A sensation of incomplete evacuation, feeling blocked or being unable to pass a stool.
The type and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people experience constipation only rarely, while for others it’s a chronic condition.
Constipation has a variety of causes but is often the result of slow movement of food through the digestive system.
This may be due to dehydration, poor diet, medications, illness, diseases affecting the nervous system or mental disorders.
Fortunately, certain foods can help relieve constipation by adding bulk, softening the stool, decreasing gut transit time and increasing stool frequency.
Here are 4 foods that can help relieve constipation and keep you regular:
Pears are particularly high in fructose and sorbitol, compared to other fruits. Fructose is a type of sugar that is poorly absorbed in some people. This means that some of it end up in the colon, where it pulls in water by osmosis, stimulating a bowel movement.
Pears also contain the sugar alcohol sorbitol. Like fructose, sorbitol is not well absorbed in the body and acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines.
One study in 80 people with constipation found that pectin can accelerate the movement of the stool through the intestines, improve symptoms of constipation and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Apples are an easy way to boost the fibre content of your diet and alleviate constipation. You can eat them whole, juiced or in salads or baked goods.
Citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruits and mandarins are a refreshing snack and a good source of fibre. It is also rich in the soluble fibre pectin, especially in the peel. Pectin can accelerate colonic transit time and reduce constipation
In addition, citrus fruits contain a flavanol called naringenin, which may contribute to the positive effects of citrus fruits on constipation.
Greens such as spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are not only rich in fibre but also great sources of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.
These greens help add bulk and weight to stools, which makes them easier to pass through the gut. To get spinach into your diet, try adding it to a quiche, pie or soup. Baby spinach or tender greens can be added raw to salads or sandwiches for a fibre boost.