10 Foods to Relieve Constipation   

10 Foods to Relieve Constipation  

To say that constipation is unpleasant would be an understatement. It is embarrassing to talk about and painful to experience. It is also extremely common – most people will experience constipation at some point during their lives.

Constipation occurs when your bowel movements are irregular, infrequent and difficult. It can sometimes be hard to determine whether someone is truly constipated because our digestive systems are all so different. One person may experience 2 or 3 bowel movements in a day, while another person may have one every 3 days – and both experiences may be completely normal. However, it is a good rule of thumb that if you have fewer than 2 bowel movements in a week, you are probably constipated.

Causes and Treatments for Constipation

Constipation can be caused by a number of different things. It is important to determine the underlying cause of constipation, as it can occasionally be a symptom that indicates a very serious problem. If you experience regular constipation, do not ignore it. Here are some thing that may cause constipation:

  • Many of us have a tendency not to drink enough water during the day. If you’re not getting enough water, it can lead to constipation.
  • Consuming inadequate fiber. Many processed and sugary foods lack fiber, which our bodies need to regulate bowel movements.
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity. Keeping active keeps your digestive system active, too.
  • Taking certain drugs. Pain relievers, iron pills and antidepressants all have the potential to cause constipation.
  • Constipation is just one of the negative effects of stress.
  • Mental health and physical health are closely related.
  • Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the body.
  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Colon Cancer.

In general, if you have hard stool, infrequent bowel movements, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation, you have constipation.

Some of the most common treatments for constipation include:

  • Increasing fiber intake.
  • Getting more exercise.
  • Using over-the-counter laxatives, such as those containing Senna.
  • Prescription laxatives.

Very serious cases of constipation may lead to fecal impaction, which requires manual breaking up of the stool by a doctor. While laxatives are a good short-term solution for constipation, it can be dangerous to use them for a long period of time. When you use laxatives you actually release the rectal muscles. As a result, those muscles weaken and may become less effective.

The bottom line is, it is better to treat the root causes of constipation than it is to treat the symptoms. The best way to do that is to include foods in your diet that help to prevent constipation.

Foods That Relieve Constipation

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 10 best foods to help relieve constipation.

different berries in a basket on a wooden table
Not only are berries delicious, they are packed with fiber that can help relieve constipation. Try eating a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The benefits of eating berries extend beyond easing constipation. They’re also packed with antioxidants that can help improve your overall health.
Olive oil
Olive oil. Olive oil is one of the best natural remedies for constipation. It seems to work best on an empty stomach, so while you can include it with food it is probably better to have it alone. Mix one tablespoon of olive oil with one teaspoon of lemon juice, and have it first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty.
Lemons are a natural stimulant, and they also help to eliminate toxins from your digestive tract. For best results, squeeze the juice of one lemon into a full cup of hot water, and drink it. The other benefit of this remedy is that it helps keep you hydrated, which can make it easier to go.
Plum juice
There’s a reason that prunes and prune juice are practically synonymous with constipation relief – they work. Prunes have a lot of dietary fiber, which is essential to get things moving. Drink a glass of prune juice first thing in the morning (or eat a few prunes, if you prefer) and another before bed.
relieve constipation beans
Beans are another fiber-packed food, and they also contain lots of healthy vitamins and minerals. They’re a great source of protein too – but unlike animal protein they are low in fat. Examples of healthy beans include kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans.
Broccoli is a true superfood. It contains a healthy dose of Vitamin C as well as ample amounts of fiber. In fact, broccoli does so much for your body that you should think about eating it on a daily basis even if you aren’t constipated.
Organic chia seeds
Seeds and nuts. You may have heard that eating seeds and nuts can cause constipation, but actually, the reverse is true. These healthy foods are rich in fiber and healthy fats. Some particularly good options for treating constipation are almonds and chia seeds.
sweet potato diced
Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes pack a one-two punch when it comes to constipation. They are full of fiber, and one baked sweet potato contains 25% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, an important antioxidant.
relieve constipation dandelion leaves
Dandelion leaves. Dandelion leaves are a very effective natural remedy for constipation because they have two important properties. First of all, they are a natural and very gentle laxative; and second, they act as a detoxifier. One way to take them is to dry the leaves and crush them. Put two tablespoonsful in a cup and pour hot water over them. Let the mixture steep for about 5 minutes, and then drink it. You can repeat this remedy up to 3 times per day.
relieve constipation brown rice
Brown rice. You may have heard that eating white rice can cause constipation, and it’s true – there is a reason that white rice is part of the recommended diet for people who have diarrhea. However, brown rice is a whole grain that includes lots of healthy fiber and other nutrients. In fact, one cup of brown rice contains 14% of the fiber you need in a day.

Pouring water into glass on blue background

In addition to eating these healthy foods, make sure to drink enough water – at least eight glasses a day – and do what you can to relieve stress and anxiety. It may also be helpful to stick to a schedule when it comes to bowel movements. Don’t force it, but set aside time to use the bathroom, and take your time. It may help to lean forward slightly when you are on the toilet, as that position sends your body an “it’s time to go” message that may help trigger a bowel movement.

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