The 15 Best Foods to Relieve Constipation

Constipation is when a person finds it difficult to pass stool or has very few bowel movements. This condition may last only for a few days or up to several months depending on the cause. The leading cause of this health condition is a blockage, often due to a low fiber diet. It could also result from changes in the irregular eating pattern or physical inactivity. Common symptoms include severe pain, bloody stools, or irregular bowel movements that last for several weeks. It may also cause a tear in the lining of the anus, known as anal fissure. Anal fissure occurs when passing hard or large stools. The difficulty in bowel movements may irritate the lining of the anus. It may crack the skin, causing severe pain and bleeding, during and after defecation. It is best to seek immediate medical attention for a better diagnosis when you start to experience any symptoms.

The symptoms usually improve when treatment starts. Constipation may or may not be due to an underlying illness.

Common causes of this constipation include:

  • Medication side effects
  • Lack of exercise (physical inactivity)
  • Dehydration
  • Low fiber diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone fluctuations

There are various treatments to relieve constipation, such as:

  • Eating high-fibre foods
  • Staying hydrated (drinking eight or more glasses of water per day)
  • Laxatives including stool softeners (medication for constipation)
  • Physical activities (workouts or exercises)
  • Sticking to an eating routine

Let’s take a look at the fifteen best foods to relieve constipation.  [1]

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, and mandarin are excellent sources of dietary fiber. [2] A cup of orange contains four grams of fiber. One large orange provides up to eighteen percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI). The common fibers in citrus fruits are pectin, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Fiber provides multiple health benefits, such as aiding digestion and promoting weight loss.

Pectin, a type of fiber that is concentrated in the peel of citrus fruits, speeds up digestion and promotes bowel movements. Oranges and other citrus fruits also contain a flavanol called naringenin, which studies have shown to contribute to the relief of occasional constipation. This flavonoid induces laxative effects like increasing secretion of fluid into the colon, which keeps the stool soft and easy to pass.

This class of fruits are best eaten fresh to enjoy the maximum amount of dietary fiber and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). You can enjoy any of the citrus fruits as a snack or include them in your salad for a more nutritious meal.