Best Foods for Constipation
(Part 1)

On this page you'll find discussed these foods for constipation:

  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Flaxseed
  • Dried Fruits

Other foods for constipation are dark leafy greens, ginger, honey, rhubarb, squash and coffee and they're discussed in Part 2.



Apples

apples are excellent foods for constipation

Apples are one of the best foods for constipation. How do apples work to keep you regular?

One of the main reasons for this is that apples are an excellent source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

A 5-oz. (140 g.) apple with the skin has about 3 g. of fiber.

Insoluble fiber, wich used to be called "roughage", is found mostly in the skin, and has long been recommended to relieve constipation. And we know that a smoothly operating digestive tract can help prevent diverticulitis, a condition in which small pouches form in the large intestine, and also cancer of the colon.

Plus, insoluble fiber is filling, which is why apples are such an excellent weight-control food for people who want to lose weight without feeling hungry.

Apples also contain soluble fiber, and the main type of soluble fiber present in apples is pectin. An average-size apple contains 0.7 g. of pectin, more than the amount in strawberries and bananas.

Rather than passing through the digestive tract more or less unchanged, soluble fiber absorbs a lot of water (20 times its weight) and forms a gel-like material in the intestine that helps to reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and, with it, the risk of heart disease and stroke.

All high-fiber foods are excellent foods for constipation.

Beans

different types of beans for constipation

There's no doubt that beans are superfoods because of their high content of proteins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.

But they're also excellent foods for constipation due to their high content of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Black beans, for example, contain 6 g. of fiber for 1/2 cup serving.

Chickpeas, kidney beans and lima beans have about 7 g. and black-eyed peas top out at 8 g.

Most of the fiber is insoluble, about 94% and 6% is soluble and both have different effects on the body.

There's no doubt that beans increase faecal output and also appear to stimulate colonic bacteria to throw off chemicals, called short chain fatty acids, that help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and possibly inhibit colon cancer.

These fatty acids come from fermentation of food, notably soluble fiber, in the colon and are being intensively scrutinized for their cancer-blocking potential.

If you're not used to eating beans, they can give you a lot of gassiness. To relieve the problem, start with smaller amounts and increase gradually, to give your intestine a chance to get used to the fiber.

Also, try adding fresh or ground ginger to your recipes, which not only helps relieve gassiness, but it's another natural laxative.

Read more on the Health Benefits of Beans.

Berries

berries are full of fiber and excellent to prevent constipation

Besides being delicious and full of antioxidants, berries are also one of the best foods for constipation.

Berries contain large amounts of insoluble fiber, which is incredibly absorbent.

It draws lots of water in the intestines, which makes stool heavier and heavy stools travel through the intestine faster, which means you're less likely to become constipated.

The fiber in berries is helpful in yet another way. It helps prevent bile acid (a chemical that the body uses for digestion) from being transformed into a more dangerous, potentially cancer-causing form.

Elderberries top the list, packing a powerful 5 g. of fiber in a 1/2 cup serving. Blackberries are next with more than 4 g. per serving and raspberries come in third with 3 g. per serving. Blueberries and strawberries are good, too.

When it comes to berry juice, mulberry and boysenberry juices are gentle laxatives.

Flaxseed

flaxseed is full of fiber

Also known as linseed, flaxseed is very high in fiber and rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are helpful for constipation.

Each tablespoon of flaxseed has 1g. of fiber. It has a sweet, nutty taste and can be added to almost anything; it's great in salads, cereals, casseroles and breads.

Whole flaxseed provides little benefit, though, because your digestive tract is unable to crack open the hard shells that surround the seeds (which is where all the benfits are). Go for ground or crushed flaxseed for easier digestion, pleasing flavour and crunch.

Flaxseed oil has not the same effect on constipation as the cracked seeds, because it doesn't contain the fiber you need.

If you include flaxseed in your foods for constipation, make sure to drink plenty of water, otherwise it might have the opposite effect.

Dried Fruits

dried fruits for constipation

All dried fruits - prunes, raisins, figs, apricots, dates - do wonders for relieving constipation.

Like other foods for constipation, they contain a lot of fiber, but they also contain other compounds that are very effective.

For example, raisins contain a compound called tartaric acid, which acts as a natural laxative.

Prunes also contain dihydroxyphenyl isatin, which stimulates the contractions in your intestines necessary for regular bowel movements.

All dried fruits contain very good amounts of magnesium, which in itself stimulates bowel movements.

This other page talks about Prune Juice for Constipation and Other Health Benefits.



TRY MAKING THIS FABULOUS JAM


This jam is full of fiber and so easy to make. This is what you need:

- 1 cup of prunes, cut up in pieces

- 1 cup of other dried fruits such as figs, apricots or dates also cut up in pieces

- 2 cups of boiling water

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook gently until the water is absorbed or about 15 mins.

Put in a jar while still hot and put the lid on tightly.

It can keep out of the fridge for a while or you can use it straightaway and make it as you run out, as dried fruits can be found all year round.

Eat a heaped tablespoon every day on a rice cake or wholemeal bread, it'll do wonders for your intestinal transit!


Other foods for constipation are discussed in Part 2 and they're dark leafy greens, ginger, honey, rhubarb, squash and coffee.

How about prune juice for constipation? Read the following article to find out how you can benefit from prunes and prune juice.


Print


RELATED PAGES:

Foods That Relieve Constipation and Constipation Prevention

High Fiber Diet Plan

Benefits of Fiber and High Fiber Foods in Your Diet

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Best Fiber Supplement




References:

1) Carper, J., (1988) The Food Pharmacy: Dramatic New Evidence That Food is Your Best Medicine, London: Simon & Schuster Pty Ltd.

2) Duke, J.A., Ph.D.,(2008) The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns, New York; Rodale.

3) Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., (2005) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods London: Time Warner Inc.



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RELATED PAGES:


Causes of Constipation

Symptoms of Constipation and Bowel Transit Time

Foods That Relieve Constipation and Constipation Prevention

High Fiber Diet Plan

Best Foods for Constipation
(Part 1) - Discussing Apples, Beans, Berries, Flaxseed and Dried Fruits

Best Foods for Constipation
(Part 2) - Discussing Dark Leafy Greens, Ginger, Honey, Rhubarb, Squash and Coffee

Prune Juice for Constipation

Benefit of Fiber

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Constipation during Pregnancy