What Diet Can Help Against Constipation?

  2 min


  • Diet Habits

If you’re constipated, you might be feeling imprisoned by your own lack of bowel movements. Fortunately, there are a number of things, including dietary changes, that could help you.  

In this article we will take a look at some scientifically proven home remedies for constipation, dietary alterations that may help, and other solutions to restore the joy of a satisfying morning poop.

What Foods Are Good for Constipation?

Laxatives are safe alternatives for getting you back to your bowel movements, especially if constipation has taken your gut hostage. But before trying medications, you might want to try a constipation home remedy. 

Let's meet some of the foods that can act as natural laxatives, and help get your digestive system working smoothly again:


These dried plums are chock full of fiber, fructose, and sorbitol, all possessing laxative properties, to help alleviate constipation.2

Kiwi fruit

Kiwi is full of fiber, which increases bowel movement frequency. This is because fiber adds bulk to stool, result in a more frequent urge to go. Several compounds present in the kiwi fruit possess laxative properties.2

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds improve evacuation time and reduce pain and discomfort during bowel movements. They do so by drawing water to the intestines, which acts as a lubricant, allowing your poop to slide out with added ease.8

Ginger tea

Ginger increases muscular activity in the digestive system, improving regularity.

Green leafy vegetables

Vegetables, and specially the green leafy ones, contain fiber that can ease constipation. Asparagus, broccoli, and kale are excellent choices to help your gut.10

Healthy fats

Fats, like palmitic acid, present in milk, can be a game-changer for your digestive system. Their emulsifying properties result in softer stools.11,12


These delicious treats are packed with fiber as well. Next time your sweet tooth and blocked up gut both demand your attention, you could try eating some raisins to see if it helps.15


Fennel is an aromatic plant that has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Studies showcase that fennel may be an effective constipation home remedy, as its components enhance how the colon moves waste through your body, resulting in an improved pooping experience.16


Honey may relieve constipation by increasing the amount of water in the feces and promoting healthy gut bacteria, which stimulates digestion.17

What food is worst for constipation?

While there are a number of foods that can help give poo a nudge in the right direction, there are also several foods that can have the opposite effect, worsening constipation. 

If you are constipated, you should avoid the following:

Fast food

The more fast food you eat, the greater your chances of developing functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. This is due to the high level of sugar, trans fats, and sodium content.18

Processed foods

Processed foods might contain high amount of saturated fatty acids, sugar and sodium, which is known to  lead to gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation.20

Refined baked goods

Sugary treats liked baked goods are both low in fiber and high in fat, two characteristics that slow down your digestion, making you poop less frequently.20

Fried foods

Fried foods are also packed with saturated fats. These greatly slow down the process by which your stomach gets rid of waste, and may also lead to constipation as a result.4,22

Additional tips for healthy bowel movements

Consuming fiber

Fiber adds volume to your poop, acting as a natural stool softener and facilitating more frequent toilet trips. Fiber can cause gas and bloat, so gradually increase your intake to prevent feeling like you have a balloon in your stomach.19 Foods high in insoluble fiber are the best way to increase fiber intake, but supplements are also available.

Drinking water

Water plays a key role in a healthy lifestyle and might impact on gastrointestinal function. Therefore make sure appropriate amount is taken as part of your diet.23

Exercising regularly

Exercise, movement and physical activity may stimulate the gut. Moving around, whether it be a leisurely walk or something more intense, will also cause your abdominal muscles to stretch and contract. As part of your lifestyle, movement and exercise can help stimulate digestion.24

Minimizing stress and anxiety

Individuals who suffer from constipation are more likely to experience psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. Monitor your stress levels, as they might be the cause of your constipation.26

Your turn

There are many foods that support digestion, and alongside these other tips, they should help you get things moving again. But they won’t work unless you try them. So take action and regain control of your body, so you can enjoy all of life’s wonders to their fullest.  

If avoiding certain foods, and increasing your intake of others in your fight against constipation does not work, you can try non-prescription laxatives. Dulcolax have a full range of laxative products available to meet your needs.


