Fruits That Help Bowel Movement

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Fruits that help in bowel movement can be very beneficial as they are composed with soluble dietary fibres. Fruits are a good source of soluble dietary fibres, which help to keep the body muscles healthy and at the same time work towards good digestive process. Fruits are healthy and helps in flushing out toxic elements from the body thereby keeping us fit.

 5 Healthy Foods That Help You Poop

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Constipation is a common problem affecting an estimated 20% of the population

Delayed colonic transit, or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system, is one of the most common causes. A low fiber diet, aging, and physical inactivity can also contribute to constipation.

While remedies for constipation typically include laxatives, stool softeners, and fiber supplements, incorporating a few regularity-boosting foods into your diet can be a safe and effective alternative.

1. Apples

Apples are a good source of fiber, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 3.6 grams of fiber

Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, aiding the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements

Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect.

In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements.

After 4 weeks, pectin sped transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation, and even improved digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut

Apples can be used as a healthy topping for foods like yogurt, crepes, and oatmeal, or enjoyed on their own as a travel-friendly and nutritious snack.

2. Prunes

Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason.

Four prunes (32 grams) contain 2 grams of fiber and about 7% of your daily requirements for vitamin A and potassium

Prunes also contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that your body poorly digests. It helps alleviate constipation by drawing water into the intestines, spurring a bowel movement

One review looked at four studies measuring the effectiveness of prunes on constipation. It found that prunes can help soften stool, improve consistency, and increase stool frequency

Another study showed that prunes made improvements in both stool frequency and consistency, compared with participants treated with psyllium fiber supplements

Prunes add a hint of sweetness when used to garnish salads and pilafs. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar can also be a quick and convenient way to get the same constipation-busting benefits found in whole prunes.

3. Kiwi

Kiwi is especially high in fiber, which makes it an excellent food to help promote regularity.

One medium kiwi (2.6 ounces or 69 grams) contains 2 grams of fiber

Kiwi has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping induce bowel movements.

One older study gave 33 constipated and 20 non-constipated participants kiwi twice daily over a 4-week period.

Kiwi helped speed up intestinal transit time, decrease laxative use, and improve symptoms of constipation

Try adding kiwi to your next smoothie or breakfast bowl for a tasty, high fiber treat.

4. Flax seeds

In addition to their wide variety of health benefits, flax seeds’ high fiber content and ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out.

Each 1-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of flax seeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber

One study showed that eating 10 grams of flax seed daily for 12 weeks improved constipation, as well as other digestive and weight conditions

Another study showed that flax seed may have dual effectiveness for both constipation and diarrhea

Flax seeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups, and shakes. Flaxseed oil can be used in salad dressings, dips, and sauces, too.

5. Pears

Pears can help alleviate constipation in a few ways.

First, they’re high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, meeting about 16% and 25% of men’s and women’s daily fiber needs, respectively

Pears are also high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent to pull water into the intestines and stimulate a bowel movement

Furthermore, pears contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed in limited amounts.

This is due to the way in which your body metabolizes fructose. Not only is it absorbed at a slower rate, but also large amounts of fructose can only be metabolized by your liver

Moreover, some individuals may have fructose malabsorption, a condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb fructose.

Like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines

Pears are incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. They can be included in salads, smoothies, and sandwiches or consumed raw for a sweet snack.

Which foods are good for constipation?

Constipation is the medical term for a reduction in bowel movements or difficulty passing stool. Eating certain foods can help to ease and prevent constipation.

A person preparing vegetables in the kitchen

This article explains what constipation is and outlines the symptoms of the condition. It also lists foods and drinks that may help alleviate it.

We also look at some of the alternative options and discuss when a person needs to see a doctor.

The article then outlines some frequently asked questions about constipation, including its causes and treatment.

What is constipation?

Constipation is the medical term for when a person has a reduction in bowel movements or difficulty passing stool.

Everyone’s bowel habits are different, but constipated people usually have fewer than three bowel movements per week.

