Foods That Help Fight Constipation
By Stacey Feintuch
It's the elephant in the room. But at some point, it must be discussed—constipation. Everyone goes through it at some point.
Constipation can happen for various reasons. Oftentimes, it can be blamed on a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. So, if you don't eat a lot of fiber, eat a lot of high-processed foods, are dehydrated regularly and are inactive, you may be constipated often.
Here are some foods that can help prevent and relieve prevent constipation. Just know that fiber needs vary from person to person. Depending on your age and sex, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that adults should get 22 to 34 grams of fiber per day.
And if you need to increase your fiber intake, due so gradually. That way, you'll avoid bloating, gas and other tummy troubles. Always speak with your health care provider before changing your diet. And if you have prolonged or severe constipation, see your health care provider to rule out any serious problems.
Water helps move waste through your bowels and keeps you regular. Plus, it makes your stools soft and easier to move through the colon and to pass through you. Not to mention, water offers health benefits like keeping your skin in optimal condition and promoting cellular functions. Bored with water? Try squeezing some lemon or lime juice into your water. You may find that the refreshing tart water helps relieve your constipation while helping you drink more water each day.
Fiber helps you stay regular. It adds bulk to your stool because it gives the muscles in your digestive tract something to grab onto. And that means food can keep moving through you. Antioxidant-rich artichokes are brimming with fiber. Serve up our Artichoke Spinach Hummus at your next party. This Cherry Tomato and Artichoke Tart can be cut into squares for a tasty appetizer or act as a main course for lunch or dinner.
Apples are loaded with soluble fiber, which is the type of fiber that absorbs water. So, this soluble fiber helps retain water as it goes through your digestive system. It then helps prevent constipation by giving stools the right consistency to pass easily. Apples also are high in pectin, a naturally occurring fiber. Read about 10 healthy apples recipes you're guaranteed to love.
Oats are a whole grain with both insoluble (which isn't broken down by the gut and absorbed into the bloodstream) and soluble fiber. Plus, they help decrease the risk of diabetes and lower cholesterol. You and the kids will love starting the day with these Oatmeal Carob Chip Pancakes or a bowl of this Red Fruit Trio Oatmeal. In fact, a study published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that eating oatmeal for breakfast results in greater fullness, less hunger and fewer calories eaten at lunch—especially if you're overweight.
Did you ever notice that when you sip on a cup of java on an empty stomach you immediately need to run to the restroom? Coffee, as well as other hot drinks like herbal tea or hot water with lemon juice (the citric acid in lemon juice stimulates your digestive system), stimulate muscle contractions in the colon, helping you go to the bathroom and relieve your constipation. Just be sure to consume plenty of water because coffee is dehydrating and can worsen your problem.
Beans, chickpeas, green peas and other legumes pack a fiber punch. Beans contain a fiber-like starch, known as resistant starch, that acts as a mild laxative and helps balance the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Beware that consuming a lot of beans can trigger bloating and gas. So, you may feel worse before you feel better, which is why you should gradually increase your bean consumption. This alternative to guacamole, Black Bean Avocado Dip, includes various vegetables plus fiber for a healthier dip. Or, serve this Quinoa and Black Beans recipe as a main course or side dish.
Raisins and prunes
Raisins are high in fiber and contain tartaric acid, which offers a laxative effect. And prunes (also known as dried plums) have a compound that triggers intestinal contractions, giving you the urge to push out waste. So, prunes act as a mild laxative. To start your day with both raisins and prunes, make some of this Breakfast Porridge.