Constipation is when your body has a hard time passing your bowel movements. This condition can be uncomfortable, even painful, but it can cause problems if it is not eventually remedied: such as blocked bowels and more serious issues.
It is important to keep your body moving waste out as it comes in, so preventing constipation is important to your overall health and well being.
In a lot of cases of constipation, the stool gets ‘stuck’ because it is too hard and will not pass through the intestines properly.
Most of the time, this is caused by not enough fiber in the diet and dehydration, so sometimes this is easily remedied by increasing fiber and restoring hydration in the body.
Keeping your body hydrated and consuming enough fiber are the easiest ways to prevent constipation.
An adult needs approximately 20-30 grams of fiber per day to keep up with regular bowel movements. This amount is known to help prevent constipation and digestive discomfort.
If you consume enough fiber and keep your body hydrated, constipation should not affect you often. If you still get constipated, though, it can be uncomfortable, so here are some food suggestions to help you to relieve constipation naturally.
Keep in mind this resource is not designed for medical advice, and is for informational purposes only.
Please consult your doctor if you have constipation that lasts for more than 2-3 days, or if it is too uncomfortable to bear, as this may be indicative of a more serious problem.
The Best Ways To Help Naturally Relieve Constipation
Drink Lots of Water:
Water is known to keep your bowels moving and comfortable. Dehydration affects a lot of body systems, so it would make sense that water tops this list. It is important to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to maintain healthy water levels in your body.
Because dehydration is a top cause of constipation, rehydration is a great way to help relieve it.
Sometimes constipation can be immediately remedied by drinking a glass of warm water. The warm water will help break up the stool and help it move along the intestines quicker than cold water or cold food.
Eat Lots of Fiber-Rich Foods:
Fiber-rich foods typically come from plants, and they play a major part in healthy digestion. When your body has adequate fiber, digesting your food is easy and it moves along the digestive tract quickly.
When you do not have enough fiber, the intestines can slow, making the stool harder and tougher to pass.
There are two different types of fiber, both of which are important to passing food through the digestive tract and preventing constipation:
This version of fiber absorbs in water to create a gel-like substance that softens the stool so that it can move through the intestines. Without this type of fiber, the stool can become hard and immovable, causing constipation.
This type of fiber also promotes healthy mucus levels in the intestines to help move the stool along and lubricate its passing.
This version of fiber does not dissolve in water, but it does give volume and moisture to the stool. This helps the stool move through the intestines and stay solid while doing so. This version of fiber regulates the bowel movements and it holds the stool together as it moves through the intestines
If you gradually increase your intake of fiber in your diet, you will gradually see more regular and pain-free bowel movements. Generally speaking, adults need about 20-30 grams of fiber in their diet to be considered ‘adequate’ for digestive maintenance.
If you are not able to get enough fiber from your food, you can also take a fiber supplement, and those tend to be helpful also. Getting enough fiber of both types is crucial to adequate body function and healthy digestion.
Eat Lots of Fresh Fruits:
Many fresh fruits contain fiber and other elements that will support a healthy digestive system and prevent/relieve constipation. These fruits contain natural fiber, which means you will not need any other substance to break it down and absorb it into the body.
All fruits have varying levels of fiber content in them, some more than others.
Some High Fiber Fruits For Constipation Relief
Berries – Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. are high in fiber and can help relieve constipation and maintain healthy digestion
Guavas – Both guava seed and pulp contains fiber. The guava is very high in fiber: with 5.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams of guava fruit
Oranges – Oranges have very high Vitamin C and fiber, which can contribute to healthy digestion. Oranges also contain a very high amount of water, which moves the bowels well also.
Kiwi – the fiber content of one small kiwi is a whopping 2.5 grams! Kiwi also contains many different vitamins and minerals that maintain overall digestive health, not just constipation.
Other fresh fruit options that will help alleviate constipation include: apples, apricots, figs, papayas, bananas, blueberries, moras, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, plums, peaches, pears, pineapples.
All of these fruits are high in fiber and can help your body with digestion and bowel movements. Most fruits contain fiber in some form, but if you are lacking fiber in your diet it may be necessary to pick out the fruits that have the most fiber in the list.
Eat Lots of Dried Fruits:
Dried fruits contain fiber and are a great way to relieve or prevent constipation. Dried fruits are easy to find, easy to eat, and make a great snack on the go.
Because of their high fiber content, they can help you regulate your digestion and may alleviate the symptoms of constipation. Some dried fruits that are good for constipation relief are:
Prunes – prunes are dehydrated plums. Prunes are a known remedy for constipation, and prune juice is a common form of this fruit (to be taken to relieve constipation)
Raisins – raisins are dehydrated grapes. Grapes, grape juice, and raisins are all known, gentle laxatives that will help produce a bowel movement if necessary
Dried Figs – dried figs contain high amounts of fiber that will help move the digestive system along
Dates – dates are also very high in fiber and are considered a mild laxative. They are great for relieving constipation if the constipation is from a lack of fiber (or otherwise diet related)
Eat Lots of Vegetables:
Just like fruits, vegetables contain fiber that is great for maintaining a healthy digestive system and preventing constipation. Vegetables contain high amounts of fiber, so they can prevent and relieve constipation and help you maintain regular bowel movements.
Some vegetables that are good at relieving constipation are:
Artichokes – artichoke hearts are high in fiber and will help maintain healthy digestion
Beans – beans are a very high sources of both fiber and protein
Broccoli – broccoli is high in fiber and can help alleviate the symptoms of constipation
Cabbage – cabbage is known to contain a lot of fiber, and can cause bowel movements on its own
Eat Lots of Seeds:
Many seeds contain high amounts of fiber, and if eaten in larger amounts, can help with constipation. The seeds also add bulk to the stool, which helps move it out as well. Some of the best seeds to prevent and relieve constipation are:
Coriander seeds – also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley help in the production of digestive enzymes and juices that ease the process of digestion
Linseed – Linseed is sometimes used as a laxative and can help relieve constipation
Flax Seed – you can purchase flax seed by itself to sprinkle on top of your food as a fiber supplement
Nuts also fit into this category, and are typically high in fiber also.
As you can see, maintaining proper intestinal health is not tough to do. You need to maintain a diet rich in fiber, make sure you are drinking plenty of water, and make sure you are eating fresh fruits and veggies.
All of these steps will make sure you get what you need to prevent constipation.