Foods to Eat to Help With Constipation

Updated on December 21, 2017
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Nicole is a registered nurse. She uses what she has learned on the job to inspire and encourage others to take control of their health.

What Can I Take to Relieve Constipation?

We've all dealt with constipation at some point in our lives. Maybe you're even dealing with it right now, and that's why you've come across this article. There are many different foods that you can eat to help relieve constipation, but there are also foods you should be eating to prevent constipation. Before going out and buying laxatives, stool softeners, or enemas, try some natural and tasty home remedies. Sometimes, the natural way is much more healthy than the obvious way.

Adequate water intake will relieve and prevent constipation.
Adequate water intake will relieve and prevent constipation. | Source

Drink Your Water

Water lubricates the stool moving through your colon. If there's no water for the stool to absorb while it's making its way through your colon (large intestine), then you will end up with a hardened stool that will get stuck.

Medical professionals recommend at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water daily, but this isn't realistic for everyone. If you really cannot stand the taste of water, add some crystal light or fusion powder to your water. Or, simply add a teaspoon of sugar and lemon to spruce it up.

Prunes for Fiber

Your mother used to make you drink prune juice, and now I'm going to tell you to add them to your weekly diet. Prunes will help get things moving along quite nicely. I used prunes just last week for constipation, and I had a successful bowel movement thereafter.

Prunes are extremely high in fiber, and fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract. Fiber is bulk, and your digestive system needs bulk in order to move waste effectively. Don't like the way prunes taste? Try prune juice over ice, or mix it with other juices—get creative. You can't overdo prunes!

Prunes add fiber to your diet, which helps to keep bowels moving smoothly.
Prunes add fiber to your diet, which helps to keep bowels moving smoothly.

Other High-Fiber Fruits

Not a fan of prunes? Consider the following fruit alternatives:

  • cranberries
  • dried apricots
  • figs
  • dates
  • raisins

Dried fruit is high in fiber, just like prunes, and will help keep your bowels moving. Add it to your daily diet and prevent constipation from recurring. There are many other foods in the fruit group that are high in fiber, but dried fruit works tremendously and quickly from my experience.

Alfalfa sprouts contain beneficial digestive enzymes.
Alfalfa sprouts contain beneficial digestive enzymes. | Source

Alfalfa Offers Beneficial Enzymes

Alfalfa sprouts are easy to find and fairly inexpensive to buy. You can find them in the produce section at pretty much every grocery store. Many people dislike the taste of alfalfa sprouts and claim they taste like grass. All that aside, they are EXTREMELY good for your digestive system.

Traditional Chinese practitioners have known about the cleansing benefits of alfalfa. The sprouts contain eight essential digestive enzymes. Not to mention, alfalfa is high in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for other purposes. If you don't like the taste, sprinkle some over a sandwich between lettuce slices. You will barely notice that they're there! Slap them on a salad, or grind them up and put them in a stir-fry. The options are limitless.

Amalaki, an edible fruit, is incorporated into triphala, an Ayurvedic remedy said to relieve constipation.
Amalaki, an edible fruit, is incorporated into triphala, an Ayurvedic remedy said to relieve constipation. | Source

Herbal Remedies

Maybe you haven't heard about herbs and how healthy they can be for your body. You're going to hear it now. Here are some herbs that are easy to acquire and easy to add to meals to help with constipation.

Triphala

Triphala is an old herbal remedy rooted in the traditional Ayurvedic medicine of India. It is an herb blend of three fruits, amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Triphala is said to be a rejuvenating and non-habit forming colon cleanser and tonifier. It can be found in pill form and also as a tea. Add it to your fruit shake or smoothie in the mornings!

Don't take triphala if you are pregnant and/or experiencing diarrhea.

Turmeric is a natural remedy for constipation that can be incorporated into beverages.
Turmeric is a natural remedy for constipation that can be incorporated into beverages. | Source

Turmeric

Tumeric is said to be healthy for the digestive tract, and there are even studies investigating turmeric as a potential aid for curing bowel cancer. Who doesn't want this as a part of their diet? Add turmeric to rice and soups, or ingest it in Persian and Indian cuisine.

© 2012 Nicole Canfield

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  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 22 months ago from the Ether

    Valene - Whatever works!

  • Valene profile image

    Valene 22 months ago from Missouri

    I find my menstrual cycle has a lot to do with my bowel habits and sometimes regardless of what I eat or drink, I just get bound up, especially right before my period. However, I have successfully used the Triphala and will continue to keep it in my arsenal against constipation.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    The prune juice is always good for the older adults that are having issues, but you're right...they should be drinking water and most of them refuse to.

  • lucybell21 profile image

    Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

    I never really have problem.Some of my residents do tho, and I have to give them prune juice.Most of them need to drink more water tho, which they won't.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Joyce - Try the herbs too. And please drink a lot of water. Good luck, sweetie.

  • writer20 profile image

    Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

    Medications have done this to me. I will get the dried fruit you suggested to have with cereal. Thank you.

    Voted up useful and interesting, Joyce.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Peg - No problem, any time! I have to remind myself to drink lots of fluids too.

    Lady_E - Haha...I got ya. Agreed.

    Lipnancy - I agree, apples and green leafy veggies are also awesome to help with constipation. Thanks!

  • Lipnancy profile image

    Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

    Great hub. Apples and Green Leafy vegetables seem to work very well too. So does oatmeal.

  • Lady_E profile image

    Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

    Lol at the first line of the first comment. Mmmh...

    Very useful Hub, its better to eat these natural foods than take medication.

    Thanks

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    This is great information on a subject most of us want to forget. But as we age and our health habits take their toll it can become a source of discomfort and worse. Thanks for these ideas and for the reminder to drink lots of liquids.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Thanks, Bopeli! Absolutely papaya is a great food to eat to help with constipation!

  • Bopeli profile image

    Bopeli 5 years ago from Cambodia

    Good hub hah, and one more fruit that can help reducing Constipation is papaya/

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Ann - Good for you! :)

  • AnnRandolph profile image

    AnnRandolph 5 years ago

    Good information. What else can I say. I'm proud to state I'm regular.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    DzyMsLizzy - Yes, sounds like someone that I took care of in the rehab hospital. This man that I knew was 75 and looked like he was about 95! It was really sad, and he was a mess...had a bowel obstruction from not eating well and being stubborn, just as you mentioned of the person you know. Immobility is a killer too. You have to be mobile in order to keep a good digestive system...heck, to keep your body working right in general! Thanks for commenting, and here's to healthy digestive systems for the two of us! :)

    livingpah2004 - Yes, thanks!

  • profile image

    livingpah2004 5 years ago

    Prune is good to relive constipation. Well written Hub. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL--good job with a rather 'indelicate' subject. Luckily, that problem is not even in my vocabulary. I tend to have an over-sensitivity to fiber instead. I LOVE prunes, but I don't dare eat them!

    One fellow we know, however became so bound up he had to be hospitalized for a week...and I won't go into what had to be done to him. It was very serious--he could have died. Why did this happen? Because he is about 70 years old and more stubborn than a mule. He had a heart attack about 5 years ago, and allowed himself to become so fearful that he literally sits in a recliner watching TV all day and night, sucking on oxygen which he does not need (in the hospital, his "perfusion" rate without it was just fine).

    He will not walk any further than from his recliner to the table to eat, and back again, or to go "pee." He lives in that chair--sleeping off and on 24/7/365. Even after the hospital experience, he refuses to eat vegetables, fruit or salads because he "doesn't like them," stating that he's an adult and can eat or refuse to eat whatever he chooses. I can't see him coming to a good end.

    Voted up.