Constipation affects an estimated 20% of the population, there are many causes of constipation, but the most known causes are a delay in the colonic transit or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system. A low-fiber diet, old age, lack of fluids, medications, and physical inactivity can also be contributing factors to constipation. While most of us use over the counter remedies such as laxatives, stool softeners, and fiber supplements, incorporating a few regularity-boosting foods into your diet can be a safe and effective alternative.
Apples are a good soluble fiber source, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 4 grams of fiber. Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation
Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements. Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is
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 four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing
In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements. After four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing
After four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Apples can be used as a healthy topping for foods like yogurt and oatmeal or enjoyed on their own as a convenient and nutritious snack.
Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason.
Not only do they contain 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, but they’re also a good source of sorbitol.
Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is poorly digested in the body. 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 40 participants with constipation who were given prunes experienced improvements in both stool frequency and consistency, compared to 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.
Kiwifruit is especially high in fiber, which makes it an excellent food to help promote regularity.
Just one medium kiwi (2.7 ounces or 76 grams) contains 2.3 grams of fiber.
Kiwifruit has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping to induce a bowel movement.
One 2007 study gave 33 constipated and 20 non-constipated participants kiwifruit twice daily over a four-week period.
Kiwifruit helped to speed up intestinal transit time, decrease laxative use and improve symptoms of constipation.
Try adding kiwifruit to your next smoothie for a tasty, high-fiber treat.
In addition to their wide variety health benefits, flaxseeds’ high fiber content and ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out.
Each one-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
One animal study supplemented mice with flaxseeds for 14 days and
studied the effects of constipation.
Not only did flaxseeds speed up intestinal transit, but they also increased stool frequency and stool weight in both normal and constipated mice.
Another animal study showed that flaxseed can help treat both constipation and diarrhea. It was found to increase stool frequency and also have an anti-diarrheal effect, reducing diarrhea by up to 84%.
Flaxseeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups, and shakes.
Pears can help alleviate constipation in a few different ways.
First, they are high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, meeting up to 24% of your daily fiber needs.
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 fructose is metabolized in your body. 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 and sandwiches or consumed raw for a sweet snack.
Most varieties of beans are high in fiber and can help maintain regularity.
For example, black beans boast 7.5 grams of fiber per cooked half cup (86 grams), while a half cup (91 grams) of cooked navy beans contains 9.5 grams of fiber.
Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help ease constipation in different ways.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like consistency, softening stool and making it easier to pass.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract intact and adds bulk to stool.
One 2016 study showed that including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet can effectively reduce constipation while reducing bloating and gas.
If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your fiber intake, beans are a good way to do so. Add them to soups, dips or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.
Research shows that artichokes have a probiotic effect, which can be beneficial for gut health and maintain regularity.
Probiotics work by feeding the good bacteria found in your colon, helping to optimize your digestive health.
Consuming probiotics may also help relieve constipation.
A 2017 review looked at five studies including 199 participants and
concluded that probiotics increased stool frequency and improved
One study had 32 participants supplement with fiber extracted from globe artichokes. After three weeks, they found that concentrations of beneficial bacteria had increased, while amounts of harmful gut bacteria had decreased.
Another study looked at the effects of artichoke leaf extract on 208
participants with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Not only did artichokes reduce the incidence of IBS, but they also helped normalize bowel patterns.
Artichokes are available in both fresh and jarred form and can be used in everything from creamy dips to flavorful tarts.
Figs are an excellent way to get more fiber into your diet to encourage regular bowel movements.
Dried figs, especially, can provide a concentrated dose of fiber.
A half cup (75 grams) of dried figs contains 7.5 grams of fiber, which can fulfill up to 30% of your daily fiber needs.
A 2011 animal study looked at the effects of fig paste on constipation over a three-week period. It found that fig paste increased stool weight and reduced intestinal transit time, making it a natural remedy for constipation.
Another study in humans found that giving fig paste to 40 participants with constipation helped speed up colonic transit, improve stool consistency and alleviate abdominal discomfort.
While figs can be consumed on their own, they can also be boiled into a tasty jam that goes great with brochette, pizzas, and sandwiches.
9. Chia Seeds
Just one ounce (28 grams) of Chia Seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber.
In fact, chia seeds are made up of about 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the most fiber-dense foods available.
Specifically, chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens and moistens stool for easier passage.
One study found that chia seeds could absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, allowing for even easier elimination.
Try mixing chia seeds into smoothies, puddings, and yogurts to pack in a few extra grams of soluble fiber.
10. Oat Bran
Oat bran is the fiber-rich outer casing of the oat grain.
Though it’s not as widely consumed as rolled or old-fashioned oats, oat bran contains significantly more fiber.
Just one-third cup (31 grams) of oat bran contains about 5 grams of fiber, which is about 43% more than traditional oat varieties.
One study gave 15 elderly participants oat bran over a 12-week period and compared the results with a control group.
Not only was oat bran well tolerated, but it also helped participants maintain their body weight and decreased laxative use by 59%, making it a safe and effective natural remedy for constipation.
Though oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat grout, they vary in terms of texture and taste. Oat bran works especially well when used in recipes for granola mixes and bread.
Constipation is a common problem that affects most people at some point. Though medications and supplements can help, achieving regularity is possible for most people with a high-fiber, healthy diet and a few regularity-boosting foods. Including a few servings of these foods each day, along with plenty of water and regular physical activity, can help increase stool frequency, improve consistency and eliminate constipation once and for all.