Read on to learn the best foods doctors recommend to relieve constipation, the best fluids to drink for the same effect, and the foods that could be making your constipation even worse.
Best foods to relieve constipation
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet. But most people in the United States don’t get enough of it. This could be because the average American diet is high in fat and artificial ingredients, while fiber is most often found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods.
If you’re feeling constipated, a lack of sufficient fiber could be the reason behind your discomfort. You can easily add a few servings of high-fiber foods to your diet to increase your intake — and hopefully help get things moving again.
Fiber helps maintain proper digestion. It also adds bulk and weight to stools so they can more easily move through your digestive tract.
Consider adding some of the following foods to your plate:
- Fruit — such as prunes, pears, and apples
- Vegetables — including spinach and kale
- Legumes — these include peas, beans, and lentils
- Seeds — such as flaxseeds or chia seeds
- True whole grains — such as oat bran and whole grain rye.
But before you increase your fiber intake: Realize that doing so without changing the amount of fluid you are drinking could have disastrous results. Eating too much fiber without fluids will make whatever constipation you’re dealing with now worse than you could have imagined possible.
What to drink
Many people’s go-to when worrying about their poop (or lack thereof) is prune juice. Prunes are high in fiber and can help clear up that “blockage” making you miserable.
Prune juice is fine, if you can tolerate the taste. But you can also take prunes and add them to your cereal or oatmeal, a smoothie, a salad, or even something you bake, such as cookies.
There’s also nothing wrong with good, old-fashioned water. Part of your problem may be that you aren’t adequately hydrated — one reason drinking prune juice might have a benefit over eating prunes.
Drinking water is especially important if you’re going to start increasing your fiber intake. To start, try drinking at least six to eight glasses per day if you aren’t already.
Foods that make constipation worse
While there are many foods — and plenty of beverages — you can drink to help relieve constipation, there are also a handful of food types you should avoid. These include:
- Refined grains — including white bread, white rice, and most desserts
- Fried foods
- Dairy products — including cheese and yogurt
- Red meat — including steak, pork, and beef.
Basically, you want to limit the amount of added sugar you’re putting into your body until the issue is resolved. You also don’t want to make things worse by adding foods that slow down your digestive system.
Fried foods, red meat, and dairy products are high in fat, which can either increase your risk of becoming constipated or make constipation you already have even worse.