It’s one of those things we don’t like to talk about or may even be embarrassed by. Yet, constipation is also one of the most common digestive tract ailments. In fact, it’s “estimated that 16 percent of Americans suffer from chronic constipation [and] this 16 percent doesn’t include non-chronic sufferers.”
Constipation can be broken down into chronic and non-chronic, yet “between both types, chronic and non-chronic, 2.5 million visit their physician and on average 700,000 go to the emergency room every year to seek medical attention for discomfort and complications caused by constipation.”
With all these numbers, it’s easy to forget that most people don’t understand what constipation is. For instance, did you know that constipation is simply a symptom of something else? Also, while you may be “backed up” for a couple of days, constipation is actually defined as “infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer.” Generally, a physician will “diagnose” you as constipated if you have had fewer than three bowel movements in the past week.
While discovering the cause of constipation is incredibly important, relief can come in the form of diet such as increasing dietary fiber and liquid intake. Here are a few recipes from the Food Monster App to help your system get moving again!
Prunes and plums act as natural laxatives due to their high soluble fiber content. Plus, they offer a slew of other nutrients including iron, potassium, phenolic compounds, and boron. Get a double dose with this Raw Plum and Prune Cheesecake Tart by Mitra Shirmohammadi which uses a three-fourths cup of prunes and up to 4 whole plums.
Source: Pear and Apple Crisp
This double dose of dietary fiber-friendly ingredients is perfect to help relieve that cramped up system! Combining both pears and apples in this Pear and Apple Crisp by Jessica Bose is not only delicious but also comforting.
This Apple Parsnip Oatmeal with Cranberry Sauce by Lauren Smith offers two more great sources of constipation-alleviating fiber: apples, with around 2 grams of soluble fiber, and oatmeal, with both soluble and insoluble fiber, the quantity differing depending on the type and amount of oatmeal consumed.
Source: Go-To Green Smoothie
This Go-To Green Smoothie by Olivia Budgen aids constipation in two ways. First, it’s filled with healthy dietary fiber such as spinach, dates, and bananas. Secondly, it includes water-rich plant-based foods such as cucumbers and coconut water or simply filtered water.
Source: Kiwi Spinach Popsicles
These sweet and healthy Kiwi Spinach Popsicles by Gunjan Dudani are not only easy to make — 5 ingredients and 2 steps — but they also pack a double dose of constipation-fighting ingredients. Kiwi fruits offer over 2 grams per fruit, while spinach (as well as other leafy green veggies) offers a bit of fiber, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, all of which add bulk to stool making it easier to pass.
Source: Fig Preserves
Along with prunes and plums, figs are rich with fiber, with just a half cup of dried figs containing “7.3 grams of fiber, which is almost 30% of your daily requirement,” and a great boon for your digestive tract. No need to get complicated with this sweet and savory fruit, simply make your own spread such as this Fig Preserves recipe by Ashley Smyczek.
Start your day with this bowl loosening Breakfast Bowl with Oats, Pistachios, and Grapefruit by Steph McKercher, which offers a triple punch of fiber-rich ingredients including oats, pistachios, and grapefruit.
Similarly to apples, citrus fruits are rich in a special type of constipation relieving soluble fiber called pectin. With that said, pectin is richest in the peel of your favorite citrus fruits. Use a small amount of zest from the orange peel in this Roasted Shiitake and Orange Salad with Citrus Ponzu recipe by Rebecca Blackwell for the best digestive results!
This Orange Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts recipe by Emma D’Alessandro may give off that familiar brussels sprout aroma while cooking, but — along with freshly squeezed orange juice, hazelnuts, and digestive friendly garlic — this meal will also help relieve a congested digestive tract.
Source: Beginner Green Smoothie
Think of this Beginner Green Smoothie by Jeanette Chen as the big bad sibling of the Go-To Green smoothie. It’s chock full of fiber with a mixture of pectin-rich apples and two heaping cups of spinach, plus it will promote digestive ease with ginger and green tea.
Jerusalem artichokes are an “important [source] of a type of soluble fiber known as inulin,” that happens to be a “prebiotic, which means it helps stimulate the growth of bacteria in the gut, promoting digestive health.” Working in tandem with cloves, kale, garlic, and liquid-rich vegetable broth, this Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Braised Garlicky Kale by Rhea Parsons is the perfect comfort food to ease constipation.
Chicory is another member of the sunflower family, which means it is also rich in inulin fiber, making this Buckwheat Pies with Chicory and Olives by Simona Malerba yet another recipe that will ease digestive discomfort and restore rhythm to your body.
Source: Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins
Starting your morning with digestive friendly foods is a great tact to smoothing out the rest of your day. The chief ingredient in these Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins by Jesse Lane Lee — rhubarb — contains “a compound known as sennoside,” which is known for its powerful “bowel-stimulating properties” and has been widely used as an herbal laxative.
If nothing else has quite worked for you, this Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Red Lentil Stew by Kelly Williams will probably do it. The main ingredients of sweet potato, lentils, and quinoa are all chock full of fiber, as well as a healthy helping of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, all of which aid in proper digestion and stool bulk.
Source: Lentil Loaf with Tomato Glaze
The legume family is a great place to start when looking for constipation easing foods. While beans and peas are perfectly good options, the champion of fiber is lentils. This Lentil Loaf with Tomato Glaze by Alison Edmund uses one-half cup of lentils which has a whopping 7 grams of dietary fiber!
For more constipation friendly recipes, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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