Fruits That Make You Constipated. There are many fruits which can make you constipated. But did you know that some frugivores (also called fruitarians) refer to eating a diet comprised of about 75% or more fruit? Fruits contain fiber which can induce a bowel movement, but those fiber-rich fruits can also add bulk to your stools and make them harder to pass. While many people think that they have a healthy diet, they are unaware that they are suffering from fruitarian constipation. Certain fruits have a laxative effect on humans.
List of foods that can cause constipation
Constipation is complex. Many factors — including diet, lifestyle, stress, and underlying health conditions — can contribute to it. In most healthy people, a single serving of a specific food is unlikely to cause constipation.
However, people with digestive or other health conditions may find that eating certain foods can trigger or worsen constipation.
This article will look at which foods can cause or worsen constipation and some other potential causes.
Can foods cause constipation?
In most healthy people, a single, specific food will not directly cause constipation. However, certain diets can contribute to it. People with chronic constipation may also find that specific foods impact their symptoms.
Occasional constipation is common, and most people will experience it at some point in life. However, 2–27%Trusted Source of the population experience chronic constipation, which is persistent.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), people are more likely to experience constipation if they:
- are pregnant
- frequently use laxatives
- eat a diet low in fiber
- do not drink enough fluids
- experience stress, anxiety, or depression
- are usually inactive
There are also many digestive conditions that can cause constipation, such as:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Also, some medications and supplements — including iron supplements, antacids, and opioids — can causeTrusted Source constipation as a side effect.
Foods that may cause or worsen constipation
The following sections will discuss some foods that may cause or worsen constipation.
Low fiber foods
Eating a diet that does not contain much fiber may contribute to constipation. A person may not be getting enough fiber if they eat a lot of meat, dairy products, and refined carbohydrates but do not eat many vegetables, fruits, or whole grains.
In this case, specific foods are not the cause of the constipation. Instead, it is an imbalance between different food groups. Eating more fiber and fewer low fiber foods may help.
It is worth noting that some people with digestive conditions or IBD find that eating high fiber foods can make their symptoms worse. If increasing fiber does not help, it may be worth talking with a doctor.
High FODMAP foods
People with IBS and some other digestive conditions may find that foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) worsen their symptoms.
This group of carbohydrates can ferment in the digestive system, causing symptoms such as gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Some examples of high FODMAP foods include:
- garlic, onions, and shallots
- legumes, such as beans, chickpeas, and soybeans
- grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye
- sweeteners, such as xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol
- specific fruits, such as apples, blackberries, and watermelon
People whose bodies have difficulty digesting these foods may feel better by eating a low FODMAP diet, which involves avoiding high FODMAP foods for a set period of time.
Bananas are part of the banana, rice, apple sauce, toast (BRAT) diet, which doctors previously recommended to treat diarrhea. This was dueTrusted Source to these foods’ ability to slow down bowel movements. As a result, these foods may not be a good option for people who have constipation.
Ripe bananas are also high FODMAP, which may mean that people with IBS have to avoid them. Unripe bananas are low FODMAP and may be easier for those with IBS to tolerate.
In some people, chronic constipation may signal a food allergy.
A 2011 study into constipation in children found that when the participants eliminated food allergens from their diet, their constipation improved. This was true for 28 out of 32 children. However, this was a small study with a low number of participants.
If a person’s body does not respond to taking laxatives or making other dietary changes, the person may wish to ask a doctor for allergy testing.
Some people believe that eggs can cause constipation. However, there is not much scientific evidence that supports this. They are a low fiber food, though, so eating a lot of them may contribute to constipation.
Egg allergies are also among the most common food allergies, which could explain why some people’s bodies have difficulty digesting them.
Foods that may help prevent constipation
For many people, eating more high fiber foods can help ease constipation. These foods include:
- most vegetables, including carrots, peas, broccoli, and okra
- fruits, including apples, pears, berries, avocados, and oranges
- whole grains, such as whole oats, buckwheat, and millet
- brown bread, pasta, and rice
The Institute of Medicine recommend consuming 19–38 gramsTrusted Source of fiber per day, depending on age, sex, and stage of life. For example, pregnant people and older adults may need more fiber than others to prevent constipation.
When increasing fiber intake, it is also important to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Also, it is best to increase fiber intake slowly to prevent a constipating effect.
Some specific foods that may help with constipation include:
- Kiwi fruit: According to a 2014 articleTrusted Source that looked at foods that help with constipation, green kiwi fruit increased the frequency and softness of bowel movements.
- Prunes: The 2014 study also notes that prunes can have a laxative effect. However, they are high FODMAP, which may make them unsuitable for people with IBS.
- Fruit juices: Unsweetened fruit juice may be especially helpful for young children, whose digestive systems are not yet matured. Apple, pear, or prune juices can be a source of fiber and help increase fluid intake.
7 Foods That Can Cause Constipation
Constipation is a common problem that’s generally defined as having less than three bowel movements per week
In fact, as many as 27% of adults experience it and its accompanying symptoms, such as bloating and gas. The older or more physically inactive you get, the more likely you are to experience it
Some foods can help relieve or reduce the risk of constipation, while others can make it worse.
