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Constipation relief: Five foods to cure constipation – and the five foods you should avoid

Food Unwrapped investigate the cure for constipation

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Suffering from constipation or poor digestion is inconvenient and can be painful. If you’re struggling to go to the toilet and suffering from bloating as a consequence, you might need to take a look at your diet to find the cause. Here are the common dietary causes of constipation – and some foods to aid digestion.

Many Britons get constipated from time to time, with the NHS putting the figure at one in seven adults, and one in three children.

Constipation can be an uncomfortable ailment afflicting you after you’ve eaten something that didn’t agree with you. Some people also suffer from constipation as a result of chronic conditions like IBS.

Either way, constipation is an inconvenient and painful condition causing stomach pain and making it difficult to go to the toilet.

Constipation is caused by food moving slowly through the digestive system, so by making some changes to your diet, you can help to naturally relieve constipation.

The NHS says constipation is “rarely” the result of a medical condition, and the best treatments are changes to your diet and lifestyle.

They recommend eating more fibre-rich foods, doing more exercise and drinking more fluids to get things moving.

Different people may find various foods trigger their constipation.

Different people may find various foods trigger their constipation.

If you suffer from constipation often, keeping a food diary may help you to work out patterns in what you eat that cause you to suffer constipation.

Common culprits for causing constipation include:

  • Alcohol
  • Foods containing gluten
  • Dairy products
  • Red meat
  • Fried food

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However, some foods are particularly renowned for relieving constipation.

Here are five of the best foods for constipation.


Prunes are probably the best-known remedy for constipation, with both prunes and prune juice being credited with relieving constipation.

Prunes contain high levels of insoluble fibre, which adds water and bulk to your poo.

In addition, prunes are high in a sugar substance called sorbitol. This is difficult for your body to absorb, prompting the need to poo.

A study showed eating 100 grams of prunes daily “significantly” improved regular bowel habits.


Apples, particularly with the skin left on, are also naturally high in fibre.

Granny Smith apples are particularly rich in fibre, compared to other varieties.

Apples are high in a substance called pectin, which in the gut is rapidly fermented to create short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain fatty acids help bring more water into your bowel, which helps to soften the poo and help it pass.


Pears are not only rich in fibre but also very rich in fructose.

Fructose is difficult for your body to absorb, so some of it ends up in your bowel.

Once in your bowel, fructose pulls in water, which prompts a bowel movement.


Kiwi has been shown to help relieve constipation in studies.

Not only high in fibre, kiwis also contain an enzyme called actinidin that is thought to give them laxative qualities.

Citrus fruits

Like apples, citrus fruits and their peels are particularly high in pectin.

In addition, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C so contribute to your overall health as well as relieving constipation.

Oranges, grapefruits and mandarins are all recommended for constipation.

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