Constipation's cardinal symptoms are passing stools less than three times per week, straining, lumpy or hard stools, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, feeling blocked, or being unable to pass a stool.
If you frequently experience any of the above, you should incorporate the following food items, that are known to soften stool, add bulk, and decrease gut transit time, into your diet:
1. Citrus Fruits
This includes oranges, lemons, mandarins, and grapefruits. They are some of the most accessible fruits worldwide and come with a lot of benefits to your gut because of their high fiber and naringenin content.
Citrus fruits (and their peels) also contain soluble fiber pectin, which is known to quicken colon movement and so, reduce constipation.
Eat figs for their fiber content. They are commonly recommended to people battling chronic constipation because they promote healthy bowel movements and strengthen the gut.
Also, figs contain ficain, an enzyme that is thought to contribute to bowel function's positive effects.
Like the two mentions above, prunes contain a high amount of fiber; the American Heart Association advise eating at least 28 grams of prunes (which equates 2g of fiber) each day to fight constipation.
Prunes also contain sorbitol, which is known to act as a laxative effect in some people, and phenolic compounds that aid the function of beneficial gut microbes.
4. Oat Bran
Oat Bran is the outer shell of the oat grain, and it is a potent source of fiber. Many studies have since proven that it is highly beneficial to people with constipation.
For optimum enjoyment, you can combine oat bran with cereal, granola mixes, or add them to pastries.
5. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes contain a high amount of fiber to help fight constipation. These are the soluble fiber pectin and insoluble fibers in the form of cellulose and lignin.
Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, so you're never at a loss for cooking inspiration.
Pears contain more sorbitol and fructose, which act as laxatives in the gut, than most other fruits. A medium-size pear can also provide you with about 5.5 grams of fiber, which makes it a positive recommendation for alleviating constipation.
Apples are a rich source of fiber; they contain both insoluble and soluble (pectin) forms. Eating one medium-sized apple with the skin will give you 4.4 grams of fiber that can significantly improve bowel functions.
8. Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds
Chia seeds have an enormous amount of fiber; a mere ounce of chia seeds contains 10.6 grams of fiber! On the other hand, flaxseeds are recommended because of their laxative effects in the gut.
You can incorporate these into foods you eat daily like a cereal bowl, yogurt, ice cream, salads, etc.
9. Spinach and Other Vegetables
The importance of eating vegetables can never be overemphasized because of their many nutritional benefits. They are packed with excellent fiber content and other vital vitamins that are good for your gut's daily functioning.
10. Beans, Peas, and Lentils
These are pulses or leguminous foods full of fiber and proteins, which makes them a positive recommendation for people with chronic constipation.
Just 1 cup (about 182 grams) of cooked navy beans contains a whopping 19.1 grams of fiber!
Other notable foods you can eat are whole-grain rye bread, kiwi fruit, artichokes, and kefir.
Overall, you'll find that fruits and vegetables dominate this list because they are known for their high fiber and vitamin content. So, never forget that one fruit each day can keep the doctor away!