This article examines 7 foods that can cause constipation.
Alcohol is frequently mentioned as a likely cause of constipation.
That’s because if you drink alcohol in large amounts, it can increase the amount of fluids lost through your urine, causing dehydration.
Poor hydration, either due to not drinking enough water or losing too much of it through urine, is often linked to an increased risk of constipation
Unfortunately, no studies could be found on the direct link between alcohol consumption and constipation. Moreover, some people report experiencing diarrhea, rather than constipation, after a night out drinking
It is possible that effects vary from person to person. Those wanting to counteract the potentially dehydrating and constipating effects of alcohol should try to offset each serving of alcohol with a glass of water or another non-alcoholic beverage.
Alcohol, especially when consumed in large amounts, can have a dehydrating effect that may increase the risk of constipation. Effects may vary from person to person, and more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
2. Gluten-containing foods
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale. Some people may experience constipation when they eat foods that contain gluten
Also, some people are intolerant to gluten. This is a condition known as gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks their gut, severely harming it. For this reason, individuals with this disease must follow a gluten-free diet
In most countries, an estimated 0.5–1% of people have celiac disease, but many may not be aware of it. Chronic constipation is one of the common symptoms. Avoiding gluten can help relieve and heal the gut
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are two other instances in which a person’s gut may react to wheat. Individuals with these medical conditions aren’t intolerant to gluten but appear to be sensitive to wheat and other grains.
If you suspect gluten is causing your constipation, make sure to speak to your healthcare professional to rule out celiac disease before cutting gluten from your diet.
This is important, as gluten needs to be in your diet for the test for celiac disease to work properly. If you’ve ruled out celiac disease, you may want to experiment with consuming different levels of gluten to evaluate its effects on you.
Individuals with celiac disease, NCGS, or IBS may be more likely to experience constipation as a result of consuming gluten or wheat.
3. Processed grains
Processed grains and their products, such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta, are lower in fiber and may be more constipating than whole grains.
That’s because the bran and germ parts of the grain are removed during processing. In particular, the bran contains fiber, a nutrient that adds bulk to stool and helps it move along.
Many studies have linked a higher fiber intake to a lower risk of constipation. In fact, a recent study reported a 1.8% lower likelihood of constipation for every additional gram of fiber consumed per day
Therefore, people experiencing constipation may benefit from gradually reducing their intake of processed grains and replacing them with whole grains.
Although extra fiber is beneficial for most people, some people experience the opposite effect. For them, extra fiber may worsen constipation, rather than relieve it
If you are constipated and already consuming a lot of fiber-rich whole grains, adding more fiber to your diet is unlikely to help. In some cases, it may even make the problem worse
If this is the case for you, try gradually reducing your daily intake of fiber to see if this provides some relief.
Processed grains and their products, such as white rice, white pasta, and white bread, contain less fiber than whole grains, making them generally more constipating. On the other hand, some people find that consuming less fiber helps relieve constipation.
4. Milk and dairy products
Dairy appears to be another common cause of constipation, at least for some people.
Infants, toddlers, and children appear particularly at risk, possibly due to a sensitivity to the proteins found in cow’s milk
A review of studies conducted over a 26-year period found that some children with chronic constipation experienced improvements when they stopped consuming cow’s milk
In a recent study, children aged 1–12 with chronic constipation drank cow’s milk for a period of time. The cow’s milk was then replaced by soy milk for a subsequent period of time.
Nine of the 13 children in the study experienced constipation relief when cow’s milk was replaced by soy milk
There are many anecdotal reports of similar experiences in adults. However, little scientific support could be found, since most studies examining these effects are focused on children, not older populations.
It’s worth noting that those who are lactose intolerant may experience diarrhea, rather than constipation, after consuming dairy.
Dairy products may cause constipation in some individuals. This effect is most common in those who are sensitive to the proteins found in cow’s milk.
5. Red meat
Red meat may worsen constipation for three main reasons.
First, it contains little fiber, which adds bulk to stools and helps them move along.
Second, red meat may also indirectly reduce a person’s total daily fiber intake by taking the place of higher-fiber options in the diet.
This is especially true if you fill up on a large portion of meat during a meal, reducing the amount of fiber-rich vegetables, legumes, and whole grains you can eat in the same sitting.
This scenario would lead to an overall lower daily fiber intake, potentially increasing the risk of constipation
Furthermore, unlike other types of meat, such as poultry and fish, red meat generally contains higher amounts of fat, and high-fat foods take longer for the body to digest. In some cases, this may increase the likelihood of constipation even further
Those with constipation may benefit from replacing the red meat in their diet with protein- and fiber-rich alternatives such as beans, lentils, and peas.
Red meat is generally high in fat and low in fiber, a nutrient combination that may increase the risk of constipation. If you let red meat replace fiber-rich foods in your diet, it can increase the risk even further.
6. Fried or fast foods
Eating large or frequent portions of fried or fast foods may also increase the risk of constipation.
That’s because these foods tend to be high in fat and low in fiber, a combination that can slow digestion in the same way that red meat does
Fast food snacks like chips, cookies, chocolate, and ice cream may also replace more fiber-rich snack options, such as fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet.
