Constipation is a common condition for individuals who are not getting enough fiber in their diet, are eating too many processed foods, or have not been drinking enough water. Most individuals will experience constipation at least once during their lives. It can be quite uncomfortable with the bloating and cramping symptoms, but it is easily taken care of with some nutritional changes and additives. Aiming for twenty-five to thirty grams of fiber daily is recommended. More serious causes of irregular bowel movements should be checked when accompanied by pain or bleeding.
Particularly abundant in the summer, most kinds of berries are not only full of flavor and fiber, but are also often incredibly easy to acquire. They can be picked wild or purchased from local vendors as well as grocery stores. Berries with a range from two to four grams of fiber per serving include strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. When mixed into a fiber-rich cereal, these berries, which are low in calories, add some natural sweetness to help promote regularity. They are also a quick, healthy snack to take on the go. Pack some juicy berries and get snacking!
Citrus fruits are another great natural remedy for constipation. They are chock full of soluble fiber, which aids in not only adding water to the body but also maintaining the water that is already there, which aids in softer and larger stools that are easier to pass through the digestive tract. What's great about citrus fruits is the fact they are generally available year-round and there is a wide variety to choose from. Some of the more common citrus fruits include oranges, pineapples, lemons, and grapefruit. Citrus fruit can be enjoyed in their natural form or can be made into juices or combined into smoothies for a refreshing, healthy drink.
Although they are higher in calories than the same amount of natural fruit picked straight from the tree, dried fruit is a good source of fiber. Eaten in moderation, they can help alleviate constipation, even without the water content. Dried fruit, such as dates, figs, prunes, apricots, and raisins are easy to find in all grocery stores year-round. Prunes, dried an otherwise, are perhaps the most well-known remedy for alleviating constipation. They are so effective because they have the added benefit of sorbitol, a similarly molecular-structured carbohydrate as sugar.
Other Kinds Of Fruit
Fruit is an excellent option to help relieve constipation or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Juicy ones like apples, pears, and plums, eaten with the skin for more nutritional value, are healthy because of their pectin content. These fruits, as well as bananas and oranges, contain about three to four grams of fiber each. Fruit makes for an excellent and portable snack when individuals are out and about. Of course, fruit can also be made into a fruit salad for breakfast, blended into smoothies, or made into baked goods. Guidelines on how many servings of fruit individuals should consume daily vary between two and four depending on the source. What is true, however, is eating lots of fiber-rich fruit can only benefit constipation!
A low-calorie tide-me-over snack with lots of fiber is unbuttered popcorn. Air-popped popcorn can be eaten in larger quantities than other popular snacks because it contains only about thirty calories per cup, though it is important to note adding butter significantly increases the amount of fat and calories it contains. With just more than one gram of fiber for the same amount, this guilt-free treat is a whole grain thst can help relieve constipation. Sit back and relax with some popcorn and flavored sparkling water while watching a movie and say goodbye to constipation problems.
Beans are a versatile, lean protein with the added bonus of being quite high in fiber per serving. When added to a serving of colorful vegetables, beans create quite the effective meal for combatting constipation. Beans come in both common and unique varieties, including white, navy, black, lima, kidney, pinto, and great Northern beans. One cup of navy beans contains a whopping nineteen grams of fiber and are a filling addition to soups, salads, wraps, rice bowls, and casseroles, among many other dishes. Additionally, beans are typically quite cost-effective to purchase, which means they will not break the budget! This makes it clear relieving constipation through fiber-rich food need not be expensive.
Whole Grain Bread
Even when constipation is not present, whole grain bread is an overall healthier choice than white bread. The fiber in whole grain products like bread helps prevent constipation, whereas the white variety is often a cause of a blocked colon. Some reports even indicate whole grain rye bread could be more powerful than laxatives when it comes to effectively and safely relieving constipation. Whole grain bread is a complex carbohydrate, which helps maintain a feeling of fullness rather than being quickly converted to sugar. The first clue on the nutritional label will be the top ingredient, which will read whole before the grain. Whole grain bread is also quite healthy for the heart, meaning it has even more health benefits beyond relieving constipation!
