Constipation: A Solid Guide

Constipation—one of the most frustrating problems to face. The best solution to it is prevention, so we've laid out a few foods that will help make sure you're regular.

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Fibre is key

We’ve all been there. Where sometimes, we have a hard time on the porcelain throne. With the current pandemic keeping most of us at home, it’s easy to slip into bad eating habits and resort to bingeing on junk food. And putting ‘shit’ in doesn’t mean that ‘shit’ will come out.


When you don’t get enough proper nutrients in your diet, constipation can be an issue. Luckily, we’ve got the lowdown on what foods are best to help you tackle constipation.

Fibre is the key nutrient for our intestinal health (Harvard Health Publishing, 2013), and helps to keep your bowel movements regular. In general, fruits, grains and vegetables are a good source of fibre and important components of your daily meals. Under the umbrella of fibre, there are two forms: soluble and insoluble.


Soluble fibre can be found in foods such as avocados, oatmeal and beans. This type of fibre helps your poop move more smoothly through the intestines by increasing the absorption of water in your body and forming a gel-like substance.


Insoluble fibre can be found in vegetable stalks and seeds. These help to improve the frequency of your poops by adding mass to your waste and helping to push it along your gastrointestinal tract.


According to the Singapore Health Promotion Board, the recommended daily fibre intake for men is 26g. This is equal to 2 servings of fruit and vegetables, daily. From time to time, we all need that extra push to help us get going. So here are 5 foods that’ll help you pass with flying colours.

1. Sweet Potato

According to BBC Good Food, sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre, calcium, iron, selenium, and vitamins B and C. Sweet potatoes help with digestion because of their high fibre content, which is most important for those struggling to get going.

2. Prunes

Prunes are a well-known reliever of constipation. A review by Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis (2013) found that consuming prunes helps to prevent constipation and possibly even colon cancer.  Due to the sorbitol, chlorogenic acids and dietary fibre content of prunes, they work as a natural laxative to help make bowel movements more frequent and decrease the difficulty defecating. If you don’t enjoy prunes on their own, try adding them to cereal, salad, smoothies and more.

3. Spinach

Spinach is rich in fibre, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K (National News Agency Bulletin, 2019). The insoluble fibre in this green leafy vegetable helps to add bulk to stools, which aids in pushing waste along your gastrointestinal tract.

4. Watermelon

Thanks to watermelon’s high water content (roughly 92% water), this fruit helps to promote bowel movements, especially since dehydration is a common cause of constipation (Medical News Today, 2019). Watermelon can be eaten on its own or in a fruit juice (which is also a great way to include all your favourite fruits and vegetables to meet your recommended dietary intake).

References

Eske, J. (2019, February 28). What are the best juices for constipation? Medical News Today. (Link)

Constipation - self-care. (2018, December 7). MedlinePlus. (Link)

Shubrook, N. (n.d.). The health benefits of sweet potato. BBC Good Food. (Link)

Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M. (2013). Dried plums and their products: Composition and health effects-an updated review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53(12), 1277-1302. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.563880

The best foods to relieve constipation. (2019, September 17). National News Agency Bulletin.

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Published On
September 2, 2021

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