    1. Khanna, S. (2020) Mayo Clinic on Digestive Health: How to prevent and treat common stomach and gut problems. Mayo Clinic Press. 
    2. Bae SH.   Diets for Constipation.   Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2014 Dec;17(4):203-208.   https://doi.org/10.5223/pghn.2014.17.4.203 
    3. Santucci, N.R., Chogle, A., Leiby, A., Mascarenhas, M., Borlack, R.E., Lee, A., Perez, M., Russell, A. and Yeh, A.M., 2021. Non-pharmacologic approach to pediatric constipation. Complementary therapies in medicine, 59, p.102711. 
    4. Bagchi, D. and Ohia, S.E. eds., 2021. Nutrition and Functional Foods in Boosting Digestion, Metabolism and Immune Health. Academic Press. 
    5. Brown SR, Cann PA, Read NW. Effect of coffee on distal colon function. Gut. 1990 Apr;31(4):450-3. doi: 10.1136/gut.31.4.450. PMID: 2338272; PMCID: PMC1378422. 
    6. Ramos, C.I., de Lima, A.F.A., Grilli, D.G. and Cuppari, L., 2015. The short-term effects of olive oil and flaxseed oil for the treatment of constipation in hemodialysis patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 25(1), pp.50-56. 
    7. Alookaran J, Tripp J. Castor Oil. [Updated 2022 Nov 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551626/
    8. Ibrahim, H.M.O., 2019. A Novel Treatment for Constipation by Sesame Seeds. International Journal for Research in Applied Science & Engineering Technology (IJRASET). 
    9. Dehghani, S.M., Bahroloolomifard, M.S., Yousefi, G., Pasdaran, A. and Hamedi, A., 2019. A randomized controlled double blinded trial to evaluate efficacy of oral administration of black strap molasses (sugarcane extract) in comparison with polyethylene glycol on pediatric functional constipation. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 238, p.111845. 
    10. Barbara Bolen, P.D. (2022) Foods to eat and avoid when constipated, Verywell Health. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/foods-to-ease-constipation-4143121 (Accessed: January 11, 2023). 
    11. Gandy, J., Madden, A. and Holdsworth, M. (2020) Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
    12. Forsyth, J.S., Varma, S. and Colvin, M., 1999. A randomised controlled study of the effect of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on stool hardness during formula feeding. Archives of disease in childhood, 81(3), pp.253-256. 
    13. Freitas D, Boué F, Benallaoua M, Airinei G, Benamouzig R, Lutton E, Jourdain L, Dubuisson RM, Maître X, Darrasse L, Le Feunteun S. Glycemic response, satiety, gastric secretions and emptying after bread consumption with water, tea or lemon juice: a randomized crossover intervention using MRI. Eur J Nutr. 2022 Apr;61(3):1621-1636. doi: 10.1007/s00394-021-02762-2. Epub 2022 Jan 11. PMID: 35013789. 
    14. 7 reasons to start your day with lemon water (2023) Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-reasons-to-start-your-day-with-lemon-water-infographic/ (Accessed: January 11, 2023). 
    15. Bell, S.J., 2011. A review of dietary fiber and health: focus on raisins. Journal of Medicinal Food, 14(9), pp.877-883. 
    16. Jang, S.H. and Yang, D.K., 2018. The combination of Cassia obtusifolia L. and Foeniculum vulgare M. exhibits a laxative effect on loperamide-induced constipation of rats. PloS one, 13(4), p.e0195624. 
    17. Li, Y., Long, S., Liu, Q., Ma, H., Li, J., Xiaoqing, W., Yuan, J., Li, M. and Hou, B., 2020. Gut microbiota is involved in the alleviation of loperamide‐induced constipation by honey supplementation in mice. Food Science & Nutrition, 8(8), pp.4388-4398. 
    18. Shau, J.P., Chen, P.H., Chan, C.F., Hsu, Y.C., Wu, T.C., James, F.E. and Pan, W.H., 2016. Fast foods-are they a risk factor for functional gastrointestinal disorders?. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 25(2), pp.393-401. 
    19. Foods for constipation (2022) Johns Hopkins Medicine. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/foods-for-constipation (Accessed: January 11, 2023). 
    20. Rollet M, Bohn T, Vahid F, On Behalf Of The Oriscav Working Group. Association between Dietary Factors and Constipation in Adults Living in Luxembourg and Taking Part in the ORISCAV-LUX 2 Survey. Nutrients. 2021 Dec 28;14(1):122. doi: 10.3390/nu14010122. PMID: 35010999; PMCID: PMC8746799. 
    21. Irastorza I, Ibañez B, Delgado-Sanzonetti L, Maruri N, Vitoria JC. Cow's-milk-free diet as a therapeutic option in childhood chronic constipation. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Aug;51(2):171-6. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181cd2653. PMID: 20453672. 
    22. Zhang, Y., Lin, Q., An, X., Tan, X. and Yang, L., 2022. Factors Associated with Functional Constipation among Students of a Chinese University: A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients, 14(21), p.4590. 
    23. Jangid, V., Godhia, M., Sanwalka, N. and Shukla, A., 2016. Water intake, dietary fibre, defecatory habits and its association with chronic functional constipation. Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science Journal, 4(2), pp.90-95. 
    24. Tantawy SA, Kamel DM, Abdelbasset WK, Elgohary HM. Effects of a proposed physical activity and diet control to manage constipation in middle-aged obese women. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2017 Dec 14;10:513-519. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S140250. PMID: 29276399; PMCID: PMC5734236. 
    25. De Giorgio, R., Ruggeri, E., Stanghellini, V. et al. Chronic constipation in the elderly: a primer for the gastroenterologist. BMC Gastroenterol 15, 130 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-015-0366-3
    26. Chatterjee, P. (2019). Constipation: More than Just “A Symptom”. In: Health and Wellbeing in Late Life. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-8938-2_5

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