Not all cereal is equal. High fiber cereal is healthier and more likely to help keep constipation away than any other variety, but particularly the common and bright sugary cereals that line the shelves of grocery stores. Individuals looking to relieve their constipation by eating cereal should choose varieties with a fiber content of at least five grams per serving, though more is even better. A serving size is usually labeled at half a cup and the bran-packed flaked and pellet cereals pack about six to thirty-six grams per cup. Cereal can be easily modified with a sprinkle of flax seeds (which will boost the fiber content even more) or added to baked goods.
One of the highest sources of fiber among vegetables is broccoli. Not only is it versatile on its own, but it can also be eaten raw with some dip, steamed, or roasted, but it can also be added to many different dishes, including pasta, rice casseroles, and even some stuffed chicken breast recipes. In addition to the healthy punch of 2.4 grams of fiber per cup, broccoli is a low-calorie cruciferous vegetable. Its fiber content is higher when eaten raw, so lightly steaming will help keep more of its fiber and nutrients than cooking longer at higher temperatures. Of course, eating broccoli in general is better than not consuming it at all!
Although nuts are quite high in calories, they are also high in fiber. For instance, one ounce of almonds contains approximately 3.3 grams of fiber, and one ounce of cashews contains about two grams. Due to their fat and calorie content, they should be eaten in smaller quantities than other foods rich in fiber. This can be done by consuming only a small handful throughout the day or by adding a favorite variety to home baking (e.g. walnuts in healthy muffin recipes or in banana bread). An even healthier choice is to consume only unsalted nuts, especially when experiencing constipation, as the salt contributes to water retention.
A healthy side dish with the added bonus of 3.8 grams of fiber is a medium-sized baked potato with the skin on. Other preparation choices for potatoes are boiled and mashed with the skins or baked in the shape of traditional French fries. Yams contain even more fiber, with the standard orange ones coming in at 4.1 grams each and purple sweet potatoes provide six grams of fiber each. Both are versatile and prepared in the same way as the average russet potato. It is important for individuals to keep the skin of the potatoes on to reap the most benefits from the fiber content and thus, the relief from their constipation.
Rhubarb is a spring vegetable commonly found in most grocery stores. It is important to note the whole plant is not edible and because of this, it is generally sold only by the stalk, as the leaves of rhubarb are highly poisonous. It is easily recognizable by its bright pink coloring. Research indicates consuming rhubarb can be helpful in gently relieving constipation as it provides a laxative effect by stimulating the walls of the digestive tract to make passing bowel movement easier. It is important to note eating too much rhubarb or eating for long periods can actually increase constipation. As such, it should only be used for a short-term solution to constipation.
An artichoke is a spring vegetable known for its green coloring and the fact it looks like an unopened flower bud. They are very common and can typically be found at local grocery stores or farmers markets. The outer portion is generally too difficult to eat, however, the heart of an artichoke is very tender and when cooked correctly can make for a very nice snack or addition to a salad or meal. Artichokes are high in soluble fiber, which creates more water in the body, making stools softer, which allow them to pass through the intestines with less difficulty.
Flaxseed has a wide variety of health and wellness uses and it is also used for cooking and beauty products. In addition to being high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, and minerals, they are also very high in soluble fiber, making them a perfect source to aid in the relief of constipation. Flaxseed can be consumed either in whole form or ground, research indicates they are most beneficial when eaten whole as the full nutritional value is retained. Not only can these little seeds aid in relieving constipation, but they can also aid in making bowel movement more regular and increasing the frequency of bowel movements for individuals who don't pass stools on a regular basis.
Oat bran is the outer shell of oat kernels. Commonly found in popular cereals, it has been recommended for decades as a quick, easy reliever of mild constipation. Like many other natural constipation relievers, oat bran contains a high content of soluble fiber, making stools softer, larger and easier to pass without the uncomfortable cramping. To relieve constipation experts recommend consuming at least one cup of the fibrous kernel on a daily basis. This will not only aid in the quick relief of constipation but also help to keep stools soft and regular to minimize the occurrences of constipation.