Whole grains with fiber, such as whole-grain bread and pasta, cereals in oat flakes and bran, legumes, such as lentils, black beans, red beans, soy and chickpeas, fruits, such as berries, apples with skin, oranges and pears, vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, peas and collards. In the United States, about 16 out of 100 adults experience symptoms of constipation. The risk increases with age, and constipation affects approximately 33 out of 100 adults aged 60 and older. Olive and linseed oils have a mild laxative effect, helping to facilitate the flow of materials through the intestines.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and soften stools. Many dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, contain probiotics. Fruits are also rich in insoluble fiber, and many are also high in water. This makes the fruit particularly effective in relieving constipation.
Here are some fruits that people can try to ease symptoms. During this period, researchers associated increases in bran intake with significant improvements in bowel habits. By the end of the study, 86% of the children had improved their bowel habits. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that can help slow down the digestion process, so you can poop regularly.
Foods high in soluble fiber include oats, legumes, nuts and seeds, and some fruits and vegetables. Chia seeds, for example, are rich in soluble fiber: a single serving of chia seeds (2.5 tablespoons) contains approximately 10 g of fiber and are characterized by benefits for digestive health. You can also get soluble fiber from psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Then there's insoluble fiber, which repels water and adds bulk to stools so they move through the digestive tract, helping to relieve constipation.
Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It's tempting to think that adding a ton of fiber will be the magic bullet that will make everything work, but think again. Going from 5 g to the recommended 25 to 30 g of fiber per day may be more than your gastrointestinal tract can handle. Beware of insoluble fiber found in wheat bran, whole grains, and some vegetables, as it can increase bloating and flatulence.
Brogan recommends a gradual increase by adding 5 g of fiber per day, which is the amount contained in a pear or a third of a cup of black beans. Do you want to maximize the potency of plums? Dr. Farhadi recommends soaking them in water overnight. Or, opt for 100% plum juice.
These tiny black seeds are “very, very high in fiber,” Cording says. He recommends adding chia seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt to help relieve constipation (and add an increase in healthy fats and proteins to food). They're also a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You can sprinkle flax on a hot cereal, add it to a smoothie, or top a salad with it.
Between plums and raisins, Cording still recommends picking plums. Still, raisins are a good source of fiber, she says, and they can definitely help ease constipation. Sprinkle on oatmeal or yogurt for added sweetness and texture. The authors concluded that prunes could be an effective complementary treatment for reducing the severity of constipation in older women.
However, if you don't think your constipation is due to an underlying health problem and you want to take matters into your own hands, doctors and dieticians say that eating the right foods should help stimulate the digestive system. In this study, the effects of both olive oil and linseed oil were comparable to those of mineral oil, which is a laxative that medical professionals sometimes recommend for treating constipation. When treating constipation, many experts recommend that you consume an additional 20 to 25 grams of fiber per day. By increasing your fluid intake, not only can you better treat acute episodes of constipation, but you'll also stay regular in the long term.
The article then outlines some frequently asked questions about constipation, including its causes and treatment. Fortunately, constipation can often be treated with a few dietary changes and can then be maintained with a few healthy habits. Unlike the control group, the treatment group showed a significant reduction in the severity of constipation symptoms. However, if you don't have symptoms of constipation yet, you don't need to wait until they start eating healthier.
If constipation persists despite appropriate treatment, ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a gastroenterologist who specializes in diseases and disorders of the digestive tract. Eating certain fruits, vegetables, and seeds can help relieve constipation by adding volume, softening stools, reducing bowel transit time, and increasing the frequency of bowel movements. Prunes are high in fiber, sorbitol, and gut-healthy phenolic compounds, all of which can help treat constipation. A person should see a doctor if their constipation does not improve after making appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes and treatment with over-the-counter medications.
A study looked at the effects of eating sweet potatoes in people undergoing chemotherapy, which can cause constipation (50). A person should see a medical professional if dietary and medical treatments do not resolve their constipation to determine what may be causing their bowel movements to decrease. Sweet potatoes are a great source of insoluble fiber, which can add bulk to stools to prevent constipation. .