Constipation is common for adults of all ages, affecting over 30,000,000 Americans total, and 1 in 3 seniors. Of course, knowing the numbers doesn’t make the symptoms any easier to … digest. The good news is that a diet rich in high-fiber fruits and veggies can help to alleviate digestive troubles. What foods should you focus on?
A generous serving of beans is one of the best things you can eat to alleviate constipation. What makes beans special is that they have both types of fiber your colon needs for good digestion: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber makes stool softer, and insoluble fiber adds bulk. Together, they speed up bowel movements and make the experience more pleasant.
You’re not limited to a single type of bean, either. Any of these legumes can help:
Sugar snap peas
The next time you think you’re having a bout of constipation, make a three-bean salad, a pot of veggie chili, or some minestrone soup with green beans and white beans.
If you want to trigger bowel movements quickly, try snacking on a pear or two. Each pear has a whopping 6 grams of fiber for moistening “stuck” waste. Even better, pears contain sorbitol and fructose, two natural sugars that have laxative effects. You get better bowel movements without the unpleasant side effects of over-the-counter laxatives.
The reason kiwis belong on this ultimate list of constipation-fighting foods is a special enzyme called actinidin. This enzyme triggers bowel movements, increasing the number of times you use the bathroom during the week. In cases of significant constipation, try eating two kiwis a day for a few weeks (along with plenty of water) to get your gut going smoothly again.
An apple a day can keep … you visiting the bathroom regularly. This all-American fruit is rich in pectin, an amazing type of soluble fiber. Pectin can pull water directly into the colon, softening hard stools and getting your gastrointestinal train back on track.
For the best results, don’t peel apples. The peelings are an excellent source of insoluble fiber for bulkier, less-compact stools. Bulk is important for regularity.
5. Prunes (and Figs)
With 6 grams of insoluble and soluble fiber, plus natural laxatives, prunes are a powerhouse for alleviating constipation quickly. Not a fan of prunes? Don’t worry. You can get similar benefits from other types of dried fruit, including figs and apricots.
Use dried fruit to add a constipation-fighting kick to breakfast recipes. Add prunes, figs or prune juice to homemade whole-grain pancakes, bran muffins, chia breakfast bowls or oatmeal granola bars for tasty digestive power.
6. Leafy Greens
Everybody should get about 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber a day. Just one cup of broccoli has about 2.5 grams, or 10% of your daily needs. Other leafy green veggies, such as spinach and Brussels sprouts, have even more fiber. These greens are rich in prebiotic fiber, food for the good bacteria in your digestive system.
The more good bacteria you have, the better your overall digestive health. When you eat spinach and other prebiotic foods regularly, you can prevent constipation from showing up in the first place.