You’ve probably experienced constipation at some point in your life. It’s actually quite common. The type of symptoms one may experience can vary, but generally, constipation can be a result of dehydration, medications, a poor diet and illnesses affecting the digestive or nervous system. Luckily, there are certain foods that help to prevent constipation and can aid in the smooth expulsion of your stool. Here are 10 of the best foods to stick to the next time you’re feeling constipated.
Figs are one of the best foods to prevent constipation. While small in size, a small handful of figs provides about 5 grams of dietary fiber. That’s about 20% of the total daily value for an average person.
Figs can be great to have on their own as a snack, or added to sweet or savory dishes. They can be had raw as well as cooked or dried.
2. Spinach and Other Greens
Spinach and other green vegetables such as broccoli are high in insoluble fiber, which is great for your health in many ways. It helps to add some bulk to your stool which helps food to pass through the digestive system and can help in preventing constipation.
Spinach and other greens can be incorporated into your diet in various methods, eat them raw or add them to smoothies to make them more nutritious.
While plums don’t contain much fiber, prunes (which are dried plums), have as much as 12 grams of fiber per cup which is great for relieving constipation. Also, prunes and prune juice are known worldwide as being home remedies for constipation as not only do they speed up bowel movements, but they contain other gastrointestinal benefits as well.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. When you become dehydrated, your intestines cannot add enough water to your stool which results in hard, dry lumpy stools which are hard to pass. Be sure to drink enough water in the day and eat water-dense foods such as fruits to stay hydrated.
Also note that if you will be increasing your fiber content, you have to also increase your water intake accordingly so they do not work against one another.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are another one of the greatest foods to prevent constipation. That is because when soaked in water, they take on a gel-like consistency due to their ability to absorb water. This helps with keeping the stools moist and easier to pass through when you eat them.
Along with being high in fiber, chia seeds are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. You can incorporate them into your diet by adding them to smoothies, oatmeal, or making chia pudding.
6. Lentils and Peas
Eating legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and peas can give you a boost of potassium, zinc, folate and vitamin B6; all of which can help to ease constipation. Also, these legumes can provide you up to 15.6 grams of fiber per 1 cup, which is awesome.
According to Healthline.com, eating legumes can also increase your body’s production of butyric acid, which is a type of fatty acid that can act as a natural laxative.
7. Whole Wheat Bread, Cereals and Pasta
If you have trouble with your bowel movements, consider replacing your white bread, rice, pasta and cereals with whole grains instead. Whole wheat products provide you with insoluble fiber, which then adds weight to your stools and allows them to pass quickly through your intestines.
Kiwis have been shown to have some laxative properties, making them a great fruit to consume if you’re struggling with constipation. They consist of the fiber Pectin, which has a natural laxative effect on the body. One kiwi has about 2.5 grams of fiber in it along with other vitamins and nutrients which are good for your body.
So next time you’re having oatmeal or a smoothie, throw in some kiwis for added fiber and health benefits.
9. Sweet potatoes
Who knew potatoes were also a good source of fiber, (I didn’t). Just be sure to leave their skin on as that contains most of the fiber. A medium-sized baked potato has 3.8 grams of fiber which can help to prevent constipation and sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin A. Do stick to baking or boiling the potatoes, as opposed to frying them to make it a healthier option.
Apples are full of the fiber Pectin, which can act as a natural laxative. They also have other nutrients such as fiber and sorbitol that can improve digestion. Apples are also high in water so they will help to keep the stool moist in the digestive tract.
If you want to get the full benefits, try eating them with the skin on, as that’s where most of the fiber is and in the raw form as they lose some nutrients if you were to eat them baked.