Constipation is not the most special topic, but it is common. For many women, occasionally constipation is a part of their lives. To be honest, constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, impacting about 42 million people in the United States. Most of the time, this condition does not last long, and just simple changes could help relieve the digestive problem and make your digestive system run well again.
In order to understand how to treat constipation using foods, you should know what causes it. When the food passes through the colon, the body will absorb the water from it along with things left form into stool. The muscles will move it through the colon to the rectum. If the movement slows down, then the colon will draw too much water in it. As a result, stools become dry and difficult to pass through, leading to constipation.
This problem usually occurs due to a high-fat and low-fiber diet, not drinking enough water, not taking enough fluids or lack of exercise. Some certain medications, pregnancy and laxative abuse could also result in constipation.
So, in order to relieve constipation, you should consume more fiber-rich foods and avoid high-fat foods. This article from the section Foods For Health of the site Nutrition Kit will expose to you a detailed list of best and worst foods for constipation relief in adults and children. Read thoroughly and plan your diet according to these tips.
I. 22 Best Foods For Constipation Relief In Adults And Children
If you want to have a sweet remedy for constipation, do not hesitate to pick a handful of raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. These fruits are good sources of fiber. Just a half-cup of strawberries can provide you with a 2 gr of fiber whilst the same serving of the blackberries gives 3.8gr and raspberries 4gr. Also, berries are low in calories, so you could consume a big bowl of the plain berries mixed with low-fat whipped cream for desserts.
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When it comes to best foods for constipation, legumes may be the first choice. This group of vegetables includes lentils, beans, and peas and is jam packed with a lot of health benefits. You can take advantage of a half cup of beans to take 6-15 gr of fiber. It depends on the kind of beans you resort. But, you should start slow and steadily increase the serving to help avoid gassy symptoms.
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The majority of us know that broccoli is filled with a lot of essential vitamins, protein and of course fiber. Thus, eating broccoli can be good for your digestive system. Add a cup of the cooked broccoli to your lunch or dinner for 5.5 gr of fiber.
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Another reason to take advantage of oatmeal is that it is one of the best foods for constipation. Oats contain a large amount of soluble fiber, helping dissolve water, soften the stool and make it easier to pass through your intestines. Also, they have insoluble fiber, increasing stool bulk and helping things move. According to health experts, it is recommended to include 3 servings of whole grains to your diet daily, particularly the “intact grains” such as brown rice and oats.
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The dried fruits like figs, dates, apricots, and raisins are good sources of dietary fiber. In particular, prunes are god because they are not only rich in fiber, but also have sorbitol – a natural laxative. Similar to fiber, sorbitol is a kind of carbohydrate and features with a molecular structure similar to sugar.
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Despite of having a lot of benefits, some fruits still have disadvantages and one of them is that they contain a lot of fructose that may cause gas. That is why health experts suggest lower-sugar, high-fiber fruits which do not cause a bloated tummy, such as kiwi. Just one cup of kiwi gives you 5gr of fiber. This fruit also double your vitamin C intake every day.
For an afternoon snack, you should skip potato chips and replace them with popcorn. Popcorn is one of good foods for constipation. It is an easy way to add more fiber to your meals. You can pop it yourself or you could buy the bags of this snack which are popping over the store shelves.
8. Whole Grain Bread
To relieve constipation, you should choose the breads made from whole grains which are high in dietary fiber and complex carbs, and low in fat. Before buying, you had better check the label. Choose the one with the term “whole” before the grain, like whole-wheat flour.
There is a reason why people say that “apples keep the doctor away”. Having nutrient- dense which can benefit the human body in different ways, apples are one of the most notable foods for constipation. It helps keep the digestive system functioning appropriately. Along with relieving and preventing constipation, apples are also known to alleviate bouts of diarrhea. It is because the fiber available in apples acts as a bulking agent firming up the stool. As a result, it helps move waste via the digestive system when you are constipated and makes the stool firm if you suffer from diarrhea.
In addition to being a fiber-rich food, apples can also fight off inflammation while boosting energy. Because inactivity or lack of physical activity is a major contributor to the condition of constipation, an enhancement of energy can keep you active, thereby releasing trapped stool from your digestive system.
Including lentils to your diet is an effective way to relieve and avoid constipation development. These foods are a good source of insoluble fiber, helping to prevent common digestive disorders like diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Not mention to fiber, lentils also contain a large amount of essential vitamins and minerals, promoting the whole body function well.
In fact, lentils are usually listed on the list of popular diet plans. It is a great side dish as they are a carbohydrate which is a known as a “Slow carb”, meaning that they help to regulate the blood sugar levels. Thus, add lentils to your diet plan if you are looking for healthy foods for constipation.
