Constipation is a common problem faced by approximately 20% of the population. The delay of colonic transit, or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system, is one of its common causes. A diet low in fiber, old age and physical inactivity also contribute to constipation. Although remedies for constipation usually include laxatives, stool softeners and fiber supplements. Further, the incorporation of some foods that increase regularity in your diet can be a safe and effective alternative. Here is a list of 9 healthy foods that can help you poop.
Apples are a good source of fiber, since a small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) provides 4 grams of fiber. The fiber passes through the undigested intestines, which helps stool formation and promotes regular bowel movements. Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect. In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements. After four weeks, the pectin accelerated the transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Apples can be used as a healthy complement to foods like yogurt and oatmeal or can be enjoyed on their own as a convenient and nutritious snack.
Prunes are often used as a natural laxative, and for good reason. Not only do they contain 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce serving (28 grams), they are also a good source of sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that is poorly digested in the body. It helps relieve constipation by introducing water into the intestines, stimulating bowel movement. A review examined four studies that measured the effectiveness of prunes in constipation. It was concluded that prunes can help soften stool, improve consistency and increase the frequency of bowel movements. The prunes add a touch of sweetness when used to decorate salads and pilafs. A small glass of plum juice without added sugar can also be a quick and convenient way to get the same constipation benefits found in whole plums.
In addition to its wide variety of health benefits, the high fiber content of flax seeds and their ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out. Each serving of a tablespoon (10 grams) of flax seeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. A study in animals supplemented mice with flax seed for 14 days and studied the effects on constipation. Flax seeds can add fiber and extra texture when they are spread over oats, yogurt, soups and smoothies.
Pears can help relieve constipation in different ways. They are high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, covering up to 24% of your daily fiber needs. Pears also have a high content of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent to attract water to the intestines and stimulate bowel movement. In addition, pears contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed in limited quantities. This is due to the way in which fructose is metabolized in your body. Not only is it absorbed at a slower rate, but the liver can also metabolize large amounts of fructose. Pears are incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. They can be included in salads and sandwiches or eaten raw for a sweet snack.
Most bean varieties are high in fiber and can help maintain regularity. Black beans have 7.5 grams of fiber per half cooked cup (86 grams), while the half cup (91 grams) of cooked beans contain 9.5 grams of fiber. Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, which help relieve constipation in different ways. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gelatinous consistency, softening the stool and facilitating passage. The insoluble fiber passes intact through the digestive tract and adds volume to the stool. So, if you are looking for an easy way to increase your fiber intake, beans are a good way to do it. Add them to soups, sauces or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.
Figs are an excellent way to include more fiber in your diet to stimulate regular bowel movements. Dried figs, especially, can provide a concentrated dose of fiber. One half cup (75 grams) of dried figs contains 7.5 grams of fiber, which can satisfy up to 30% of your daily fiber needs. A study conducted in 2011 revealed that fig paste increases the weight of stool and reduces intestinal transit time, making it a natural remedy for constipation. Another study has concluded that the fig paste helps accelerate colonic transit, improved stool consistency and relieved abdominal discomfort.
3. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to providing a large amount of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also contain a good amount of fiber that can help increase regularity. One medium sweet potato (4 ounces or 114 grams) contains 4 grams of fiber. The fiber found in sweet potatoes is mostly insoluble and includes some specific types, such as cellulose, lignin and pectin. Thanks to its fiber content, some studies have shown that sweet potatoes can help promote bowel movements. Sweet potatoes can be crushed, baked, sautéed or roasted and used instead of white potatoes in any of your favorite recipes.
This edible pulse is full of fiber, making it an excellent addition to your diet to relieve constipation. In fact, half a cup (99 grams) of boiled lentils contains an impressive 8 grams. In addition, eating lentils can increase the production of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid found in the colon. Increases the movement of the digestive tract to promote bowel movements. Lentils add a rich flavor to soups and salads alike, while providing plenty of additional fiber and health benefits.
1. Oat Barn
Oat bran is the fiber-rich outer wrapper of the oat grain. Although it is not consumed as much as rolled or old-fashioned oats, oat bran contains significantly more fiber. Only one-third cup (31 grams) of oat bran contains approximately 5 grams of fiber, which is about 43% more than traditional oat varieties. Oat bran maintains body weight and reduces the use of laxatives by 59%, which made it a safe and effective natural remedy for constipation. Although oats and oat bran come from the same oat grain, but vary in terms of texture and flavor.