Constipation is common. In the United States, around 16 in 100 adultsTrusted Source experience symptoms of constipation. The risk increases with age, with constipation affecting approximately 33 in 100 adults aged 60 or older.

Symptoms

Aside from having fewer than three bowel movements per week, people with constipation may also experience the following symptoms:

  • hard, dry, or lumpy stools
  • stools that look like small stones or marbles
  • pain and discomfort during bowel movements
  • a feeling of being unable to empty the bowels fully
  • a loss of appetite due to a continual sense of fullness
  • a slightly swollen abdomen

A person may also notice small streaks of bright red blood in the stools or on toilet paper after wiping.

7 foods and drinks that can ease constipation

People’s bowels respond to foods differently. However, the following may help to relieve constipation.

1. Olive and flaxseed oils

Olive and flaxseed oils have a mild laxative effect, helping to ease the flow of materials through the intestines.

These oils also contain compounds that improve digestion and have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2015 randomized controlled trial found that olive and flaxseed oils help relieve constipation in people undergoing hemodialysis — blood filtering.

In this study, the effects of both olive oil and flaxseed oil were comparable to those of mineral oil, which is a laxative that medical professionals sometimes recommend to treat constipation.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that may help to improve gut health and soften stools.

A 2017 systematic review of four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigated the effectiveness of probiotics as a treatment for constipation among elderly adults. Overall, the analysis suggested that probiotics improved constipation by 10–40% compared with a placebo.

The authors noted that most RCTs involved the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum. Further RCTs are necessary to determine the most effective probiotic strains, doses, and treatment durations.

Yogurt and kefir

Many dairy products, including yogurt and kefir, contain probiotics.

A 2017 studyTrusted Source investigated the effectiveness of kefir for preventing constipation in people with mental and physical disabilities. For 12 weeks, participants each received 2 grams (g) of freeze-dried or “lyophilized” kefir with their meals.

The study found that kefir significantly reduced constipation. However, while some individuals experienced complete constipation relief, others experienced no effect. The authors concluded that daily consumption of kefir could help to prevent constipation.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish containing probiotic bacteria that may help to boost gut health and alleviate constipation.

A 2016 study found that two tablespoons of homemade sauerkraut contain around the same amount of bacteria as probiotic supplements.

3. Vegetables and legumes

Vegetables are high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber adds bulk to stools, which helps to promote more regular bowel movements.

Broccoli

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a substance that may protect the gut and ease digestion.

Sulforaphane may also help to prevent the overgrowth of some intestinal microorganisms that can interfere with healthy digestion.

In a 2017 study, healthy people ate either 20 g of raw broccoli sprouts or 20 g of alfalfa sprouts every day for four weeks. The researchers found that the people who ate broccoli sprouts had fewer symptoms of constipation and quicker bowel movements.

4. Pulses

Most beans, lentils, and peas are very high in fiber.

A 2017 study found that 100 g of cooked pulses provides around 26% of the daily fiber intake that doctors recommend in the U.S.

A 100 g serving of pulses also contains substantial quantities of other nutrients that help to ease constipation, such as:

  • potassium
  • folate
  • zinc
  • vitamin B6

5. Fruits

Fruits are also rich in insoluble fiber, and many also have high water content. This makes fruit particularly effective at easing constipation. Below are some fruits that people can try for symptom relief.

High-fiber fruits

High-fiber fruits that may help to ease constipation include:

  • Kiwifruit: On average, 100 g of kiwifruit contains around 3 g of fiber. Kiwifruit also contains the enzyme actinidine, which alleviatesTrusted Source upper gastrointestinal symptoms such as:
    • abdominal discomfort
    • pain
    • indigestion
    • reflux
  • Apples and pears: These fruits contain high levels of water, which can help to ease digestion and prevent constipation. To get the most benefit from apples and pears, a person should eat them raw and whole, with the skin intact. These fruits contain several compounds that improve digestion, including:
    • fiber
    • sorbitol
    • fructose
  • Grapes: These fruits have a high skin-to-flesh ratio and are rich in fiber. They also contain a lot of water, which helps to add moisture to hard stools.
  • Blackberries and raspberries: These fruits are rich in fiber and water, which can ease constipation. A person can try eating a handful or two of raw, washed blackberries or raspberries a day.

