You’ve most likely had constipation at some point in your life. If the condition persists or includes significant pain or bleeding, you should consult your doctor, since these symptoms may indicate a more serious digestive disorder. However, constipation is usually merely a warning that your diet needs more fiber and, most likely, more liquids. High-fiber foods for constipation
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that women between the ages of 31 and 50 consume at least 25 grams (g) of fiber per day, while males between the ages of 31 and 50 consume around 38 g. And as we become older, our fiber needs decrease: Women over the age of 51 require approximately 21 g of fiber per day., while men should get at least 30 g. Getting adequate fiber has long been known to play an important role in maintaining weight and helping prevent obesity.
If you need to increase your fiber consumption, do it gradually to avoid bloating. According to Charlene Prather, MD, MPH, a professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, “you don’t want to jump from consuming 10 g of fiber a day to 25 g.” Also, while adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet, drink enough of water to help the fiber pass through your digestive tract effectively.
Good sources of fiber are
- whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, and bran flake cereals
- legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas
- fruits, such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, and pears
- vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard greens
- nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and pecans
Plenty of water
To help the fiber work better, consume water and other liquids such as naturally sweetened fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups. This modification should soften and make your stools easier to pass.
Drinking plenty of water and other liquids is another way to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is beneficial to your overall health and can help you avoid constipation. Inquire with a healthcare practitioner about how much liquid you should drink each day based on your size, health, activity level, and location.
Prunes, or dried plums, are a popular natural cure for constipation.
They have high fiber content, with roughly 3 grams of fiber in every 1/4 cup (40-gram) serving. This amounts to 12% of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily fiber intake (RDI) (2 trusted sources, 3 trusted sources).
Prunes’ insoluble fiber, cellulose, increases the quantity of water in the stool, which might add heft. Meanwhile, in the colon, the soluble fiber in prunes is fermented to form short-chain fatty acids, which can further increase stool weight (4 Trusted Source).
Prunes also have sorbitol in them. This sugar alcohol is poorly absorbed by the body, causing water to be drawn into the colon and causing a laxative effect in some persons (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Finally, prunes contain phenolic chemicals that promote the growth of good intestinal microorganisms. This is thought to contribute to their laxative action (4Trusted Source).
In an older research of 40 persons with chronic constipation, eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of prunes per day significantly improved stool frequency and consistency when compared to psyllium, a form of dietary fiber (6Trusted Source).
You can enjoy prunes on your own or in salads, cereals, oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, and savory stews. High-fiber foods for constipation
Apples contain a lot of fiber. In reality, one medium apple (approximately 200 kilos) with the skin on has 4.8 grams of fiber, which is 19% of the RDI (7Trusted Source).
Although the majority of that fiber is insoluble, apples also contain soluble fiber, primarily in the form of a dietary fiber known as pectin (8Trusted Source).
Pectin is rapidly digested in the gut by bacteria into short-chain fatty acids, which can attract water into the colon, softening the stool and shortening the transit time (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
In one study of 80 persons with constipation, pectin expedited stool passage through the intestines alleviated constipation symptoms and raised the number of good bacteria in the gut (11Trusted Source).
A prior animal study discovered that rats on an apple fiber diet had increased stool frequency and weight despite being given morphine, which promotes constipation (12).
Apples are a simple method to increase your fiber intake and relieve constipation. You may eat them whole or cut them up to add to salads or baked items. Granny Smith apples are exceptionally high in fiber.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and mandarins are pleasant snacks that are also high in fiber.
One orange (approximately 154 grams) includes 3.7 grams of fiber, which accounts for 15% of the RDI. Meanwhile, one grapefruit (approximately 308 grams) has nearly 5 grams of fiber, which accounts for 20% of your daily requirements (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Citrus fruits, particularly their peels, are high in the soluble fiber pectin. Pectin has been shown to improve intestinal transit time and minimize constipation (11Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
Furthermore, citrus fruits contain a flavanol called naringenin, which may contribute to their anti-constipation properties (31Trusted Source).
Naringenin has been found in animal tests to stimulate fluid secretion into the colon, resulting in a laxative effect. However, further human research is required (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Eat citrus fruits fresh to receive the most fiber and vitamin C. Oranges and mandarins are great for snacking, while grapefruit is delicious in salads or sliced in half for breakfast.
Beans are a great source of fiber.
Beans and lentils have twice the fiber content of most vegetables. A 12-cup serving of navy beans contains 9.5 g of fiber, while a 12-cup dish of pinto beans contains 7.7 g. Lima, great northern, and kidney beans have a little less fiber, but still, carry 4.5 g or more of fiber every 12 cups. Beans are quite adaptable and can be added to salads, soups, casseroles, and pasta meals.
Dried Fruit as a Snack
Dried fruits like dates, figs, prunes, apricots, and raisins are also high in dietary fiber, which helps with constipation.
“Prunes are especially good since they are strong in fiber and also contain sorbitol, which is a natural laxative,” Prather explains. Sorbitol, like fiber, is a carbohydrate with a chemical structure comparable to sugar.
Because fiber is not digested, it retains water as it passes through your digestive tract. This water softens your stool, which aids in constipation relief. Just keep in mind that dried fruits are high in calories and may include added sugar, so if you’re managing your weight, limit your intake and choose kinds with no added sugar. High-fiber foods for constipation
Nuts are yet another fiber-rich food. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts are among the best. A 1-ounce portion of almonds contains 3.5 g of fiber, whereas a similar size serving of pistachios contains 2.9 g, and pecans contain 2.7 g. Just keep an eye on how many you eat because nuts are high in calories. Prather suggests the following method for determining how much to eat: Fill only the palm portion of your hand.