Constipation isn’t the easiest topic of conversation, but it’s a very common condition. According to the National Institute of Health, about 16 of every 100 adult Americans struggle with constipation at some point. For adults ages 60 and up, that number jumps to 33 of every 100.
Sometimes constipation is the result of following a poor diet. Pregnancy, taking certain medications, or having certain GI disorders can also contribute to constipation.
Occasional constipation can be uncomfortable, but chronic constipation can lead to complications like anal fissures if not treated. Eric Ibegbu, MD, and our team at Atlantic Medical Group are experts when it comes to treating chronic constipation.
In the meantime, we’ve created a guide for you to choose the foods known for constipation relief.
What makes a good constipation diet?
The key to a good constipation diet is to find foods that support GI health, including fiber content and probiotic content. Let’s take a look.
Prunes are the most well-known food for relieving the symptoms of constipation. Prunes are particularly effective because they pack a lot of fiber in one bite. Three prunes contain about 8% of your daily recommended serving of fiber, according to the American Heart Association.
If prunes aren’t your favorite fruit, you have plenty of other options, such as:
- Citrus fruits
The key is to look for fruits with high fiber content. To help prevent constipation, include plenty of fiber-rich fruits in your daily meals.
Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of dehydration, so make sure you’re properly hydrated each day. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Other helpful fluids include:
- Drinkable probiotic-rich yogurts
- Bone broth
- Fruit juice (especially the fruits listed in the first section: prune, pear, and apple)
Avoid alcohol, which can make constipation worse.
Eat your greens. Not only are greens rich in vitamins, they can also help ease constipation. Greens contain fiber, which adds bulk to your stools, making them easier to pass. Choose from spinach, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Seeds and grains
In addition to the above foods, seeds and grains can also help ease constipation. Flaxseeds contain fiber, which supports digestive health, but studies show they also act as a natural laxative.
Other options include chia seeds, oat bran, and whole-grain rye bread. Whole-grain rye bread is particularly effective when made traditionally with buttermilk, according to research.
Tip: To make it easier to consume flaxseeds or chia seeds, add them to a spinach smoothie with prune or pear juice.
Foods to avoid
Some foods can make constipation worse, so avoid these if you’re struggling with constipation. Foods that aggravate constipation symptoms include alcohol, processed and refined food, fried food, and red meat.
What about protein? Beans and lentils can provide protein and help alleviate constipation. This could be a suitable way to consume protein without aggravating your constipation symptoms.
If dietary changes aren’t enough
Occasional constipation is normal, but if these dietary changes aren’t enough to relieve constipation, don’t suffer in silence. At Atlanta Medical Group, Dr. Ibegbu can diagnose the cause of chronic constipation and help you get the relief you need.
To learn more about your treatment options, call our Kinston or Jacksonville, North Carolina, clinic today. We also accept remote appointments via TeleHealth.