Prunes

Aside from containing a lot of fiber, prunes also contain sorbitol and phenolic compounds that may have gastrointestinal benefits.

A 2018 study investigated the effect of prunes on constipation severity in women aged 60 years and older. The researchers divided the 60 participants into two groups of 30.

Both groups continued to consume their usual diet. However, the treatment group received 50 g of rehydrated prunes every morning for three weeks.

Unlike the control group, the treatment group showed a significant reduction in the severity of constipation symptoms. These changes began at the end of the first week and continued to the end of the third week.

The authors concluded that prunes could be an effective complementary treatment for reducing constipation severity in older women.

6. Whole wheat bread, cereals, and pasta

Whole wheat products are an excellent source of insoluble fiber. To get the most nutrients from whole wheat products, a person should eat them raw or lightly cooked.

Wheat bran

Wheat bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel. It is rich in insoluble fiber.

A 2017 study investigated the effectiveness of wheat bran as a treatment for constipation in infants and older children. Researchers assessed 51 children for seven months.

Over this period, researchers associated increases in bran intake with significant improvements in bowel habits. At the end of the study, 86% of children had improved bowel habits.

7. Liquids

Liquids add moisture to stools, making them softer and easier to pass. Below are some liquids that people can try for constipation.

Water

Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. When a person becomes dehydrated, their intestines cannot add enough water to stools. Dehydration results in hard, dry, lumpy stools that are difficult to pass.

Drinking plenty of water can help to ease or resolve the symptoms and avoid a person getting constipated.

10 Good Foods to Help Relieve Constipation

A diet that’s too low in fiber may be to blame for your sluggish digestive tract. Add these delicious high-fiber foods to your diet — and get going again.

cereal, strawberries, and popcorn

Chances are you’ve experienced constipation at one point or another. If the problem is more than occasional or includes severe pain or bleeding, it’s important to check in with your doctor, as these symptoms can be a sign of a more serious digestive disorder. But in most cases, constipation is just a sign that your diet needs more fiber and likely fluid as well.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended dietary allowances, women ages 31 to 50 should aim to eat at least 25 grams (g) of fiber daily, while men in that age range should eat about 38 g. And as we grow older, our fiber requirements drop: Women 51 and older need about 21 g daily, while men should get at least 30 g of fiber. Getting adequate fiber has longed been known to play an important role in maintaining weight and helping prevent obesity. And a growing body of research, such as that discussed in a review published in January 2013 in Advances in Nutrition, suggests dietary fiber plays a key role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which affects several other aspects of our health. 

If you need to increase your fiber, add it to your diet gradually to avoid bloating. You don’t want to suddenly go from eating 10 g of fiber a day to 25 g, says Charlene Prather, MD, MPH, a professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Also, when adding more fiber-filled foods to your diet, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to help the fiber flow properly through your digestive tract.

All products and services featured in this article are selected by Everyday Health’s commerce team and chosen for their potential to inspire and enable your wellness. Everyday Health may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase a featured product or service.

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Pick Berries for a Sweet Treat

strawberries

For a sweet constipation remedy, take your pick of luscious raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. “All are examples of fruits that have a good amount of fiber,” Dr. Prather says. A cup of fresh strawberries provides 3 g of fiber, while the same size serving of blackberries will provide 7.6 g, and raspberries 8 g. Berries are low in calories, so you can eat a big bowl of plain berries with low-fat whipped cream as dessert, toss them on your breakfast cereal, or mix them into pancakes.

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Pop Some Air-Popped Popcorn

popcorn

“Popcorn is a great low-calorie way to get more fiber in your diet,” Prather says. But if you pile on the salt and butter, you could undo some of its benefits. Go for air-popped popcorn or a healthy variety of microwave popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, and increasing the whole grains in your diet is an effective constipation remedy.

