What Helps with Constipation?

Foods That Help and Foods to Avoid

Eating is probably the last thing you want to think about when you’re constipated, especially if you’re dealing with symptoms like discomfort, nausea and abdominal pain. But now is the time to be mindful about what you eat and drink — and what you should avoid. 

The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for medical advice, diagnosis and treatment.

What Foods Are Good for Constipation?

The path to gutlightenment begins with healthy food choices and good hydration. Let’s look at some steps that can help get you there.


Eat High-fiber Foods

There are two types of fiber, both sourced from plants: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, which is one of the reasons the USDA recommends a high-fiber diet to help with constipation..

Miralax purple insoluble fiber icon

Soluble Fiber

This type of fiber dissolves in water. As it moves through your body it becomes a gel-like substance that helps slow digestion, which makes it helpful for avoiding constipation.

Miralax purple soluble fiber icon

Insoluble Fiber

This type of fiber does not dissolve in water. It remains mostly whole as it moves through your digestive tract. In your colon it adds bulk to your stool and helps keep bowel movements regular.

Filling up on a variety of high-fiber foods can help you get both soluble and insoluble fiber. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that healthy adults get a minimum of 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories they consume. This amount varies with age:

  • Adult females: at least 21-25 grams
  • Adult males: at least 30-38 grams
  • Females ages 9-18: about 26 grams
  • Males ages 9-18: 31-38 grams
  • Children ages 1-8: 19-25 grams

If you buy packaged foods, look at the nutrition labels and check for 2 grams or more of dietary fiber — this can help you reach the recommended amount of fiber per day.


Reach for Hydrating Beverages and Soups

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water supports your overall health and can help you avoid constipation by making your stools softer and easier to pass.

Boost your hydration with liquids like:

  • Clear soups
  • Herbal teas
  • Sports drinks with electrolytes
  • Coconut water
  • Naturally sweetened fruit and vegetable juices

Some studies indicate that drinking warm water with lemon in the morning may help your body break down foods.


Operation Unblock: A Grocery List for Relieving Constipation

Time to head to the store! Add these high-fiber foods and snacks to your cart to increase your fiber intake and help avoid constipation symptoms.

High-Fiber Foods and Snacks

Which Foods Cause Constipation?

While some foods can help you ease and avoid constipation, others may aggravate it. It can be helpful to track your eating habits so you can evaluate the foods you eat and whether they might be contributing to your backed-up gut.

Here are some foods to avoid when constipated:

  • Alcohol, which can cause increased urination leading to dehydration
  • Refined sugars and processed grains, which are low in fiber
  • Dairy products, which may cause constipation in people who are lactose intolerant
  • High-fat meats, which have no fiber
  • Highly processed and fried foods, which are often high-fat, low-fiber and contain high amounts of sodium

Keep in mind that people respond differently to various foods depending on their unique health needs. Not sure if something you’re eating may be causing constipation? Talk to your doctor.

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    *Per recommended serving. Compared to leading brands.