9 Foods to Relieve Constipation

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Amy Rushlow on May 7, 2021
  • fruits and vegetables
    Find Relief Through Fiber
    Nearly everyone becomes constipated from time to time. Changing your diet is one of the easiest ways to prevent and treat this common problem. Eating more fiber is the key way to relieve constipation. Experts recommend women eat 25 grams of fiber daily. Men should aim for 38 grams. Legumes, specific fruits and vegetables, and whole grains top the list of fiber-packed foods that can provide gentle relief.
  • Beans
    1. Beans
    Beans are one of the best food sources of fiber. Half a cup of cooked navy beans, for example, boasts more than 9 grams. Nearly all varieties of beans and lentils are fiber-rich, so choose your favorite. Make a big pot of soup for the week, or try adding beans to a salad for an interesting twist of texture and flavor.
     
  • Pleasing Pears
    2. Pears
    Most fruits are good fiber sources, but pears top the list. One medium pear with skin has more fiber than half a cup of stewed prunes. There are more varieties of pear than you may realize. Make it interesting by trying several varieties—red and green Bartlett and Anjou pears, Bosc, Comice, and Starkrimson are just a few to choose from.
     
  • Girl eating apple
    3. Apples
    An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Just be sure to eat the peel, too. One small apple with the peel will give you about 3.5 grams of fiber. Apples are a versatile fruit, too. Cut them up into cold or hot cereals for added fiber in the morning. They’re also good chopped into a plate of mixed greens with a drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette.
     
  • iStock_000009875971Small
    4. Bran Cereal
    Start your day with a fiber-filled breakfast to get things moving. There are more than 9 grams of fiber in one-third cup of 100% bran cereal. For an extra fiber boost, top it with raspberries. The flavorful fruit boasts 4 grams of fiber per half-cup serving.
     
  • potato, sweet potato
    5. Potatoes
    Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are both good sources of fiber—especially with the peel. One large, peel-on baked potato has more than 6 grams of fiber. Cheese can plug you up, so top baked potatoes with low-fat sour cream instead.
     
  • popcorn
    6. Popcorn
    For a fiber-rich snack, reach for a handful of air-popped popcorn. You’ll get more than 3.5 grams of fiber in three cups! If you’re watching your sodium intake, sprinkle it with grated parmesan cheese instead of salt. You may even want to try spicing it up a little with a pinch of cayenne pepper and chili powder.
     
  • whole wheat bread
    7. Whole Grains
    An easy way to boost your fiber intake: Choose whole-grain breads, tortillas, noodles and rolls instead of white varieties. Whole grains also help you feel fuller. You can also buy whole-grain crackers.
     
  • bowl-of-green-peas
    8. Peas
    Many vegetables are rich in fiber, but green peas are one of the best options. One-half cup of cooked green peas has about 4.5 grams of fiber—as much as a whole wheat English muffin.
     
  • Chicken Soup Broth
    9. Broth-Based Soups
    People who don’t get enough liquids are more likely to be constipated, studies show. Clear soups are one way to add more fluids to your diet. Liquids help the fiber you eat work to keep you regular.
     
9 Foods to Relieve Constipation

About The Author

  1. Selected food sources ranked by amounts of dietary fiber and calories per standard food portion (Appendix 13). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/dietary_guidelines_for_americans/PolicyDoc.pdf
  2. Beans, navy, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt. U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4752?man=&lfacet=&count=&max=35&qlookup=Beans%2C+navy%2C+matu...
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  4. Eating, diet and nutrition for constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/constipation/Pages/eati...
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  7. Potatoes, white, flesh and skin, baked. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3120?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&...
  8. Tips for eating fast food. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/DiningOut/Tips-for-Eating-Fast-Food_UCM...
  9. Treatment for constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/constipation/Pages/trea...
  10. Ways to boost fiber. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/ways-...
  11. What is fiber? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/fiber
  12. Why is it important to eat grains, especially whole grains? U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-why.html
  13. A Pear for Every Taste. USAPears. http://www.usapears.com/Recipes%20And%20Lifestyle/Now%20Serving/Pears%20and%20Varieties.aspx
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Last Review Date: 2021 May 7
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