- Constipation can be attributed to low fiber intake, old age, and lack of physical activity
- Pears contain high amounts of sorbitol that pulls water into the intestine and stimulate bowel movement
- Apples contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber known for its laxative effect
Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems affecting about 20 percent of the general population. The condition is characterized by having dry and hard
stool, and infrequent bowel movements, or having fewer than three bowel movements a week.
Constipation can be attributed to low fiber intake, old age, and lack of physical activity. The condition is often treated using laxatives, stool softeners and fiber supplements, but there are foods that can serve as a safe and effective alternative to helping you poop. Here are some of them:
Pears can help alleviate constipation because they are high in fiber. One medium-sized pear contains up to 24 percent of your daily fiber needs. Pears also contain high amounts of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent that pulls water into the intestine and stimulate bowel movement.
Pears also contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed by the body in limited amounts. Just like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose is also a natural laxative because it draws along with it excess water into the intestine, causing a laxative action in the bowel.
Prunes are a good source of fiber and sorbitol. In one study, researchers found that participants with constipation who consumed prunes experienced improvements in stool consistency and bowel movement frequency.
Chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens stool for easier passage. Research has shown that chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, which can help with easier elimination.
Apples are not only a good source of fiber. They also contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber known for its laxative effect. In one study, researchers found that pectin can speed up transit time in the colon, reduce symptoms of constipation and boost digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.