This can further increase the likelihood of constipation by reducing the total amount of fiber consumed per day
Interestingly, many people believe chocolate is one of the main causes of their constipation
Furthermore, fried and fast foods tend to contain large amounts of salt, which can lower the water content of stool, drying it up and making it harder to push through the body
This happens when you eat too much salt, as your body sucks up water from your intestines to help compensate for the extra salt in your bloodstream.
This is one way your body works to bring its salt concentration back to normal, but unfortunately, it can lead to constipation.
Fried and fast foods are low in fiber and high in fat and salt. These characteristics may slow digestion and increase the likelihood of constipation.
Persimmons are a popular fruit from Eastern Asia that may be constipating for some people.
Several varieties exist, but most can be categorized as either sweet or astringent.
In particular, astringent persimmons contain a large amount of tannins, a compound thought to reduce gut secretions and contractions, slowing down bowel movements
For this reason, people experiencing constipation should avoid consuming too many persimmons, especially astringent varieties.
Persimmons contain tannins, a type of compound that may promote constipation by slowing digestion. This may be particularly true for astringent varieties of the fruit.
A female exeperiences constipation pain after eating.Source: iStock
What is the definition of constipation
Constipation is a common problem where people find it difficult to have bowel movements. Constipation medically is defined as less than three bowel movements per week.
- If a person has less than one bowel movement per week, they are considered to have severe constipation.
- Symptoms of bloating, gas, or pain passing bowel movements may accompany constipation.
What foods cause constipation?
Just as there are many foods you can eat to help prevent or relieve your constipation, there are foods that can have a binding effect that can make your constipation worse. These are 15 foods to avoid when you are constipated.
Top 8 Foods for Constipation Relief
Here is a list of 8 foods to eat to help relieve constipation.
Unripe bananas can cause constipation; ripe bananas can help relieve constipation.Source: iStock
Bananas are a conundrum when it comes to constipation foods to avoid. It’s a matter of timing: Unripe bananas can cause constipation; ripe bananas can help relieve constipation.
- Unripe or under-ripe green bananas cause constipation because they still have a lot of starch, which can be hard for the body to digest.
- Bananas also contain dietary fiber (pectin), which draws water from the intestines toward the stool.
If someone is already dehydrated, this can make constipation worse.
Babies can also get constipated if they eat too many bananas. Moderation and a variety of fruits and veggies for your little one are the keys.
2. Chewing gum
It is not true that if you swallow a piece of gum it takes seven years to digest. However, it is true that if you swallow many pieces of gum in a short time, or if you swallow several pieces of gum with other indigestible foods such as seeds, this can create a mass that in rare cases, blocks the digestive tract. This digestive blockage can cause constipation.
Children under age 5 should not chew gum at all, and if you do chew gum, stick to just one or two pieces a day — and throw it out when you’re done chewing.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make a person have more bowel stools or in excess, diarrhea.Source: iStock
Like bananas, caffeine can go either way.
- Caffeine is a stimulant that can make a person have more bowel stools or in excess, diarrhea.
- If a person is dehydrated, the caffeine in coffee, black tea, colas, and chocolate can make constipation worse.
- Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
- Gluten doesn’t cause constipation in everyone but it can be problematic for some people who have sensitivity or allergies to it, or who have an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease.
- Those with celiac disease must avoid all gluten-containing products.
- If you think you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity and it may be causing your constipation, talk to your doctor.
- There are many gluten-free foods available to enjoy that can replace the bread and pasta that typically contain gluten.
White rice can lead to constipation because the husk, bran, and germ have been removed. That’s where all the fiber and nutrients are!Source: iStock
5. White rice
White rice can cause constipation. There is a big difference between white rice and brown rice.
- White rice can lead to constipation because the husk, bran, and germ have been removed. That’s where all the fiber and nutrients are!
- Brown rice can help relieve constipation because the husk, bran, and germ have not been removed.
- Brown rice is a good source of whole grains and contains about 3.5 g of fiber and 5 grams of protein in 1 cup.
- Persimmon is a fruit popular in Asia, though not as commonly known in the U.S.
- Sweet persimmons are usually OK, but more astringent persimmons contain high amounts of tannins, which can slow the movement of food through the intestines, and aggravate constipation.
- If you do eat persimmons, stick to the sweet variety.
Red meat is high in fat, so it takes longer for the digestive tract to process itSource: iStock
7. Red meat
There are plenty of reasons to avoid red meat. Red meat can make a person constipated, and it can cause constipation for several reasons. Red meat:
- Is high in fat, so it takes longer for the digestive tract to process it
- Has tough protein fibers that can be difficult for the stomach to digest
- Is rich in iron, which can be constipating
Limit intake of red meat to avoid constipation.
While whole-grain bread may help relieve constipation, white bread can cause or worsen it.
8. White bread
While whole-grain bread may help relieve constipation, white bread can cause or worsen it. This also applies to other products with a lot of white flour such as
- crackers, and
Unlike whole grains, white flour has no fiber. These foods are heavy on starch and can back you up. Remember to choose whole grains.