pears in your diet in a wide variety of ways. Eat them raw or cooked, with cheese, or include them in salads, savory dishes, and baked goods.

SUMMARY

Pears are rich in fiber and contain natural laxatives, such as fructose and sorbitol.

4. Kiwi

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One kiwi (about 75 grams) contains about 2.3 grams of fiber, which is 9% of the RDI.

In one study, 19 healthy adults consumed a kiwi-derived supplement for 28 days. Researchers found doing so led to significant increases in the number of daily bowel movements, compared with a control group

Another study found that eating two kiwis daily for 2 weeks was associated with more bowel movements and looser stools in 11 healthy adults.

Furthermore, a 2010 study gave 54 people with irritable bowel syndrome two kiwis per day for 4 weeks. At the end of the study, participants reported increased frequencies of bowel movements and faster colonic transit times.

Kiwis can be eaten raw. Just peel them or cut them in half and scoop out the green flesh and seeds. They make a great addition to fruit salads and can be added to smoothies for a fiber boost.

SUMMARY

Kiwis are a good source of fiber and contain actinidin, an enzyme that may improve gut motility and reduce constipation.

5. Figs

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Figs are a great way to boost your fiber intake and promote healthy bowel habits.

One medium raw fig (about 50 grams) contains 1.5 grams of fiber. Moreover, just half a cup (80 grams) of dried figs contains 7.9 grams of fiber, which is almost 32% of the RDI.

An older study in dogs investigated the effects of fig paste on constipation over a 3-week period. It found that fig paste increased stool weight and reduced intestinal transit time.

Another study in 40 people with constipation found that taking 10.6 ounces (300 grams) of fig paste per day for 16 weeks helped speed colonic transit, improve stool consistency, and alleviate stomach discomfort .

Figs are a delicious snack on their own and also pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried and go well with cheese and gamey meats, as well as on pizza, in baked goods, and in salads.

SUMMARY

Figs can help increase your intake of fiber and contain ficin, an enzyme that may promote regularity.

6. Citrus fruits

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Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and mandarins are a refreshing snack and good source of fiber.

For example, one orange (about 154 grams) contains 3.7 grams of fiber, which is 15% of the RDI. Meanwhile, one grapefruit (about 308 grams) contains almost 5 grams of fiber, meeting 20% of your daily needs.

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Dietary Fiber for Constipation

Can food be medicine? Sometimes, yes. It’s becoming clear in recent years that what you eat can be highly effective in preventing or reversing some health problems, especially chronic constipation.

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. There are some serious medical conditions that can cause chronic constipation. Make sure you see your doctor for a medical evaluation. If you are healthy and looking for safe and effective long-term relief for chronic constipation, you might find help on your grocer’s shelves. Hundreds of foods and plant-based fiber products are available to relieve constipation — naturally.

What is fiber?
Dietary fiber refers to the edible parts of plants or carbohydrates that cannot be digested. Fiber is in all plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. You can also find a form of fiber called chitin in the shells of crustaceans such as crab, lobster, and shrimp.

Is all fiber the same?
No, some fibers are soluble in water and others are insoluble. Soluble fiber slows digestion and helps you absorb nutrients from food. Insoluble fiber draws water into and adds bulk to your stool, helping the stool pass more quickly through the intestines.

Most plant foods contain some of each kind of fiber. Foods containing high levels of soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, oat bran, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, and potatoes. Foods high in insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, cereals, seeds, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables.

Which type of fiber is best to ease constipation?
Go for whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas. Cereal fibers generally have cell walls that resist digestion and retain water within the cellular structures. Wheat bran can be highly effective as a natural laxative.

What other foods are high in fiber?
Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes such as beans and lentils. The fiber found in citrus fruits and legumes stimulates the growth of colonic flora, which increases the stool weight and the amount of bacteria in the stool. Encouraging the growth of certain bacteria in the colon may help promote a healthy intestine.

