Feeling a little backed up lately? Struggling with constipation issues? It’s something that we so rarely ever talk about, but something that more of us suffer from than we’d care to admit.
Constipation. Bowel movements. Pooping if you will. While not something you’d ever bring up at the dinner table, it is something that you need to be giving your time and attention to. If you aren’t regular, this is a very good sign that something is amiss in your body.
What are the causes and what helps constipation when you’re in discomfort? To get a primer on constipation and the leading causes and how to stop constipation, check out this video below.
So now that you have a better idea of how common constipation really is and some of the dietary choices that you may be making leading to constipation, let’s go over 10 great foods that can help you learn how to stop constipation.
1. Eat Some Berries
This sweet treat is one that you will enjoy eating and can also serve as a great way to help regulate your bowels. Berries are not only loaded with antioxidants, but also dietary fiber.
When you’re struggling to go, dietary fiber is your best friend. It helps add bulk to the stool, increasing the chances of having a bowel movement.
The best picks?
Berries rated according to their fiber content include:
- Raspberries (8 grams of fiber and 64 calories per one cup serving)
- Blackberries (7.6 grams of fiber and 62 calories per one cup serving)
- Boysenberries (7 grams of fiber and 66 calories per one cup serving)
- Cranberries (4.6 grams of fiber and 46 calories per one cup serving)
- Blueberries (3.6 grams of fiber and 84 calories per one cup serving)
- Strawberries (3 grams of fiber and 49 calories per one cup serving)
Berries are a great addition to any diet and can be eaten on their own, served with a bowl of Greek yogurt, added to protein smoothies, or topped over a bowl of oatmeal. With such a low calorie count, even those who are seeking fat loss should be able to work them in.
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2. Pop Some Popcorn
That’s right – you can indulge. I’m not talking about movie theater popcorn however. I’m referring to plain popcorn that’s popped by you in your own skillet or popcorn maker.
Popcorn is actually a terrific source of carbohydrates as it ranks in low on the GI index and comes in with a hearty dose of fiber as well. It’s also relatively easy to digest and break down and best of all, it is another great lower calorie option for those who are looking to lose weight.
The only caveat? You don’t want to go adding butter or popcorn spices or seasoning to it if you are using this to help manage your constipation. Those additions could make your constipation problem worse, so eat it completely plain.
After a while of serving it this way, chances are you’ll learn to appreciate the taste of the actual popcorn and won’t even miss the high calorie, high sodium add-ons it normally comes with. If you want to see how to stop constipation, popcorn should be added to your diet.
3. Can’t Beat Beans
A great food for anyone to eat more of, beans are well known for their ability to help get things moving along. While some people do get more gassy when eating beans, they are filled with dietary fiber of both the insoluble and soluble variety making them all-stars as far as regularity is concerned.
Often what contributes to constipation in many diets is having an over-abundance of meat protein and a lack of high fiber fruits and vegetables. While beans certainly aren’t a fruit or vegetable, the fact is they do contain protein, so if you opt to swap out some of the animal protein you normally eat for some beans instead, this can go a long way towards helping you promote greater regularity.
Beans are also easy to add to soups, salads, stews, chili, or simply eaten on their own as a side dish.
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4. Don’t Be A Prude Eat Prunes
While not a fruit that you’d typically snack on for pleasure sake on a regular basis, prunes can be a great way to combat constipation. Now, prunes are quite high in sugar content coming in at 8.5 grams of sugar per one ounce serving (of 71 calories). So if you are someone who is watching your body weight or sugar content, you’ll want to only eat these when necessary due to constipation reasons.
But, they also provide 2.1 grams of dietary fiber for that 71 calorie one ounce serving and more importantly, are a good source of sorbitol. Sorbitol acts as a natural laxative in the body, so by eating prunes, you may help encourage a bowel movement.
Don’t eat too many at once however or you may quickly find out the consequences of doing so.
5. Bulk Up With Bran
If you were to ask what the best breakfast cereal you could eat was, the simple answer would be oatmeal time and time again. You simply cannot beat steel cut oats for their long-lasting energy and low ranking on the GI scale.
But, when you’re backed up, there’s one cereal that will beat steel cut oats hands down. That cereal? Bran.
