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Foods that help with constipation

Last updated 1 month ago | By Rachel Murugi

Constipation can cause a lot of discomfort (Photo: Shutterstock)

Constipation can cause so much discomfort. It can be mild enough that you can go about your day and severe enough that it inhibits your normal functioning. 

The following foods will help soften your stool and ease your bowel movement. 

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Vegetables 

One of the best ways of preventing constipation is increasing your intake of vegetables. Fill your plate with vegetables for an assured dose of fiber to ensure your bowel movement is smooth. Vegetables not only provide your body with fiber, but are packed with a wide range of nutrients that are good for your health. Try as much as possible not to overcook vegetables as they may lose some if not all their nutrients. Stick to eating them steamed or raw in salads or soups. Examples of vegetables that help relieve constipation are; kale, spinach, lettuce and the famous broccoli. Broccoli is popular as a remedy for constipation. It contains sulforaphane that helps ease digestion and protect the digestive system for quicker bowel movements. It is low in calories and is a good way to incorporate fiber in your body. Just like other vegetables, eat this veggie raw as cooking it reduces its nutrients and fiber content and this beats the reasons for eating it. For additional taste, season your broccoli with salt pepper and a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. 

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Whole grains 

These are packed with insoluble fiber that doesn't dissolve in water providing moisture to the stool and speeding up the flow of materials throughout the intestines. For better bowel movement ensure to switch all refined grains with whole grain options like brown rice, brown bread and brown flour. Whole grains are also low in fat making them a good alternative to curb constipation. 

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Fruits 

Fruits like apples, plums and pears are helpful in easing constipation as they are high in dietary fiber. These foods are good options as their fiber is also in their edible skins. The fruits mentioned above also help ameliorate digestion as they have high levels of water and certain compounds including fiber, fructose and sorbitol. Although it is recommended to eat fruits raw and with their skins still in place for maximum benefits dried fruits are also good in fiber. These include fruits like dates and dried apricots. Constipation can really get you bloated so eat fruits daily. 

Pulses 

These are a good source of fiber, foliate, zinc, potassium and vitamin B6 that help ease digestion and relieve constipation. Their versatility makes them easier to add to any diet. They include; beans, lentils and peas. Toss them in your soups, salads, and pasta dishes. Although legumes especially legumes are rich in fiber they can tend to really get one gassy and bloated. To reduce this, soak them overnight then clean them again before boiling them.

Nuts

Among the best sources of fiber, a serving of nuts daily goes a long way in easing bowel movement. Some examples include; walnuts, peanuts and almonds. Add them to your cereal and salads in a considerable amount as nuts can have a high calorie level especially if eaten in extreme. So check your portions and be sure to chew them properly so as to prevent indigestion. 

Lastly ensure that you drink water throughout the day. If you stay dehydrated your body will take up water from your intestine to redeem the water needed leading to constipation. Keep your glass of water close to avoid hard, dry and lumpy stools.

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