When you are experiencing constipation, you certainly want to eat foods that will get your system moving. The key element in foods that are best for constipation is fiber, and you will find that in foods that come from plants. Here are some foods that can help relieve constipation and keep you regular.
Dried plums, known as prunes, are widely used as a natural remedy for constipation. The nutrient is what increases the bulk of your stool so it can move along on its merry way. One prune has about 1 gram of fiber. The insoluble fiber in prunes, known as cellulose, increases the amount of water in the stool, which adds bulk. Meanwhile, the soluble fiber in prunes is fermented in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids, which also increase stool weight. Finally, prunes also contain phenolic compounds that stimulate beneficial gut bacteria. This has been hypothesized to contribute to their laxative effect.
Apples are rich in fiber. Apples contain 4.4 grams of fiber per medium apple, so they’re a great, high-fiber fruit.However, don’t peel the apples before eating them. The skin on apples, that’s where all that bowel-boosting fiber is. Approximately 2.8 grams of that fiber is insoluble, while 1.2 grams is soluble fiber, mostly in the form of the dietary fiber called pectin. One study in 80 people with constipation found that pectin can accelerate the movement of the stool through the intestines, improve symptoms of constipation and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Apples are an easy way to boost the fiber content of your diet and alleviate constipation.
You can get about 2.3 grams of fiber per kiwifruit. In one study, 38 people over age 60 were given one kiwifruit per 30 kg of body weight per day. This resulted in an increased frequency and ease of defecation. It also softened and increased the bulk of stools. Another study in people with constipation found that eating two kiwifruits daily for four weeks resulted in more spontaneous bowel movements, a reduction in laxative use and overall increased satisfaction with bowel habits.
The fruit with the highest amount of fiber per serving are raspberries. Coming in at 8 grams per cup, they are a great food if you’re having tummy trouble. Plus, they taste great and are super versatile. Eat them plain with some other berries, like blueberries and blackberries, which also have fiber, or add to yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, desserts, smoothies, and more.
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and mandarins are a refreshing snack and a good source of fiber. Citrus fruits are also rich in the soluble fiber pectin, especially in the peel. Pectin can accelerate colonic transit time and reduce constipation. In addition, citrus fruits contain a flavanol called naringenin, which may contribute to the positive effects of citrus fruits on constipation.
Chia seeds are one of the most fiber-dense foods available. Chia seeds are all the rage right now,especially since more people are starting to learn about their heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory benefits. The fiber in chia is made up of 85% insoluble fiber and 15% soluble.When chia comes into contact with water, it forms a gel. In the gut this can help soften stools and make them easier to pass. Chia is very versatile and can be added into many different foods, considerably boosting fiber content without too much effort.
Flaxseeds have been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for constipation, thanks to their natural laxative effects. Just a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds packs in 2 grams of fiber. That may sound like a little, but the beauty of flaxseeds is that they’re so easy to throw into everyday eats for a fiber punch. In addition to numerous other health benefits, flaxseeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, making them an ideal digestive aid. The researchers suggested that insoluble fiber acts like a sponge in the large intestine, retaining water, increasing bulk and softening the stool. Meanwhile, the soluble fiber promotes bacterial growth, adding mass to the stool.
Oats offers up the best of both fiber worlds: a half-cup of dry oats contains 2 grams of insoluble and 2 grams of soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines, while soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. Together, the two types of fiber work together to bulk up stool, soften it, and make it easier to pass.
Lentils are a great source of fiber with nearly 16 grams per cup. Keep some in your cupboard and use for easy weeknight meals. You can whip up lentil burgers, add to salads or grain bowls, or enjoy as a side dish with meat or fish. It’s an excellent plant-based protein. Pulses contain a mix of both insoluble and soluble fiber. This means they can alleviate constipation by adding bulk and weight to stools, as well as soften them to facilitate passage.
Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of fiber to help alleviate constipation. Sweet potatoes contain mostly insoluble fiber in the form of cellulose and lignin. They also contain the soluble fiber pectin. Insoluble fiber can aid bowel movements by adding bulk and weight to stools.
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