7 Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake and Combat Constipation

10 October, 2020
Find out how you can increase your fiber intake to combat constipation. We'll tell you the best eating habits to adopt in order to solve this problem.

Constipation is a fairly common condition. Sedentarism, lack of regular physical exercise, precooked meals, and a diet low in vegetables and fruits are some of its possible causes. If you suffer from constipation, read on. We’ll tell you how you can increase your fiber intake to alleviate slow intestinal transit.

How to increase your fiber intake

A variety of foods that are rich in fiber.
Increasing fiber intake can help you fight constipation

First of all, determining exactly what constipation is can be difficult because the normality of bowel movements varies from person to person. For some people, it’s common to have bowel movements several times a day, while others find it normal to have them every other day.

So what is constipation?

Basically, constipation refers to when a person has a hard time going to the bathroom. This occurs because the large intestine has absorbed a large proportion of water and the stool has become hard.

In some cases, constipation can be chronic. That is, it’s a disease that affects daily life and can produce hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. In other cases, it’s occasional, produced by changes in routine, pregnancy, menopause, or stress, among other possible causes.

One of the best ways to avoid it is to eat a diet rich in fiber, drink at least two liters of water a day, and be physically active.

You may be interested in: 5 Remedies that Can Help You Relieve Constipation

7 tips to increase your fiber intake

One of the best ways to combat constipation is to increase your fiber intake. Remember that, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization, you should consume a daily dose of 40 grams.

Now, how can you make sure that you’re meeting your needs?

1. Include vegetables in all your meals.

A woman holding artichokes.
Accompany all your vegetable dishes to ensure the recommended daily intake of fiber.

This is not as difficult as you may think at first. The goal is for at least three of your meals to include vegetables (we include a snack here, too!). Keep in mind that vegetables provide a lot of fiber, especially when raw. That’s why we advise you to include salads and vegetables in all your dishes.

Here are some ideas:

  • Lettuce and carrot salad
  • Sauteed broccoli with garlic
  • Boiled beets
  • Stuffed artichokes with vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Baked pumpkin
  • Spinach quiche
  • (The list could go on forever!)

2. The best dessert you can choose is fruit.

Forget about ice cream, cakes, and pastries. The best dessert is always fruit. So, leave sweets for special occasions. Remember that the food pyramid recommends moderate consumption of sweets a maximum of two times per week.

3. Eat healthy snacks.

Much has been said about snacking, and we always hear the same thing: No snacking between meals! However, if we’re honest, many of us don’t follow that rule very strictly!

If you need to snack between meals, don’t eat cookies or bread. Rather, choose fruits and vegetables! The options are numerous and very healthy:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Tangerines
  • Plums
  • Pears
  • Figs
  • Berries
  • Baby carrots
  • Sliced veggies

4. Include more nuts in your diet.

Nuts and dry fruits.
Nuts can be the perfect snack to increase your fiber intake.

A handful of nuts may be just what you need to incorporate more fiber into your diet. Among the nuts with the highest amount of this component we find:

  • Pistachios
  • Raisins
  • Almonds
  • Nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Dates
  • Cashew nuts
  • Chestnuts

5. Use seeds to give a crunchy touch to your salads.

Have you ever tried a salad with seeds? It tastes great and it’s also a great way to increase your fiber intake! Don’t hesitate to add chia, pumpkin, or sesame seeds.

Read also: Three Foods with Laxative Properties to Combat Constipation

6. Eat legumes regularly.

Legumes are rich in fiber, so it’s beneficial to eat them at least a couple of times a week. Lentils stand out with 11,7 grams per 100 grams, and soybeans with 15,7 grams per 100 grams.

However, those aren’t the only option you have to choose from. Overall, you have:

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans
  • Peas

7. Choose whole grains.

A variety of whole grains.
Whole grains include a very high proportion of fiber, so they are highly recommended foods in case of constipation.

Few of us can resist bread, rice, or pasta. So why not take advantage of these foods to increase your fiber intake? To do so, we recommend you always opt for the wholegrain varieties, since these conserve the fiber that’s lost in the processes of refinement.

Some ideas are:

  • Oats
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Bran bread
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Saved
  • Inflated wheat
  • Homemade popcorn, with no additives or sugars

Adapt health changes in your diet

Here are some easy changes you can make to your daily food intake in order to increase your fiber intake. Write them down and stick them on your fridge!

Instead of… Eat…
White bread Wholegrain breads
White rice Brown rice
Potato chips Homemade popcorn
Cookies An apple
Flavored yogurt Natural yogurt with fruit and nuts
Orange juice Orange slices
Sugary breakfast cereals Oatmeal with raisins
Potato chips Salad with lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, and seeds

 

 

Changing your eating habits requires will power. Consult your doctor to determine how much fiber you should eat on a daily basis according to your own needs. He or she will be able to help you develop a weekly menu according to your physical condition and medical history.

  • Organización Mundial de la Salud. Alimentación sana. https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
  • MedlinePlus. Alimentos ricos en fibra. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/ency/patientinstructions/000193.htm
  • WebMD. How to Eat 37 Grams of Fiber in a Day. https://www.webmd.com/diet/eat-this-fiber-chart
  • NCBI. (2012). Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: A meta analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544045/