The Best Foods for Constipation Relief
It is very important to take good care of your excretory system and ensure adequate bowel movements by eating healthy foods for constipation.
Believe it or not, constipation is a condition that affects many more people than you may think. Indeed, it is estimated that the condition of constipation affects approximately 42 million Americans¹ and surveys suggest that this means as many as 1 in 4 people are affected by it².
Constipation, therefore, can be deemed to be a very common health problem that should not be overlooked and ignored. Constipation can be triggered by number of things including a change in activity, a new addition to your existing diet or a very unhealthy diet eaten by sufferers.
It is also worth remembering that some medications can cause constipation to occur as well.
The symptoms of constipation will vary from person-to-person, but they can be in most cases very painful and frustrating. So how can you get rid of constipation and save yourself from these painful experiences?
Well, there are plenty of products available at the pharmacy to help ease, reduce or eliminate the symptoms of constipation – but it can be that changing your diet is all you really need to do to help get things moving along swimmingly in the bowel department again.
So read on to take a look at the best foods for constipation relief.
Fiber – The #1 Bowel Movement Initiator
Amongst the best foods for constipation relief, fiber has to be at the top of the tree.
Fiber is something that is found in many naturally occurring foods and is actually quite indigestible in the human body.
So why eat fiber if it is indigestible I hear you ask?
Well, it is the remains of the fiber in the foods that we eat that help to “cleanse” our bodies. This happens because fiber helps the remains of other foods, that are picked up along the way, to leave our bodies the natural way.
Fiber, in particular, also helps your stool remain bulky, but not hard or dry, making for a smooth passing motion.
Fiber in both soluble and insoluble forms can be found in a variety of foods including beans (of all varieties, (i.e. kidney, black, split), brown rice, bran, dried fruits, prunes, nuts, whole-wheat items, fruits (i.e. strawberries, raspberries, bananas, pears, apples)) and vegetables (sweetcorn, green peas, broad beans and broccoli).
It is recommended that you try and consume at least 12 grams of fiber per day, in order to keep your body healthy and to keep those bowl movements as regular as possible.
Flaxseed Oil, Canola Oil and Olive Oil For Improved Bowel Movement
Although not an obvious choice, oils are also a very good example of one of the best foods for constipation relief. Many people like to use sunflower oil or vegetable oil in their cooking but these are certainly not the healthiest of oils to use, whether constipated or not!
For keeping your inner workings lubricated and also ensuring that you are cooking with the healthiest oils around, it is best to use the likes of flaxseed oil, canola oil or olive oil.
In essence, if it is a good polyunsaturated oil or monounsaturated oil, then it will do wonders to help with the symptoms of your constipation! And of course, it is very easy to use the likes of olive oil and canola oil in your food, such as dressings for salads or as a “dip” on its own.
Water is The Best Lubricant
Although not technically a food, water is an important part of being able to get constipation relief. Not only does water help to keep your body hydrated, it adds fluid to the colon, helping it to produce softer and easier-to-pass bowel movements.
If you are suffering from constipation, then it is recommended that you cut out all caffeine and alcohol and stick to the pure, natural stuff (i.e. water!) instead.
If you are not partial to a drop of water then you can opt for apple juice instead. Apple juice contains pectin, which is known to help increase the bulk of the stool and to stimulate bowel movement activity.
1. Higgins PD, Johanson JF. Epidemiology of constipation in North America: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Apr;99(4):750-759.
2. Pare P, Ferazzi S, Thompson WG, et al. An epidemiological survey of constipation in Canada: definitions, rates, demographics, and predictors of health care seeking. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001;96:3130-3137.