But the biggest question is whether your constipation is acute or chronic.
Acute constipation is occasional and brief and can be the result of things like traveling, illness or making unwise diet choices the day before.
Although many people rely on laxatives to relieve acute constipation, there are foods that can be just as effective—and you don’t run the risk of dependence or making your bowels lazy!
Here are some fiber-rich foods that can get things moving along for you—FAST.
Prunes and beyond—foods that relieve constipation
Prunes are known for their fiber—one tiny prune contains about one gram of fiber, which is pretty impressive. Plus their natural sugars can have a laxative effect.
Kiwi might not necessary come to mind when you think “fiber” but they’re no slouch. One cup of kiwi provides five grams of fiber, plus vitamin C.
Oranges offer so much more than just vitamin C. One large orange contains four grams of constipation-relieving fiber for a mere 86 calories.
Oatmeal is a fiber superstar. Just a half-cup of dry oats contains two grams of insoluble fiber and two grams of soluble fiber. Together, these two types of fiber help bulk up stool, soften it and make it easier to pass. The key here is to go for REAL oats—not the sugary, flavored instant varieties.
Spinach not only packs four grams of fiber per cup cooked, but it's also an excellent natural source of magnesium—a common ingredient in commercial laxatives. Magnesium is needed for your colon to contract properly (called peristalsis) which moves stool through your system.
Water is essential for smooth bowel movements. If you’re not drinking at least eight 8-oz. glasses a day, time to start upping your water intake.
Beans are the subject of many gas-related jokes, but the fact remains that they are rich in fiber and can help relieve constipation. If beans tend to make you gassy, try soaking them before cooking (if using dried beans) or eat them with a tossed salad to improve digestibility. All varieties are fair game—kidney, black, cannellini, garbanzo, pinto, etc.
Yogurt helps to replenish the beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract which helps encourage smooth bowel movements. Stick to varieties without added sugar or sweetened fruit.
Grape juice (even more so than prune juice!) can be a very effective natural laxative. Seek out the Concord grape (purple) varieties.
Green beans are a bit more forgiving when it comes to causing gas, but they still contain four grams of fiber per one-cup serving, making them a good constipation remedy.
If constipation is a fairly regular companion for you, chances are good you’ve crossed over into the land of chronic constipation.
With chronic constipation, you need to take a deeper look into what may be causing it and address the underlying causes. But the good news is there are very effective natural ways to get relief from chronic constipation and enjoy regular bowel movements!
Check out the constipation information section of our website for some excellent long-term suggestions that will help get things moving and KEEP them moving for you!