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11 Foods for Constipation Relief and Bowel Movement Support

The Cabinet — 07.09.24

We've all been there — feeling sluggish and bloated and like nothing is moving quite right. Let's face it, constipation is no one’s friend, but it's common enough that we should talk about it. 

At Hilma, we believe in tackling such unwelcome guests with natural solutions that work in harmony with your body. So, if you're looking for gentle, effective remedies that support your body's own processes, or if you simply want to learn more about dietary choices that can help maintain regularity, keep reading.

What Is Constipation? 

Constipation is a difficulty emptying bowels and/or a reduction in bowel movements. Some define constipation as fewer than three bowel movements a week. However, the definition can vary based on what is normal for an individual. 

What Are the Signs You're Constipated?

Wondering if you're really constipated or just off your "regular" schedule? Here are some telltale signs that your digestive tract could use a little help:

What Could Be Causing Constipation? 

Constipation can often be referred to as “simple” or “functional.” In simple constipation, the constipation may be due to lifestyle factors such as low dietary fiber, inadequate water intake, or physical inactivity. 

Functional constipation, on the other hand, describes a physical change within the intestines, such as an obstruction. Constipation could additionally be a symptom of an underlying condition such as IBS or colorectal cancer. 

Looking for food for constipation relief? Here are 11 foods that do just that. 

1. Papaya

Papaya is a tropical fruit known for containing the digestive enzyme papain, which helps break down proteins and facilitate easier digestion. This enzymatic action can encourage smoother bowel movements, making papaya an excellent choice for easing constipation. For optimal benefits, consuming the whole fruit is recommended, as it also provides a good amount of fiber, further aiding in digestion and regularity.

2. Pineapple

Pineapple is another tropical delight, rich in the enzyme bromelain. Like papain in papaya, bromelain assists in protein digestion, which can help streamline the digestive process and promote regular bowel movements. Including pineapple in your diet not only aids digestion but also adds a hydrating element due to its high water content, which is beneficial for preventing constipation.

3. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain dietary fiber, which can help act as a bulk laxative to encourage movement through the intestines. Flaxseeds additionally contain omega-3 fatty acids, the fats responsible for reducing inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, constipation does involve inflammation since the “trash” is backed up. 

4. Coffee

You may easily be familiar with coffee’s association with the bathroom. Some people’s bathroom routine is tied to their morning cup of coffee. Coffee can help stimulate the GI tract and encourage movement. 

5. Oatmeal 

Oats contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. I often think of insoluble fiber as a huge broom, helping collect and pull food through our intestines. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. Together, both insoluble and soluble fiber help produce regular movement in a comfortable consistency from our stomach to our butt.

6. Prunes and Prune Juice

Prunes, known for their natural laxative effects, are an excellent choice for constipation relief. They not only contain a high amount of fiber but also sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as a natural stool softener by drawing water into the intestines. This dual action helps to ease constipation effectively. 

Prune juice, although containing less fiber than whole prunes, still offers significant benefits due to its concentration of sorbitol. For a gentle remedy, try consuming a few prunes daily or a small glass of prune juice.

7. Whole Grains

Incorporating whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and barley into your diet is another effective way to prevent and relieve constipation. These foods are rich in insoluble fiber, which helps to speed the passage of food through the digestive system and adds bulk to stool. A diet rich in whole grains can provide the necessary grams of fiber to maintain regular bowel movements and support overall gut health.

8. Legumes

Legumes, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are powerhouse sources of fiber. A single cup of cooked lentils provides about 15 grams of fiber, covering a significant portion of your daily fiber needs. 

The high fiber content in legumes helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation. They also offer additional health benefits like improving heart health and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

9. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are not only a great source of fiber but also contain omega-3 fatty acids and can absorb water to form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This quality helps to soften stool and make it easier to pass, effectively reducing symptoms of constipation. You can add chia seeds to your morning cereal, yogurt, or smoothies to effortlessly increase your fiber intake.

10. Kiwi

This small fruit might be underestimated in its constipation-relieving power. Kiwi is rich in fiber and has an enzyme called actinidin that helps improve bowel movements. Studies have shown that consuming two kiwis per day can significantly improve stool frequency and consistency, making it a delicious and effective option for maintaining digestive health.

11. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but are also a rich source of fiber, with both soluble and insoluble types, making them excellent for digestive health. They help prevent and alleviate constipation by adding bulk and softening stools. Sweet potatoes are versatile and can be baked, mashed, or roasted, making them an easy addition to any meal for enhanced gut health.

How Can You Support Healthy Bowel Movements Naturally?

Sometimes, even with a diet rich in fiber, constipation can still be a stubborn guest. If you find that food alone isn't quite doing the trick, consider these additional natural strategies to support healthy bowel movements and enhance your digestive wellness.

Incorporate Probiotics Into Your Routine

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that play an essential role in maintaining gut health by balancing the gut microbiome. This balance is crucial for effective digestion and can help soothe symptoms of constipation. 

Our Daily Pre + Probiotic + Herbs is more than just a probiotic — it's a comprehensive blend that nurtures your gut health daily. It combines the benefits of prebiotics and soothing digestive herbs, making it an excellent choice for those looking to support their digestive system naturally and effectively.

Stay Hydrated With Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water is often underestimated in its ability to prevent constipation. Water keeps the digestive system lubricated and helps fiber work better, which both can ease constipation and promote regularity. 

Aim for half your body weight in ounces, and consider hydrating soups and other high-water content foods like cucumbers and tomatoes as part of your diet.

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity can increase muscle activity in your intestines. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can significantly improve your bowel function. This movement helps stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles, pushing stool through your digestive system.

Consider Magnesium Citrate for Evening Relief

Magnesium is a mineral that has a natural laxative effect by drawing water into the intestines, which softens the stool and makes it easier to pass. Taking magnesium citrate before bed can help relax your bowel muscles and provide a gentle, natural solution to constipation. 

Our Gentle Bowel Movement Support, formulated with magnesium citrate, offers a drug-free way to stay regular without harsh side effects. Use it nightly to encourage healthy, reliable bowel movements and wake up feeling refreshed.

Limit High-Fat and Processed Foods

While fats are an essential part of a healthy diet, too many high-fat and processed foods can slow down your digestive system. Try to balance these foods with high-fiber options that promote digestion, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

By incorporating these foods and strategies into your daily routine, you're taking significant steps toward supporting your digestive health and achieving more regular bowel movements. Blending the right diet with practical lifestyle changes can make a substantial difference in your overall comfort and gut health. 

However, if you're dealing with persistent or severe constipation, it's wise to consult with a healthcare professional. They can offer personalized guidance and help uncover any deeper health concerns.

This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.


Constipation - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Kiwifruit proteins and enzymes: actinidin and other significant proteins | PMC

Bromelain: A Potent Phytomedicine | PMC

The Benefits of Beans and Legumes | American Heart Association

How much water should I drink a day? | Harvard Health

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