Causes and Symptoms
Constipation can be because of several reasons such as dehydration, certain medications, illness or poor diet. People who are constipated might have the following symptoms hard, dry, or lumpy stools, pain, and discomfort during bowel movements, a feeling of being not able to empty the bowels fully, a loss of appetite due to a continual sense of fullness, and a slightly swollen belly.
Foods that Can Ease Constipation
Fortunately, there are certain foods that can help to ease constipation and keep you regular.
Prunes contain high amounts of fiber due to which they are widely considered as one of the best natural remedies for constipation. 1 serving of Prunes (~28 grams) has about 2 grams of fiber which is approximately 8% of the recommended daily intake according to the American Heart Association. The insoluble fiber in Prunes increase the amount of water in the stool and the soluble fiber helps to increase the weight of the stool. Prunes also contain phenolic compounds and sorbitol that might improve digestive health.
Apples are a rich source of fiber. One medium-sized apple (~182 grams) with skin contains about 4.4 grams of fiber which is approximately 17% of the recommended daily intake. Apples also contain high levels of water, which can help to ease digestion and relieve constipation and it also contains sorbitol to increase bowel movements.
Coffee helps in increasing the muscle contractions in the colon which aids in improving digestive health. Coffee has been shown to increase the release of gastrin which can stimulate colonic spike and motor activity.
Oatmeal is a great way to get the digestive tract moving. Oats contain large amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Half-a-cup of dry oats contains about 2 grams each of soluble and insoluble fiber. This fiber combo helps to bulk up the stool, soften it and make it easier to pass.
Flaxseeds have natural laxative effects which make them a great option for improving digestive health. Flaxseeds contain a large amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber. 10 grams of flaxseeds contain 2.8 grams of fiber which makes them meet 11% of your daily intake.
Berries are extremely rich in antioxidants and also full of essential nutrients. Berries are abundant in fiber and water. Half a cup of both blackberries and raspberries contain about 4 grams of fiber each and half a cup of strawberries offer half the amount.
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack option and an easy way to add more fiber to your diet. 3 cups of air-popped popcorn contain about 3 grams of fiber.
8. Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato contains a good amount of fiber to help ease constipation. One medium sized sweet potato (~112 grams) contains 3.8 gram of fiber which meets 15% of your daily recommended intake. Sweet potato contains more amount of insoluble fiber as compared to soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps in improving bowel movements by adding weight and bulk to the stool.
Beans are an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fiber and also they are rich in vitamins and nutrients. The soluble fiber helps to soften the stool and the insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool. They are mild laxatives that help in stimulating digestion.
Pears are one of the most fibrous fruits and are great in improving digestive health. A medium sized pear (~170 grams) contains about 5.5 gram of fiber, which meets 22 % of your recommended daily intake. Along with fiber pears also contain sorbitol which makes them a natural laxative. Pears also contain high levels of water, which can help to ease digestion and relieve constipation.
11. Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds is another high-fiber food which helps in relieving from constipation. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (~28 grams) contains 10.5 grams of fiber meeting 42% of your daily needs. Chia contains a large amount of insoluble fiber which helps to add bulk and weight to the stool.
Yogurt can help increase the stool frequency as it a great probiotic and is very essential to maintain the digestive health. Yogurt helps to improve the gut health and soften the stools.
There are a large number of fruits, vegetables, seeds, pulses that can help relieve constipation. A diet rich in fiber helps add bulk and weight to stools, soften them and promote bowel movements. In addition, it’s very important to drink plenty of water. Regular exercise is another crucial factor in improving digestive health and alleviating symptoms of constipation and developing a healthy bowel habit. If you have constipation, try to slowly introduce some of the foods above to your diet, as well as drink enough water and do some physical activity, to improve your bowel regularity, stool consistency, and overall comfort.