About 14% people suffer from constipation at one or another time during their life span. The main symptom of constipation is that they pass fewer stools than the normal, say around thrice a week. The stools strain, become hard, feeling blockage or are unable to get them out. Even after they finish doing the job, they get a sensational feeling that they didn’t evacuate completely.
The severity of constipation varies in different persons, to some constipation occurs rarely, while in others it becomes a chronic condition, constipation can happen due to several reasons but the most common being the slow movement of food through their digestive canals. It may be due to poor diet, dehydration, sickness, getting some sort of diseases or a nervous system gets disturbed or some mental trouble.
But thank the nature for bestowing some natural foods that can cure constipation occurring due to any reason. They just soften the stools, add bulk to your stools, reducing the gut transit time and enhancing the frequency of stools.
Best Foods to Eat When You Are Constipated
- An apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” this line holds true here because apples have an abundance of fiber. On an average a medium sized apple with its skin (182 grams) has 4.4 grams of fiber, which is about 17% of the total required by the body for the whole day. Around 2.8 % is insoluble and 1.2 gram is soluble, mostly a kind of dietary fiber known as pectin.
- Fiber plays the role of a pipe cleaner, scrubbing food and wastage from your digestive canal and absorbs water. Bulk is added to your stool, giving the chance to the muscles of your GI tract something to grab on to, so that they can keep food moving along.
- Pectin gets fermented by bacteria to create short chain fatty acids that pull the water into the colon area, thus softening the stools and lubricating the colon canals so that transit time is decreased. A study was conducted on this process and found to be true and it also enhanced the number of good bacteria in the intestines & the gut.
- A practical was done on mice fed with morphine that causes constipation and then feeding apples enhanced their frequency of passing stools.
- Apples enhance the fiber content in your diet and eliminate constipation. You can eat them raw after cleaning them with water, can squeeze their juice and drink it, used as a salad dressing. Granny Smith apples have more fiber than the usual.
- If you are constipated and are having additional fiber, better drink more water than required as this will keep your stools soft and easy to pass.
- Having figs is a great way of enhancing your fiber intake and thus promote healthy bowel movements. You just need a medium sized raw fig about 50 grams has 1.6 grams of fiber in it. Half a cup of dried figs of about 75 grams has 7.3 grams of fiber, around 30% of your daily need.
- A study was conducted to find the effects of figs in constipation and it revealed after a 3 week period that fig paste enhanced the stool weight and reduced intestinal transit time.
- Another research was done on 40 persons with constipation and it revealed that taking 300 grams of fig paste every day for 16 weeks continuously helped accelerate the colonic transit, improved stool consistency and eliminated the stomach discomfort.
- Actually fig has an ingredient called ficain, an enzyme which resembles the enzyme of kiwifruit called actinidain.
- Along with the high fiber content, it shows the positive effects on bowel movements, making it go regular.
- Figs are a gluttony snack in itself, but also pairs very well with both sweet and savory recipes.
- They can be eaten in raw condition or can be added after cooking or drying them and eaten along with pizza or cheese, or these can also be baked along with your routine dishes or serves as a dressing on your salads.
- Citrus fruits like mandarins, grapefruit and tangy orange have proven to be a great refreshing snack and also provide your body with a fair amount of fiber.
- An orange of around 131 grams has 3.1 gram of fiber, which is about 13% of your daily need of the body to function properly.
- Whereas 1 grapefruit of around 236 grams has 2.6 grams of fiber, meaning it provides 10% of your daily need.
- These fruits also contain the soluble fiber called pectin that speeds up the chronic transit time and thus a reduction in constipation becomes inevitable.
- It also has a flavanol called naringenin, which has positive effects on constipation, causing a laxative effect, but this study is not explored much, needs more research.
The best way to eat such fruits is that they are fresh & ripened so that they provide the maximum amount of fiber and vitamin C. A grapefruit can be cut in half and had as breakfast and oranges & mandarin goes as a handy snack that can be eaten at any time during the day.
- Drinking a glass juice of Lemon is the most common among Indians in the evenings, especially during the summer as it quenches the thirst and you don’t feel like having any fluid thing for some time. It also acts as a stimulant to your digestive system, flushes out all the toxins present in your digestive tracts, so provides constipation relief.
- Drink a glass of lemon drink early in the morning to avail the maximum benefits. Squeeze fresh lemon in a glass of filtered water and stir well, drink this glass to feel fresh and full of enthusiasm
- You can also sip the hot lemon tea to find relief from constipation. It also helps you drink more water than normal which improves your long term digestion.
Other Fruits and veggies
- There are several other fruits & veggies that prove to be a joker in the pack that can cure your constipation in a natural and humble way.
- You don’t need to feel the pain if these are found to be grown in an organic way, such as a tablespoon of natural nut butter on fruit or a toast salad with fiber rich leafy greens and a simple olive oil dressing, a small handful of nuts, mint tea, ginger tea, bran cereals, beans, lentils, oatmeal, almonds, barley, many green leafy vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, sesame seeds, coffee, raisins, prunes and 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses before you hit the sack should help ease your constipation by the morning.
- There are many more, but these are the ones that are easily available in the market, just be aware that all are organic and you visit your doctor before proceeding, he/she can give adorable advice.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.