11. Nuts And Seeds
They are surprisingly great source of fiber. Popular choices of nuts include cashews and almonds while good options of sees include sunflower and pumpkin.
Many people say that nuts and seeds are claimed as the cause of constipation, but this is not true. As long as you take enough fluids along with these nuts and seeds, they can help you avoid constipation. But, it is worth noting that eating high-fiber foods described on this list without taking enough water could result in constipation. You can take advantage of nuts and seeds in the form of portable snack and salad topper.
Artichokes are rich in fiber, so adding them to your diet could boost the production of digestive fiber, combat inflammation, improve the gut bacteria, relieve symptoms of related-digestive disease and prevent constipation. According to some studies, artichoke leaf extract can help remove the symptoms of IBS, which is a common condition resulting in constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and upset tummy.
13. Brussels Sprouts
Among foods for constipation, Brussels sprouts are jam packed with fiber and water content, in addition to other essential vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for the digestive health.
In addition, Brussels sprouts can also improve the immune system and prevent cancer thanks to the anti-cancer properties. To take advantage of Brussels sprouts, you can place them in a baking dish or drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil.
14. Sweet Potatoes
Similar to other foods for constipation in this checklist, sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of fiber, helping to prevent constipation naturally. In one cup of sweet potatoes, in essence, contains 4gr of fiber – about 10% of the recommended daily intake of fiber. You can mash, bake or roast sweet potatoes to make use of this food for your constipation.
15. Brown Rice
If you have heard that rice may promote constipation, it is time to replace white rice with brown one in your diet. This is considered among best foods for constipation relief in adults. This unprocessed version of rice is considered a whole grain, helping to maintain your regularity and prevent bouts of constipation at the same time.
Just one cup of brown rice can give you 3.5 gr of fiber, which equals to 14% of recommended fiber intake every day. Meeting your requirement of fiber is a good way to treat or prevent the bloating and constipation.
Furthermore, apart from fiber content, brown rice also includes antioxidants, which are not found in white rice.
16. Aloe Vera
Most of us know about the benefit of aloe vera for sunburn, but relieving sunburns is not aloe vera is good for. The gel of this plant also brings a positive effect to your digestive tract. That is because it boosts the intestinal water content, and increase mucus secretion. Also, it has enzymes which can promote the process of breaking down the food. Those factors can contribute to healthy movements.
But, you should note that just picking up a bottle of aloe vera does not help you relieve constipation because these products are filled with chemicals which are toxic if ingested. Rather than, you should get a fresh aloe vera, and extract the gel from the leaves. However, do not over-use aloe vera gel because it may lead to stomach cramps as well as diarrhea if ingested in high doses.
This sounds strange when it comes to best foods for constipation, but it does work. Drinking coffee will help you pass your stools more easily. While there are not many studies on this topic, researchers still believe that drinking coffee could stimulate the movement of colonic muscles and accelerate peristalsis – the coordinated relaxation and contraction of intestinal muscles which trigger bowel movements – at a quick rate. But, choose decaffeinated coffee instead of caffeinated coffee because the later does not help the bowels.
18. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate seems to have endless benefits, but not many of us know about its ability of relieve constipation. This candy bar is a good source of magnesium, helping relax digestive tract muscles. In case you do not love chocolate much, you can take magnesium glycinate supplement in order to combat constipation naturally. Opt for organic dark chocolate having at least 72% of cocoa. Nonetheless, milk chocolate does not bring the same effect like its darker counterpart.
Being a veggie which is often neglected, radish in fact can provide you with a few benefits, including constipation relief. It can detoxify the human liver, promote peristalsis, and push the excess bile out, thereby giving healthy bowel movements. In radishes, there are a significant amount of indigestible carbs which can facilitate digestion, fix constipation, and water retention. Thus, add this veggie to your favorite salad to help prevent constipation in advance.
Yogurt, one of good foods for constipation, is an excellent source of probiotics, which can promote healthy digestion. Healthy digestion is a key factor in preventing constipation. However, not all types of yogurt are the same. You should avoid yogurts which contain too much sugar and choose for plain organic yogurts which are packed with lots of probiotics.
It is said that just one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds have 2 gr of fiber. Despite this is not a huge amount, the beauty of this food is that they are easy to add to your daily meals. Add it to your smoothies or top onto a salad. Yet, do not eat flaxseeds whole because the human body could not digest them, meaning that they will pass through your body without giving any nutrients. You should purchase them pre-ground or put them into a spice or coffee grinder to take their benefits.
