Food For Constipation

20 Nov 2020

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Repeat after us – constipation is common! It is one of those health issues that almost everybody has suffered from, at least once in their lifetime, yet everybody is embarrassed to talk about it. For most of us, it’s easier to suffer the discomfort than to deal with the embarrassment of having to discuss the issue and get a solution, isn’t it? However, it’s not the most healthy choice. It is a health issue and there’s nothing one should be ashamed of.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about constipation and what are some everyday foods that relieve constipation. Adding the suggested food items to your diet can help regulate your bowel movements and make you light throughout the day. 

Constipation: A Brief Overview

Constipation is a health condition that occurs when the frequency of the bowel movements decreases and stool becomes difficult to pass. It generally occurs due to changes in the diet or routine, or due to insufficient intake of fiber. It is normal if the condition lasts for a few days, but if it persists for more than three weeks, you feel severe pain or notice blood in your stool, it’s an indication that you need to seek expert consultation.  

Common causes of the condition include a low-fiber diet, not drinking enough water, not getting enough exercise, changes in the regular routine, excess consumption of milk or cheese, stress, resisting the urge to pass stool, etc. Some medications can also cause the condition, therefore, it is ideal to consult your healthcare provider. Health conditions such as diabetes, uremia, hypercalcemia, colorectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticular disease, etc can also cause constipation. 

Symptoms of constipation include having fewer than three bowel movements a week, dry or hard stool, difficult or painful bowel movements, stomach ache or cramps, bloating and nauseous feeling, etc [1].

Everyday Foods To Help Relieve Constipation

1. Yogurt

Yogurt is enriched with microorganisms called probiotics or good bacteria, that help in digestion and improve gut health. Yogurt is considered one of the most effective stool softener foods that can aid in relieving constipation. Studies suggest that consuming unflavored probiotic yogurt each morning for 2 weeks can shorten the time it takes stool to pass through the bowels in people with chronic constipation [2]. Setu’s Your Gut is a daily probiotic supplement that helps promote smooth gut function for optimal digestive balance, gut regularity and immunity.

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2. Pulses

Most beans, lentils, and pulses have a rich amount of fiber that promotes good digestion and reduces constipation. Researches show that 100 grams of cooked pulses provide nearly 26 percent of daily fiber intake. A diet rich in pulses can effectively lower the distress caused by constipation [3].

3. Bananas 

Bananas are, perhaps, the cheapest and most commonly found foods to help constipation. Fibers have long been claimed to cure constipation and bananas are full of them. Studies also suggest that bananas may also help stimulate probiotics that aid in improving gut health [4]. 

4. Berries 

Berries are not only little pockets of joy, they are full of nutrition and can provide several health benefits. The high amount of fiber found in berries such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries makes them the best foods for constipation. You can snack on them, add them to your salad, make a dessert, or a milkshake [5]. 

5. Apples

Apples are rich sources of fiber. One medium-sized apple contains nearly 4.4 grams of fiber, out of which, 2.8 grams is insoluble while 1.2 grams is soluble fiber, mostly in the form of the dietary fiber called pectin. In the gut, various bacteria rapidly ferment pectin to form certain acids that pull water into the colon which, in turn, softens the stool and makes the elimination easy [6]. 

 

6. Kiwifruit

Kiwi is another fiber-rich food item that can effectively help relieve constipation. A study done on 33 constipated patients found that eating two kiwifruits daily for four weeks resulted in more spontaneous bowel movements and a significant reduction in the usage of laxatives [7].

7. Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli are packed with fiber along with being great sources of vitamins C, K, and folate. They help add bulk and weight to stools making them easier to pass [8]. 

8. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain a rich amount of fiber that helps alleviate constipation easily and effectively. The amount of insoluble fiber is higher and it is present in the form of cellulose and lignin and has a sufficient amount of fiber pectin. Just like the leafy greens, the fiber present in sweet potatoes can add bulk and weight to stool for easy elimination [9]. 

9. Flaxseed

Tiny flaxseeds are packed with fiber and are extremely convenient to add to everyday foods to avoid constipation. They are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber that aid in digestive health. You can add them to your salads, oatmeals, smoothies or even much on them alone [10]. 

10. Wheat Bread And Whole Wheat Products

Whole wheat products are a rich source of insoluble fiber that speeds up the flow of unwanted materials through the intestines. These food items make for the best foods that relieve constipation. To sustain higher levels of nutrients in them, you must consume them uncooked or lightly cooked. 

Take Away Tips

Here are a few simple tips that can help you prevent and manage constipation:

  • Include a high amount of fiber-rich food in your diet
  • Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink eight ounces of water every day.
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Do not resist your urge to move bowels

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What foods will make you poop right away?

Foods rich in fiber will help you get rid of constipation and make your stools pass easily. Some easily available foods that are rich in this nutrient include green leafy vegetables, yogurt, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, etc. 

2. What helps constipation fast? 

In addition to fiber-rich foods, adequate consumption of water, regular exercise, a healthy diet, limited caffeine intake and a healthy lifestyle can help you relieve constipation distress. 

3. Are bananas good for constipation? 

Bananas are excellent foods to avoid constipation as they are packed with fiber and also help in stimulating probiotics that aid in digestion and maintaining gut health. In addition, they are cheap and easily available. 

4. Should I keep eating if constipated? 

If you feel constipation you must increase the intake of fiber-rich foods in your diet. Seek professional consultation if your constipation lasts more than three weeks.

References: 

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4059-constipation
  2. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-75
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5914352/
  4. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173944/nutrients
  5. https://www.medicinenet.com/top_foods_for_constipation_relief/article.htm
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291444/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4611199/
  8. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2627/2
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20509611/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353840/

Recommended Reads: 

All About Probiotics, The Gut Health Pro

How To Improve Your Gut Flora In A Day

Yogurt (Dahi) vs. YourGut

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Antibiotics screwed up my gut, now what?

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