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How much fiber do we need daily?
The average American gets about 15 grams of fiber daily, much less than we need, according to the American Dietetic Association. Women younger than 51 should aim for 25 grams of fiber daily. Men younger than 51 should aim for 38 grams of fiber daily. Women 51 and older should get 21 grams of fiber daily. Men 51 and older should get 30 grams daily. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends eating at least nine servings (2 cups) of fiber-filled fruits and vegetables each day, including apples, oranges, broccoli, berries, pears, peas, figs, carrots, and beans. Some people get stomach cramps and gas when they increase their intake of fiber. Change your diet gradually and increase fluids to reduce discomfort.

Aren’t prunes a natural laxative?
Often called “Nature’s Remedy,” prunes contain sorbitol, which has a natural, laxative effect in the body. Dried plums (yes, prunes!) are also high in disease-fighting antioxidants and have both insoluble and soluble fiber. One cup of pitted, uncooked prunes contains 12 grams of fiber. Three dried plums have 3.9 grams of fiber.

What if whole-grain fiber and fruits don’t help constipation?
Then try foods that contain psyllium seed husk, bran, and methylcellulose, or try fiber supplements. These natural products increase stool weight and have a laxative effect. Be sure to drink a lot of water when taking any of these products, as they can clog up the intestines and cause constipation. Fiber must have water in order to sweep the colon and move the stool out of your body.

When should you use a psyllium powder?
It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to make a difference, then opt for fiber supplements. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. With psyllium powder, mix the powder in a glass of water one to three times daily. Be sure to drink enough water along with this psyllium powder drink. The drink may cause you to feel bloated until you get used to the fiber.

Foods for Constipation

The Best Foods to Help You Poop (and Those to Avoid)

When you have constipation, foods that make you poop can be extremely helpful in getting your digestive system moving normally again. Whether you’re backed up after surgery, during pregnancy, or for some other reason, fiber-rich foods are the foods you should look for. The same applies when treating children, toddlers, and babies who eat solid foods.

These include fiber-rich foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Herbal teas

This article explains how plant-based fiber helps ease constipation and why certain foods help keep you regular while others foods back you up.

10 foods to ease constipation
Verywell / Laura Porter
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Why Fiber-Rich Foods Help Constipation

The best thing you can do to ease constipation is to slowly increase your intake of dietary fiber.1 Fiber is the part of plant material that you cannot digest.

Fiber helps you poop because it adds bulk to stools and softens stools as well. There are two types found in plant-based foods:

  • Soluble fiber is the type that absorbs water. It binds with fatty acids, forming a gel-like substance that keeps stools soft.
  • Insoluble fiber is the type that does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk and moisture to the stool.

Both types are good foods for constipation.

However, eating too much fiber too soon can be hard on your digestive system, causing gas and bloating.

When first starting, take it slow. With each day, increase your fiber intake as tolerated. If there is excessive gas or bloating, ease back a bit.

When treating constipation, many experts recommend that you increase your fiber intake by 20 to 25 grams per day.1 That is equivalent to three bananas, 3-1/2 cups of fresh spinach, 1-1/3 cup of cooked beans, or 2-1/2 cups of fresh berries.

Best Fruits for Constipation

Fruits are a great food for constipation. Most are an excellent source of dietary fiber and also provide a host of nutritional benefits.

Both fresh and dried options are good. Some, like prunes, contain cellulose that not only increases the amount of water in stools but also promotes fermentation that adds to the stool weight.2

Others, like apples and pears, contain pectin that also increases water volumes while speeding the movement of stools through the intestine.2

Here are some fresh fruits that can ease constipation:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Here are some dried fruits that can also help:

  • Dates
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

Best Vegetables for Constipation

Vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, are among the best foods to help ease constipation.3 In addition to delivering a healthy dose of insoluble fiber, vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential to your overall health.2

With that said, some people find certain vegetables hard to digest. You may find that your body responds better to cooked vegetables rather than eating them raw.