22. Ripe Bananas
You may hear about the side effect of bananas – it is a cause of constipation, but it is not true. It causes constipation or not depending on how ripe they are. If you consume green bananas, chances are you will get trouble being constipated because they have a high starch and tannins content. Tannins constipate for some people, not everyone. That is why the so-called BRAT diet (Bananas, rice, applesauce, and tea) is useful for those with diarrhea. Instead, you should choose ripe bananas (yellow ones).
II. 13 Worst Foods For Constipation Relief In Adults And Children
After learning best foods for constipation, you may wonder what to avoid eating when being constipated, right? Do not worry, the last part of this entry will reveal to you worst foods for constipation. Take a look!
For those who are often constipated, you should reconsider your current diet because among your food choices there are some blocking you up. One of such foods is milk and cheese. Yet, you do not have to give up dairy products completely. Reduce your intake of it and change your choices if possible. Try yogurt with probiotics, one of best foods for constipation, because the live bacteria in this food is good for your digestive system. It will help relieve your constipation.
2. Unripe Bananas
As mentioned earlier, unripe bananas is one of worst foods for constipation. It sounds like a myth, but we explained above. Green bananas have a high amount of starch that makes constipation worse.
Red meats, in general, and beef, in particular, could make your digestive system work harder if you do not eat enough roughage along with it in the form of fresh veggies. It is because meats have no fiber content, it takes longer time to digest in your digestive system, particularly if being eaten with other low-fiber foods.
Those foods high in sugar such as cupcakes, cakes and cookies are low in fiber and high in fat. Whilst avoiding sugar is good for your overall health, the key is still moderation.
For some specific people, constipation may be caused by a regular intake of eggs because they are low in fiber and high in fat.
6. Ice Cream
Ice cream is considered one of tastiest foods but it may slow down your bowel movements. It is because the milk used in ice cream. If you think that your body cannot handle lactose well, then skip ice cream if you want to avoid constipation. You may use soy-based ice cream as an alternative or the ones that are made with coconut milk or almond milk.
7. Fried Foods
Fried, greasy foods like French fries, onion rings, doughnuts and heavily breaded good foods like fish may even slow down your bowel movements. These kinds of foods may bind you up. Similar to potato chips, deep-fried foods are so greasy and take a longer amount of time to digest. This could slow your bowel movements. Therefore, opt for other cooking methods such as broiling and steaming rather than frying.
Similar to caffeinated coffee, alcohol could make it hard for the human body to hang onto water. This could cause trouble to your bathroom visits till you drink enough water or take enough fluids. If you need to have a cocktail, then you can drink a glass of water concurrently to keep things smooth.
9. White Rice And Rice Noodles
White rice is one of main culprits of your constipation. The refining process of white rice and rice noodles has taken a significant amount of fiber out of it. The thing left is a starch mess which may block things up and cause constipation. Organic, natural rice are healthier in compared with white rice. In reality, organic rice is free from being refined, making it retain fiber content.
10. White Bread
The majority of people love bagel for their breakfast and white bread for a pack of sandwiches. Unfortunately, the white flour used in this bread is not friendly to your digestive health. The starch used in white breads could essentially get paste-like within the digestive tract, making starch stick to the intestinal walls and cause constipation problems. Once again, you should choose whole grain bread instead of white bread if you are looking for foods for constipation relief.
11. Semolina Pasta
This food is delightfully tasty, yet it also causes a digestive problem – constipation. During the refinement process, the fiber is pulled out from it and the starch is left. So, replace semolina pasta with whole grain pasta because they are still filled with fiber.
12. White Potatoes
French fries are one of examples of white potatoes, which is everyone’s favorite. Surprisingly, everything made from white potatoes is only starch and is not beneficial for the human body. You should make use of sweet potatoes instead because they are better for your digestive health and could also make good fries as well.
13. Processed Frozen Foods
Having very little, even no fiber, processed frozen foods are high in sodium, causing constipation. All types of refined and processed foods are associated with constipation. These foods include pasta, pizza, frozen dinners, corn chips and instant mashed potato.
To sum up, to relieve constipation, you should plan a diet which is high in fiber and low in fat based on the list of best and worst foods for constipation mentioned above. In addition to dietary tips, you should also pay more attention to your toilet habits. Do not ignore the urge to go to the bathroom as it could significantly increase your risk of having constipation. As going to the bathroom, warrant that you have enough privacy and time to pass stools comfortably. Also, do not forget to keep yourself active and mobile because it helps reduce your chance of suffering from constipation. Do at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
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