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Nutrition for Constipation

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation

What should I eat and drink if I’m constipated?


It's a taboo subject but something that many people suffer from. Constipation, sometimes referred to as irregularity, is a problem with bowel movements. Symptoms may include difficulty passing stools and a feeling that not all of your stool has passed. Stools can be hard, dry, or lumpy and less frequent. If you have less than three bowel movements a week, a healthcare provider might diagnose you with constipation.


The good news: Making smart food choices and adopting good habits can make a difference. Foods high in fiber may help keep your bowels working regularly.



Depending on your age and sex, adults should get 25 to 31 grams of fiber a day. Older adults sometimes don’t get enough fiber because they may lose interest in food.


Talk with a health care professional, such as a dietitian, to plan meals with the right amount of fiber (External Link for you). Be sure to add fiber to your diet a little at a time so your body gets used to the change.


Good sources of fiber are


whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and wholegrain pasta, oatmeal, and bran flake cereals

legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas

fruits, such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, and pears

vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard greens

nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and pecans



Plenty of water

You should drink water and other liquids, such as naturally sweetened fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups, to help the fiber work better. This change should make your stools softer and easier to pass.


Drinking enough water and other liquids is also a good way to avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated is good for your overall health and can help you avoid getting constipated. Ask a health care professional how much liquid you should drink each day based on your size, health, activity level, and where you live.


Become a Label Reader

The amount of fiber in foods is included on the food label under the “Carbohydrates” heading. Your goal is to eat 100% of the recommended daily value of fiber. When selecting products:


Aim for foods with over 5 percent daily value dietary fiber per serving.

High fiber foods contain 20 percent or more dietary fiber per serving.

Learn more about how to read food labels.


Increase Your Fiber Intake Slowly over five days.

Adding fiber too quickly may cause abdominal discomfort. Be careful not to increase it by more than 5 grams each day. Follow this practice until reaching your desired intake.


What should I avoid eating or drinking if I’m constipated?

To help prevent or relieve constipation, avoid foods with little to no fiber, such as

White bread and pastas

Cakes and biscuits


fast food


prepared foods, such as some frozen meals and snack foods

processed foods, such as hot dogs or some microwavable dinners.

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