If you have fewer than three bowel movements in one week, and/or you strain to have bowel movements because your stool is hard and a struggle to pass through your system, you are suffering from constipation. This incredibly uncomfortable and distressing ailment is frequently associated with bloating, as well, adding to the overall discomfort. The good news is that most constipation is easily solved through dietary changes.
Different forms of fiber
Fiber is an indigestible part of plant-based foods that assists with the relief of constipation. There are two forms of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber makes stools bulkier and less hard, easing its passage, while soluble fiber uses water in the system to soften stools. Women require significantly less dietary fiber than men; men require between 31 and 38 grams of daily fiber, while women require between 20 and 25 grams of daily fiber. One important thing to remember when increasing your fiber intake is to stay hydrated. If you don’t increase the amount of water you drink alongside the fiber, the fiber will be much less effective at treating your constipation.
“Dried plums” has become the more desirable term for prunes, possibly because many people have childhood memories of being forced to drink prune juice. But there was a reason your grandmother wanted you to drink it: for every three prunes you eat, you get two whole grams of fiber. Studies have shown that individuals who eat dried plums daily rarely, if ever, suffer from any form of constipation.
Lots of vegetables and fruits contain significant fiber, and, in addition, many contain significant amounts of water, which further aids in relieving constipation and bloating. Berries are highly effective; particularly blackberries and raspberries are high in fiber, with strawberries and blueberries not far behind. Other fruits packed with fiber include apples, apricots, bananas, oranges, mangoes, cherries, peaches, and pears. A myriad of vegetables have fiber as well; cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, and even potatoes provide significant fiber benefits.
Whole grains are good; unprocessed whole grains are even better. For the most fiber per serving, consume brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet. When eating pasta or making a sandwich, look for whole grains, because even when processed, whole grain foods do retain some fiber and thus can benefit digestion. Once a food’s grains have been refined, such as with white bread, the fiber (and thus the nutrition) has been eliminated.
Legumes and more
Beans have the highest fiber concentration of any food. Kidney beans, soy beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black beans, black-eyed peas, and more, offer significant fiber and are very helpful in alleviating constipation.
Additionally, nuts and seeds, related to legumes, have significant fiber – this would include nut butters, as well, though you should steer clear of over-processed nut butters in order to avoid refined sugars.
Fiber, an essential element of the human diet, is available in so many naturally occurring foods that constipation-sufferers have an immense selection from which to choose. Prunes were only the beginning; nutritious fiber is available in lots of different, delectable foods.