Constipation is an extremely common problem, and one that most of us will have faced at some point in our lives. Whether constipation has arisen through medication, illness, IBS, stress, an unbalanced diet, or any other reasons, it is an unpleasant experience to deal with.
This condition is often linked to our diets, and certain types of fruit can help to relieve constipation when it strikes. At Ripe London, we provide a wide range of fruits delivered directly to your door helping to relieve a little bit of stress, add convenience and keep you and your family healthy. In this post, we will look at the best fruit for constipation, and the reasons why choosing the right foods can make such a difference.
Importance of fibre in your diet
Dietary fibre is the nutritional element within food that helps our digestive health, which occurs in abundance in fruits and vegetables, as well as grains, beans and legumes. To help relieve and even prevent constipation, it’s important that we get plenty of fibre in our diets.
Fibre is a form of carbohydrate that comes from the parts of plant-based food that our bodies are unable to digest, providing us with various benefits. First and foremost, dietary fibre is important in maintaining digestive health and regular bowel movements
There are various other benefits associated with fibre too - this carbohydrate also helps us to feel full for longer, can improve our cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and even help to prevent diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
Fibre is split into two main categories, each of which has specific functions and health benefits.
Soluble fibre helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, which is why fibre-rich foods make us feel fuller for longer. It does this by absorbing water, which binds with fatty acids to create a gel during digestion.
This gel helps to soften stools, which can relieve constipation. Soluble fibre also attaches to cholesterol particles, which can improve heart health as well.
Insoluble fibre does not absorb or dissolve in water, and passes through our digestive systems almost in its original form. As a result it helps to keep hunger at bay, and provides bulk to our bowel movements.
Because insoluble fibre doesn’t break down in the stomach, it helps to keep us regular and is effective at relieving the effects of constipation.
Why does fibre help when you have constipation?
The specific benefits of both soluble and insoluble fibre help to relieve constipation in two different ways. By softening the stool, soluble fibre makes it easier to visit the toilet, while adding bulk through insoluble fibre will help to create regular bowel movements.
To help ease constipation, you can slowly increase your intake of both varieties of fibre by eating more foods that contain this carbohydrate. As fibre is a natural material found in plants, eating fruit and vegetables is a great way to do this.
You should try to increase your intake of fibre slowly to around 25g a day. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your system may react better to foods with soluble fibre, as insoluble fibre can be a trigger for IBS symptoms in some cases.
Fruit is particularly rich in soluble fibre, while insoluble fibres are contained in fruit skins as well, which makes this particular food source a good way to relieve constipation.
Fruit For Constipation
There are a variety of fruits that can help offer relief from constipation, thanks to their high levels of dietary fibre. Eating fruit for constipation is highly beneficial, as it also provides you with a range of other nutrients as well.
While fruit juice can be helpful, it is better to eat fruit whole - including the skins where possible - to get the full benefits of dietary fibre. Many people recommend dried fruit as a more effective solution to constipation. While there is no firm evidence to suggest that dried fruit is better than fresh for relieving the effects of constipation, certain people do respond better to dried fruits than fresh ones. Try different varieties to see what works best for you!
Here are some fruits that are particularly helpful for relieving constipation:
Apricots: Apricots (both fresh and dried) are often recommended as a natural laxative due to their high fibre content.
Plums and prunes: Known as ‘nature’s remedy’, plums (and their dried variant prunes) are loaded with fibre and sorbitol - a compound that acts as a natural laxative.
Peaches: Like the other varieties of stone fruits above, peaches are a good choice to relieve constipation.
Figs: As well as helping to tackle constipation, figs also help lower blood pressure.
Pears: Pears contain fibre and pectin, which helps to clean your digestive system.
Grapes and raisins: Grapes (both fresh and dried) are another good fruit for constipation, as they are eaten with their skins on.
Kiwi: Kiwis are rich in fibre and vitamin C, although this is one fruit you’ll probably want to remove the skin from!
Pineapple: This tropical fruit is a good choice as it provides your system with water, fibre and bromelain - an enzyme that improves bowel function.
Papaya: Papaya also contains an enzyme that aids digestion - papain, which helps your system digest protein.
These fruits are particularly helpful for easing constipation, and should be eaten alongside a wide-range of fruit and veggies within your diet. By eating a diet rich in fruit and veg, you can also help to encourage positive dietary health and tackle the cause of constipation before it happens.