What Helps With Constipation? 6 Foods to Restore Your Gut

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What helps with constipation? Food that are rich in fiber and a healthy dose of water.
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Tuesday July 9, 2024

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Getting backed up can throw your whole body off. You may start experiencing physical symptoms or generally worry about when you’re going to have a regular movement again. What helps with constipation?

You may be able to get your gut back on track before making an appointment with your doctor. Here are six foods that can help make the go a little easier, as well as a look into why your digestive system may be a little unhappy at the moment.

Why Does Constipation Happen?

According to the National Institute on Aging, there are a host of things that can cause constipation. Firstly, the medications that could be backing you up include:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Some painkillers
  • Antacids with calcium or aluminum
  • Some high blood pressure medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Some allergy medications
  • Antispasmodics
  • Diuretics
  • Parkinson’s medications
  • Anticholinergics

If you’re taking any of these medications and frequently experience constipation, they may be the culprit. Check the side effects to see if it’s common.

Additionally, your lifestyle could cause be distress. If you’re not moving around enough or there’s been a big change in your routine, your body might process food slower. A lack of water and fiber could also be behind the holdup.

Of course, there are also many medical conditions that can cause constipation. Pelvic floor disorders, tumors, irritable bowel syndrome, spinal cord injuries, strokes or Parkinson’s can all make bowel movements a bit more difficult to pass. Additionally, those that affect your metabolism or hormones can have the same effect. If you do choose to go to your doctor about your constipation, they can take all these factors of your medical history into account.

What Helps With Constipation? Try Out These 6 Foods

What helps with constipation? You’re in luck — these six foods come highly recommended. Give them a try if you’ve experienced more than a few days of not going number two or you’re having a hard time passing.

1. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is a powerhouse when it comes to packing fiber. It contains soluble and insoluble fiber — plus, it can help treat type 2 diabetes and female hormone imbalances. Its fiber can even act as a prebiotic that benefits your digestive system and the rest of your body. With their additional antioxidants and omega-3s, these little seeds are a no-brainer to add to your meals.

The seeds have a nice nutty flavor, so they fit well in a variety of dishes. Many add them to their morning oatmeal, but other uses include baking them into baked goods, adding them to sauces or mixing them into pancake batter.

2. Bananas

A banana’s simple sugars and soluble fiber content make it a great food for relieving constipation. Additionally, the soft texture of the food make it easy to pass. However, you need to be careful when you’re picking out a bunch from the grocery store.

Some people like to get green bananas so they have time to ripen, but make sure you don’t eat them until they’re yellow. Green bananas are full of resistant starch, which slows down movement in the digestive tract. If you’re already experiencing a backup, an unripe banana is likely only going to increase the issue.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Another potassium-filled food can also help get your movements more regular. Sweet potatoes combine savory and sweet for a delicious side that’s surprisingly good for you. While they’re great for your liver and blood pressure, the spuds also benefit your digestive tract. Further research is necessary, but a systematic review of 22 papers showed sweet potatoes may improve constipation.

However you’re eating them, be sure to leave the skins on. Another study on the fiber content of sweet potato peels showed they help increase good bacteria and reduce the number of bad bacteria. Researchers additionally note that using the peels is environmentally friendly, so if that’s important to you, know you’re doing a good deed.

4. Oatmeal

Breakfast lovers have plenty of opportunities to improve their digestive tracts. Oatmeal is yet another food that benefits your stool because it’s got a ton of fiber. It makes things bulky enough to move but soft enough to pass through. The instant kind is a bit more processed, but it should have similar nutrient contents because the grains are a bit smaller.

Just be sure you’re drinking enough water if you’re eating a decent amount of oatmeal. The high fiber content can actually cause constipation because fiber absorbs water, making your movements dry out.

5. Prunes

What helps with constipation? Even if you haven’t researched the topic, you’ve probably heard prunes are the way to go. Well, science has proved this old adage is still true.

A study with 84 participants had some drink a cup of 100% prune juice and others drink a placebo for eight weeks. At three weeks, the prune juice group had less lumpy and hard stools, and most of them had regular movements at seven weeks. The scientists still need to do more work to find what exactly in prunes makes them so beneficial to human digestion, but feel free to pour yourself a glass when you need a little help.

6. Nuts

Various nuts are great for constipation. Unsurprisingly, they’re great sources of fiber, but they also contain a great dose of fats that help stool move through the digestive system. In a study of 1,400 European adults, researchers found those who ate more fats from olive oil, butter and nuts had fewer instances of constipation.

Additionally, nuts contain a healthy dose of magnesium. While the mineral has many uses, humans have used it to relieve constipation since the 8th century. It draws water into your intestines for a laxative effect, making the movements softer. Some of the best nuts to eat while constipated are:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts

Proper Nutrition Helps With Constipation

Eating a healthy balance of foods that nourish your gut and pull water into your digestive tract can help relieve the more bothersome symptoms of constipation. Alongside getting enough hydration, try incorporating a few of these foods into your diet for the next few weeks. If things don’t clear up, it’s always important to talk to your physician to see if there’s a more concrete explanation.

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