Per one cup of bran buds cereal, you will take in a whopping 39 grams of fiber. Now, don’t eat the entire cup all at once or you’ll likely cramp up and may need help for something other than constipation as it causes you to go the other direction instead.
A smarter move is to simply sprinkle about a quarter cup of bran buds cereal on top of a bowl of Greek yogurt, regular oatmeal, or add it into a smoothie you’re preparing. This will give you nearly 10 grams of dietary fiber, which should be enough to move things along.
This cereal, depending on the brand you purchase, can also contain a decent amount of added sugar (24 grams per cup serving) so again, this isn’t something you want to be eating on a regular basis. Steel cut oats contain no sugar at all, so that is the superior everyday breakfast cereal.
But when you are backed up, bran buds can certainly help save the day.
6. Eat Your Broccoli
What article on bowel-boosting foods would be complete without the mention of greens? Broccoli is a bowel superstar. Most people already realize that this vegetable is a fantastic option for anyone who is hoping to enhance their health as it’s such a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins.
But, in addition to that, broccoli is loaded with dietary fiber. At 2.3 grams per 30 calorie serving, this is a great go-to to regularly add to your menu.
One special note however: if you want to reap the optimal bowel-inducing benefits of broccoli, choose to eat it raw. Some of the fiber is destroyed during the cooking process, so raw broccoli is the best bet.
7. Don’t Pass Up The Pears
Another fruit that can be a great choice for those who are dealing with constipation is the pear. While pears are often overlooked for apples instead, they actually pack more dietary fiber and thus, provide more assistance against this uncomfortable issue.
A small raw pear will provide 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, while the apple will come in with just 3.3.
Note that this includes eating the skin however, so be sure that you aren’t peeling that pear before eating it.
Pears are also great for those who are hoping to lower their risk factor for cancer. The fiber found in pears may help to bind with not just bile acids, but a special type of bile acid called secondary bile acids that tend to increase the incidence of colorectal cancer.
8. Go Nuts
While those seeking weight loss results are often cautioned against eating nuts due to their caloric density, as long as you are monitoring your serving size, nuts can be an excellent addition to your diet plan.
The nice thing about nuts is they are a very well-rounded food. They contain protein, a little carbohydrates, plenty of healthy fats, and you guessed it – dietary fiber.
If you had to choose between your nut variations, opt for brazil nuts, peanuts, and walnuts. These are the highest fiber containing nuts and will do the most to help get you regular.
As an added benefit, brazil nuts are also quite rich in both potassium as well as magnesium, which is a killer combination for promoting regularity.
Another food that’s higher in dietary fat but a must-add to your diet plan, especially if you are hoping to combat constipation is flaxseeds.
Flaxseeds are a unique food because they contain a hearty dose of omega-3 fatty acids and in addition to that, are also going to provide some protein and then the bowel-inducing fiber that you are looking for.
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Just one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds will provide around 2 grams of dietary fiber, making it an easy way to get your numbers up.
Ground flaxseeds can be added to your morning bowl of oatmeal, tossed into your smoothie, added to your baking (such as muffins, cookies, or squares), or simply topped over a salad as well.
Just do keep in mind that your body cannot digest whole flax seeds, so make sure that you do grind these up for safety and health reasons.
If you haven’t purchased them already ground up, you can easily grind them in your own coffee maker.
10. Quench Your Thirst With Water
Finally, the last thing that you’ll want to turn to and while not a food, it’s one that can really help put the brakes on constipation is water.
Often constipation occurs when you are in a dehydrated state, so by remedying this situation, you can resolve the constipation issue as well.
Many people are in the habit of getting their fluid intake from dehydrating beverage choices such as coffee, colas, or alcohol, so it’s time to reverse this and instead, opt for water as often as you can.
Add a little lemon or lime for extra flavor if you need to, but focus on getting your eight to ten glasses in per day.
If you can drink ionized water, which is better for you, it can provide further benefits pertaining to your overall health.
So there you have the top 10 foods that you should be eating if you want to beat constipation and get back to feeling better again.
When you’re suffering, what do you find helps? Do you have a food that you normally turn to in order to find relief? Share your comments with us below.