Foods to help improve constipation

Just about everyone experiences constipation at some point in their lives, and one factor holds true across the board: you want relief as quickly as possible.

One area to examine if you are struggling with constipation is your diet. Everything we consume passes through the gastrointestinal tract and has a direct impact on the quality and consistency of our bowel movements. There are many foods that help sustain a healthy bowel and others that can create a problem. Eating healthy, fiber-rich foods and maintaining a balanced diet go a long way to preventing and relieving constipation.

How Fiber Helps Relieve Constipation

Most Americans don’t consume enough fiber. The American Dietetic Association recommends up to 38 grams per day for men and up to 25 grams per day for women, but the average person consumes about 13 grams of fiber daily.1  Everyone’s daily fiber recommendations are different, including individuals with SCI, so it’s important to consult with a doctor before determining the amount that is right for you.

Fiber is divided into two categories; soluble and insoluble. Both are helpful in relieving constipation and maintaining a healthy bowel. 

Soluble fiber helps retain more water in the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. Foods with soluble fiber include nuts, beans, blueberries, oatmeal, and apples.

Insoluble fiber makes stool bulkier which aids in the passage of stool through the intestines so that it doesn’t slow down and make you constipated. Examples of foods with insoluble fiber include whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and the skins/peels of fruits.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Relieving Constipation

Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, but which ones are the best? Fruits that are high in fiber include:

  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries

If you tend to be on the go often, many fruits are available in dried form, which makes them easier to take with you on the road.

Vegetables that are high in fiber include: 

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Broccoli

Best Whole Grains for Constipation Relief

One way to quickly incorporate more fiber into your diet is to switch from white rice and flour to whole grain rice and flour. Other beneficial whole grain options include: 

  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Bulgar

Nuts and Seeds that are High in Fiber

It’s not always practical to have fruits and vegetables on hand. Nuts and seeds are great snack options to help boost your daily fiber intake, such as:

  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Flax seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chia seeds

You can add seeds to a smoothie with fruits and vegetables for a healthy meal option that is packed with fiber.

Be sure to also drink plenty of water. Water and fiber work together to keep stool moving through your body and keep constipation at bay.

Foods to Avoid When Constipated

Just as the above-listed foods are great for getting your bowels moving, there are some foods to avoid. If your diet includes many of these and you find you are constipated too often, try moderating or eliminating these from your diet:

  • Fast food
  • Chips
  • Prepared or processed foods (snacks and meals)
  • Dairy products
  • Fried food
  • Red meat
  • Refined sugar

In addition to these foods, reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol, as they dehydrate your system and contribute to constipation.

Enemeez® Mini Enemas

The Enemeez® formulation is a hyperosmotic, stool-softening laxative that works by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues. The docusate sodium in this mini enema product prepares the stool to readily mix with watery fluids. It softens and loosens stool and initiates a normal, replicated bowel movement, typically within 2-15 minutes.

Enemeez® Plus is the same formulation as Enemeez®, with the addition of 20mg of benzocaine, assisting in the anesthetization of the rectum and lower bowel. This formulation was developed for patients who experience autonomic dysreflexia, hemorrhoids, fissures, or painful bowel movements.

 

Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Quest Healthcare, A Division of Quest Products, LLC, does not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2021 Quest Healthcare, A Division of Quest Products, LLC.

 

Sources: 

1How Fiber Helps Ease Constipation | Everyday Health

Dietary Fiber: Insoluble and Soluble Fiber (webmd.com)

Best Foods to Eat When You Are Constipated (verywellhealth.com)

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation | NIDDK (nih.gov)