Constipation can be something of an embarrassing topic, but it’s something that many people have to deal with at some point in their lives. Luckily, with some alterations to your diet, the condition can be managed relatively easily.
Read on to learn about five of the most effective constipation-relieving foods around.
The easiest way to have oatmeal is to mix it in a bowl with fruit and berries, but you can also buy instant oatmeal that doesn’t need water added. The soluble fiber in oats tends to absorb water and softens stools, helping them pass more easily.
For people fighting constipation, simple dietary changes can treat the condition. Oats are a great place to start because they contain soluble fiber that helps relieve constipation without any side effects or laxative properties.
Keep an eye out for the unsweetened or unflavored varieties, as they often have the lowest sugar content. You can even try adding some cinnamon if you want to get your taste buds going too.
Other fiber-rich foods
If oats are not your style, consider these other food ideas: bananas (make sure they’re ripe), avocados, almonds, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes (which we all know about), black beans, and figs.
Figs contain natural sugars called fructans that help move things along, be sure though, to eat them in moderation, since too much fructose can be bad for you. These foods should help provide relief and keep your digestive system moving smoothly.
Ever wondered why you sometimes have to rush to the bathroom after eating apples? That is because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps maintain bowel health and regular movement of waste through your digestive tract.
Try adding sliced apples to your next yogurt or oatmeal bowl. Other good sources of pectin include citrus fruits, berries, beans, and peas. Studies suggest that consuming foods abundant in dietary fiber can help decrease constipation.
Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plant-based food, aiding in digestion by keeping things moving along. Fibers are also vital for effective weight management since they can be satiating without providing any calories.
Having a few tablespoons of peanut butter every day can help relieve constipation. Consuming about two tablespoons per day is enough to see results in two to three days. To get rid of constipation faster, you can add a little honey or maple syrup to your peanut butter—they both help with digestion and will get things moving more quickly.
Mixed nuts are also beneficial, as they contain magnesium and calcium that aid in bowel movements. Try roasted cashews for a sweet treat, or raw almonds for some crunch.
Grapes and pears
Grapes are an excellent food for your digestive system. Grapes contain a natural diuretic, and drinking unsweetened grape juice before going to bed helps to stimulate your intestines and relieve constipation.
If plain grape juice tastes too difficult to handle, a splash of orange juice will add some flavor. In addition, you can take a sip or two if you have cramps during your period. It will help quell any stomach pain.
Try having at least 1 cup per day.
Fresh pears are also an excellent source of fiber and water. Eating one pear every day should help relieve constipation by providing more bulk in your diet as well as plenty of fiber, which speeds up transit time through the digestive tract.
Blueberries and cherries
Packed with antioxidants, blueberries not only boost overall health but can also help prevent and relieve constipation. This superfood is known to help cleanse your colon and eliminate toxins from your body, which can cause uncomfortable bloating and constipation.
Incorporate a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries into your daily diet, or try cooking with fresh blueberry juice instead of water when making rice or any other grain-based dishes. If you’re not in the mood for that sweet taste, opt for tart cherries instead.
Cherries are rich in melatonin, an antioxidant that helps reduce pain and inflammation in the gut wall, which may make it easier to have a bowel movement. They’re also great sources of vitamin C (especially during cold winter months), potassium (great for fighting fatigue), and fiber (good for regularity).
For something more savory than sweet, experiment with adding ginger or turmeric powder to your recipes—both ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe stomach discomforts like gas and cramping.
The final word
For mild cases of constipation, over-the-counter treatments work well. You could also get prescription laxatives if your condition is a bit more challenging or your overall fiber intake is lower than recommended.
If you do not experience a bowel movement for more than three days, have intestinal pains, or have nausea, you should check with your doctor straight away.