ZocdocAnswersWhat foods relieve constipation?

Question

What foods relieve constipation?

What foods are best for constipation? I've been constipated on and off for a while, and I want to take this into account in my diet, but I can't figure out a consistent pattern. Fiber just doesn't seem to make much difference, but maybe I'm not eating it in the right quantities?

Answer

Questions about constipation and a healthy diet are best addressed by a primary care physician. A nutritionist may also be a helpful resource in this setting. Regular bowel movements can vary greatly from person to person . What is normal for one individual may not be normal for another. Overall, most people tend to have at least three bowel movements a week. There are several dietary and lifestyle strategies that can be helpful in promoting regular bowel movements. First, it is important to stay hydrated. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will help ensure that material in the bowels keeps moving throughout the digestive tract. It is important to remember that caffeinated beverages can actually cause dehydration through the diuretic effects of caffeine. Next, it is important to have sufficient fiber and what is termed roughage (or bulk) in the diet. The best sources for this are fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when eaten raw, and whole grains such as whole wheat, bran, oatmeal, or barley. Specific fruits, including prunes or plums, also contain compounds that can function as a natural laxative and promote regular bowel movements. Finally, regular exercise in addition to a healthy diet is also important to promote regular bowel movements.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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