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Treating Constipation With Food

fiber one constipationWhat is constipation?

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, Constipation is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal complaints in the US. Constipation is defined as going longer than 3 days without a bowel movement. You may also be experiencing constipation if you have incomplete evacuation of your bowel movements, hard stools or straining when using the bathroom.

What is fiber?

While constipation is caused by many factors, it is often the result of inadequate fiber intake.  Dietary fiber is the edible portion of plants that is not digested. There are two forms of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps us feel full and aids in digestion, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and absorbs water as it moves through it moves through the digestive system.

How much do we need?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber for men each day. The average American gets about 11 grams of fiber daily, which is less than half the daily recommended amount. The good news is that it’s easier to meet your daily needs than you think. All it takes is 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day, in addition to whole grains and beans. Below is a complete breakdown of the top fiber foods.

Top Fiber foods (source: Today’s Dietitian)

1. Bran

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Oat bran, raw 1 ounce 12 g
Wheat bran, raw 1 ounce 12 g
Corn bran, raw 1 ounce 22 g
Rice bran, raw 1 ounce 6 g
Fiber One Bran Cereal 1/2 cup 14 g
All-Bran Cereal 1/2 cup 10 g
Fiber One Chewy Bars    

2. Beans

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 14 g
Adzuki beans, cooked 1 cup 17 g
Broad beans (fava), cooked 1 cup 9 g
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 g
Garbanzo beans, cooked 1 cup 12 g
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 16 g
Cranberry beans, cooked 1 cup 16 g
Black turtle soup beans, cooked 1 cup 17 g
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 16 g
Navy beans, cooked 1 cup 19 g
White beans, small, cooked 1 cup 19 g
French beans, cooked 1 cup 17 g
Mung beans, cooked 1 cup 15 g
Yellow beans, cooked 1 cup 18 g
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 15 g

3. Berries

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Raspberries, raw 1 cup 8 g
Blueberries, raw 1 cup 4 g
Currants (red and white), raw 1 cup 5 g
Strawberries, raw 1 cup 3 g
Boysenberries, frozen 1 cup 7 g
Gooseberries, raw 1 cup 6 g
Loganberries, frozen 1 cup 8 g
Elderberries, raw 1 cup 10 g
Blackberries, raw 1 cup 8 g

4. Whole grains

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Amaranth, grain 1/4 cup 6 g
Barley, pearled, cooked 1 cup 6 g
Buckwheat groats, cooked 1 cup 5 g
Popcorn, air popped 3 cups 4 g
Oats (old fashioned), dry 1/2 cup 4 g
Rye flour, dry 1/4 cup 7 g
Millet, cooked 1 cup 2 g
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 5 g
Teff, grain, dry 1/4 cup 6 g
Triticale, flour, dry 1/4 cup 5 g
Wheat berries, dry 1/4 cup 5 g
Wild rice, cooked 1 cup 3 g
Wheat flour (whole wheat), dry 1/4 cup 4 g
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 4 g
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 8 g
Bread (whole wheat), sliced 1 slice 2 g
Crackers, rye wafers 1 ounce 6 g
Spaghetti (whole wheat), cooked 1 cup 6 g

5. Fruit

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Banana 1 medium 3 g
Pear 1 medium 6 g
Orange 1 medium 4 g
Apple 1 medium 4 g
Prunes, dried 1/2 cup 6 g
Raisins 2 ounces 2 g
Peaches, dried 1/4 cup 3 g
Figs, dried    

6. Greens

Food Portion Amount of Fiber
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 5 g
Mustard greens, cooked 1 cup 5 g
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 5 g
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 4 g
Beet greens, cooked 1 cup 4 g
Swiss chard, cooked    

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4 Comments on Treating Constipation With Food

  1. Avatar
    Ney
    November 3, 2012 at 3:57 am (7 years ago)

    Great post! this information was much needed and I’m going to pay better attention to fiber and my fiber intake! I’ve taken notes and saved it in my phone!

    Thanks again

    Reply
    • Wendy
      Wendy
      November 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm (7 years ago)

      Great! Glad it was useful for you!

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Eliades Pastor
    February 13, 2019 at 7:05 am (5 months ago)

    I was suddenly irregular some months ago and tried many different solutions. I started drinking more water, taking laxative powder, eating lentils daily and nothing brought me back to regularity. When I started adding black beans to my lentils all was good. It provides the bulk for daily bms and I’m very happy with that solution. I’ve used both canned and dry beans and they both work great. Hope it works for you too!

    Reply
    • Wendy
      Wendy
      February 13, 2019 at 2:44 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks for sharing! Beans are a great way to add fiber and help keep things regular

      Reply

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