The vegetables you should turn to if you have constipation include:

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Red potatoes (with skin)
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Zucchini

Best Whole Grains for Constipation

Switching from refined grains such as white flour and white rice to whole grains can make a big difference in your bowel movements.4

When grains are refined, most of the fiber is removed. This does little to help ease constipation and may instead make things worse.

Whole grains are not only better for your digestion but can also improve your heart health by lowering your cholesterol.5

Research shows that eating just 25 grams of whole grains per day reduces the risk of heart disease by about 15%.6

Here are some good whole grain options if you have constipation:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Whole wheat

Best Nuts and Seeds for Constipation

Nuts and seeds are packed with fiber and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that help promote heart and eye health.2

Because nuts and seeds are fiber-dense and contain healthy fats, they are easy to add to your diet if you have constipation. Some can be sprinkled on salads or hot cereals. Others can be toasted and blended into smoothies.

Nuts that are especially high in fiber include:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Among the seeds that can also ease constipation are:

  • Black sesame seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Pumpkin seeds

Best Beans and Legumes for Constipation

Beans and legumes offer a great mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. They are also an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and many other important vitamins and minerals.7

Even so, beans and legumes have the potential to cause gas and bloating. This is caused in part by a complex sugar known as raffinose which produces hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane gas as it is broken down in the digestive tract.8

As nutritious and beneficial as beans and legumes are, start slowly and increase your intake gradually to avoid these common side effects.

Among the beans and legumes that can help ease constipation are:

  • Baked beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans

Best Herbal Teas for Constipation

One way to help ease constipation is to drink a soothing cup of hot tea. Hot liquids on their own are thought to promote bowel movements by encouraging peristalsis (intestinal contractions).9

There are also two herbals teas, both of which have a licorice-like flavor, that are said to have significant laxative effects:10

  • Anise tea
  • Fennel tea

A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that people given extracts of fennel or anise had an average colonic transit time (the time it takes for food to move through the digestive tract) of 15.7 hours. Those given a sham extract had a colonic transit time of 42.3 hours.10

Water

As important as fiber-rich foods are in treating constipation, you also need to ensure that you drink plenty of water to maintain ample hydration. If you are dehydrated, less water can be pulled into the digestive tract to help keep stools soft.

Most adults do not drink anywhere near enough water per day. By upping your fluid intake, you’ll not only be better able to treat acute bouts of constipation but remain regular over the long term.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends drinking 11 cups of water per day for adult females and 15 cups per day for adult males.11

Foods to Avoid If You Have Constipation

In the same way that there are foods that help ease constipation, there are foods that can promote constipation and make things worse. These include foods with little or no fiber and those made with refined wheat, saturated fats, or trans fat.3

Among the food to avoid if you have constipation are:3

  • Baked goods, such as cupcakes and cookies
  • Cheese
  • Fast foods, such as burgers, tacos, and pizzas
  • Fried foods, including french fries and fried chicken
  • Processed meat, like hotdogs, sausages, and salami
  • Red meat
  • Snack food, such as chips and crackers
  • White bread

Alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning that it promotes urination that can lead to dehydration. Because dehydration is a contributing factor to constipation, it is a good idea to avoid alcoholic beverages of any sort if you have constipation.12

Summary

If you have constipation, make an effort to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and herbal teas. Increase your intake gradually, especially with beans and legumes, to avoid gas and bloating.

You should also avoid certain foods that promote constipation, such as fast foods, processed foods, packaged foods, fried foods, and alcohol.

A Word From Verywell

Sometimes, changes in diet are not enough to relieve constipation. In such cases, speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that may provide short-term relief of your symptoms.

OTC options are generally not intended for ongoing use and can either be habit-forming or lose their effectiveness over time.

If your constipation is persistent despite appropriate treatment, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a gastroenterologist who specializes in diseases and disorders of the digestive tract.

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