Try Beans for a Big Fiber Boost

beans

Cup for cup, beans and lentils provide twice as much fiber as most vegetables. A ½ cup serving of navy beans will provide 9.5 g of fiber, while a similar size serving of pinto beans provides 7.7 g. Lima, great northern, and kidney beans have a little less, but still pack a whopping 4.5 g or more of fiber per ½ cup. Beans are incredibly versatile, and can be tossed into salads, soups, casseroles, or pasta dishes.

Snack on Dried Fruit

dried apricots

Dried fruits, such as dates, figs, prunes, apricots, and raisins, are another great source of dietary fiber that acts as constipation relief.

“Prunes, in particular, are great because they not only are high in fiber, they also contain sorbitol, which is a natural laxative,” Prather says. Like fiber, sorbitol is a type of carbohydrate and has a molecular structure similar to sugar.

Since fiber isn’t digested, it retains water as it passes through your gut. This water softens your stool, helping to relieve constipation. Just remember that dried fruits are also packed with calories and may contain added sugar, so if you’re watching your waistline, be sure to keep an eye on your portions and choose varieties without added sugar.

Switch to Whole-Grain Bread

whole grain bread

If you want to keep constipation at bay, the bread you eat should be made from 100 percent whole grains. Whole-grain breads are low in fat and high in dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Check the label before buying: The first ingredient should say “whole” before the type of grain, such as “whole-wheat flour.” Don’t be fooled by “seven-grain” and “multigrain” breads, which are made from enriched flour. These products may contain several different grains, but there’s no guarantee that any of them are whole grains. Look for bread that contains at least 3 g of fiber per slice. Prather’s tip: Diet breads are often higher in fiber. “Bakers make diet bread light by putting more fiber in them,” she explains.

Start Your Day With a High-Fiber Cereal

a bowl of cereal

Years ago, high-fiber breakfast cereals tasted like cardboard, but not anymore. “There are so many wonderful high-fiber cereals now,” Prather says. Choose a cereal that has at least 6 g of fiber per serving. Or, if your favorite cereal doesn’t have a lot of fiber, add your own by sprinkling a few tablespoons of wheat bran, chia seeds, or ground flaxseed on top.

Bring on the Broccoli

broccoli

Like beans, broccoli is a superstar source of fiber. It’s also low in calories and a great source of nutrients. For the best fiber bang for your buck, eat your broccoli raw, because cooking it can reduce its fiber content. But if you prefer it cooked, try steaming, broiling, or baking your broccoli to avoid extra calories. You can toss it with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper for additional flavor.

Eat More Plums, Pears, and Apples

pears

Constipation can make you feel bloated, and eating more fruit can be a constipation remedy because it, too, is high in dietary fiber. Plums, pears, and apples are good choices because much of their fiber can be found in their edible skins — and they’re also high in pectin, a naturally occurring fiber. Both an unpeeled small pear and a medium apple with skin contain 4.4 g of fiber each.

Surround Yourself With Nuts

a bowl of walnuts

Nuts are yet another fiber powerhouse. Among the best are almonds, pecans, and walnuts. A 1-ounce serving of almonds provides 3.5 g of fiber, while a similar size serving of pistachios will provide 2.9 g of fiber, and pecans 2.7 g. Just be sure to watch how many you eat, because nuts are calorie-dense. Prather offers this trick for gauging how much to eat: Cup your hand and fill only the palm part.

Get the Skinny on Baked Potatoes

a potato

Good news, potato lovers: One medium baked potato, with skin, has 3.8 g of fiber. Even better, a baked sweet potato with skin provides 4.8 g of fiber. Boiling and mashing potatoes — with the skin — is another good way to serve them. You can skip the french fries, as they are high in unhealthy saturated fat. Instead, cut potatoes in the shape of fries, spray them with a little olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, and bake in the oven until crisp. They’ll taste like french fries without the added calories and unhealthy fat.

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