Three Foods with Laxative Properties to Combat Constipation

If you suffer from frequent constipation, it's important to include nutrients with laxative effects, as well as increase your water consumption.
Three Foods with Laxative Properties to Combat Constipation
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Do you suffer from constipation? Do you sometimes go long periods of time without going to the bathroom? If so, then this article is for you! We’ll provide you with some foods that you can incorporate into your diet to help you combat constipation.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) defines constipation as three or fewer bowel movements a week.

The NIDDK further explains that when a person is constipated, the stools tend to become dry and hard, which can cause pain when passing the stool. They also comment that we’ve all suffered from constipation at some time in our lives. In many cases, constipation lasts a short time and is not considered serious.

In addition, the NIDDK points out that it’s not necessary to have bowel movements every day. However, it is important that, if we observe any change in our bowel habits, we consult a doctor or specialist.

How Can I Combat Constipation?

First of all, people who often suffer from constipation should exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise – walking, swimming, or other physical activity three or four times a week is enough.

They should also stay very well hydrated and consume the recommended amount of daily fiber.

In addition, if you need to go to the bathroom, do not wait. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. Waiting to go to the bathroom will only negatively affect your condition.

You can also train your intestines to have more regular and more frequent bowel movements.

How do you do that?

It’s easy!

Try scheduling a time to go to the bathroom every day. Try your best for it to be at the same time everyday.

Three Nutrients with Laxative Effects

nutrients with laxative effects

Fortunately, there are several foods with laxative effects. They can help you pass bowel movements better and more easily. This is where fiber rich foods play a key role in helping you combat constipation.

For this reason, it’s very important that you eat fiber. This will help normalize bowel movements and help waste move through the body. However, you must incorporate fiber into your diet little by little. Otherwise, you may experience gas and abdominal distension from abruptly consuming a lot of fiber.

You should ask a medical specialist about the recommended amount of fiber you should ingest daily. Both gender and age affect the amount of daily recommended fiber intake.

Below, you’ll find information about three different foods that have a natural laxative effect. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet can help you combat constipation.

1. Apples

Apples are well known for being packed with nutrients and benefits that help keep us healthy. They have a high pectin content that forms gel when in contact with water.

This benefits your intestinal health in two ways:

  • First, the gels will absorb water, so for those people suffering from diarrhea, this will be beneficial.
  • On the other hand, these gels act as a lubricant for your digestive tract. This helps the chyme (smooth, semi-fluid masses of partly digested food in the stomach) pass more easily through the intestine.

2. Plums

Plums are one of the foods most known for their laxative properties.

They rich source of sorbitol. Bacteria in the microbiota assimilates and transforms this polyalcohol. This attracts water to the chyme, which helps digested food move properly through the intestines. This provides the laxative effects of plums.

3. Oranges

oranges for constipation

In the case of oranges, their laxative effects lie in a characteristic element of this fruit.

According to some studies, the flavanone in oranges is responsible for stimulating the secretion of the chlorine ion in the epithelium of the colon. This creates osmotic pressure, which helps the secretion of fluids, hence its laxative effects.

Other Laxatives

Flax seeds, raisins, berries, peaches, kiwis and dried apricots also have laxative effects. Similarly, pasta, pancakes, breads and biscuits prepared with whole grains or high-fiber grains can also be helpful in combating constipation.

There are also vegetables that will help your bowel movements. For example, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin, and unpeeled potatoes all help with digestion and bowel movements. Salads prepared with spinach, lettuce and cabbage are also beneficial.

Finally, legumes such as beans, white beans, chickpeas, and lentils are also beneficial. In addition, seeds, such as soy or chia seeds, and nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, and almonds will also provide a good dose of fiber to your diet.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.