A 2011 study revealed that 14% of people will experience chronic constipation at some point in their life. And a large percentage will experience some limited constipation for a time.

Symptoms of constipation include passing a stool less than three times a week, straining to go, hard or lumpy stool, bloating, and an uncomfortable blocking sensation. The type of type and severity of symptoms experienced can vary from individual to individual. Some people may experience constipation on occasion, while others can experience it fairly regularly.

In some instances, medical intervention is required. However, more often than not, constipation can be treated through diet. Often times simply updating your diet to include certain foods can provide the relief needed.

Incorporating the following nine foods into your diet can provide relief:

Prunes

A dried plum, prunes have long been known to provide constipation relief. They contain high amounts of fiber, known as cellulose. This can add bulk to your stool. Furthermore, prunes ferment in the colon, helping to produce fatty acids which add weight to your stool.

How many prunes should you try and eat a day? It’s really up to you. In a 2,000 calorie a day diet, the American Heart Association recommends an individual consumes 25 grams of fiber. There’s roughly 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce food, which means one or two will often make a substantial difference.

Apples

apples in a bowl

Apples are another food that’s rich in fiber — particularly when you eat the skin. One, medium-size apple with the skin is roughly 4.4 grams of fiber, equaling 17% of the daily recommended intake.

Like prunes, apples can also ferment in the gut and form fatty acids. Adding an apple to your daily diet can help keep you regular. Plus, the age-old adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ isn’t a bad one to keep in your back pocket.

Pears

Rich in fiber, pears are also high in sugar. Not only will the fiber help make your stool solid, the sugar can help encourage the body to go. For some individuals, sugar is poorly absorbed, causing it to end up in the color. Once in the color, it sugar attracts water, increasing the need to go.

Figs

Figs offer another exceptional and tasty way to increase your fiber intake. High in fiber and sugar, figs can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. They can be eaten raw. And, they can be put in salads.

Citrus Fruits

oranges

Citrus fruits are high in fiber. These include:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarins
  • Limes
  • Lemons

These fruits are also high in vitamin C — which can boost your overall health. When consuming them, it’s recommend you not only focus on the juice, but consume the flesh as well. Luckily, citrus fruits tend to be a snack that travels well — making it easy to take with you on the go.

Sweet Potatoes

Extremely high in fiber, sweet potatoes contain an insoluble fiber, which can help alleviate constipation. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled and mashed. You can turn them into waffles and tater tots. You can use them in hash and on top of toast. Really, is there a better way to get fiber into your diet?

Hearty Greens

hearty kale

Hearty greens are rich in fiber and iron. They are also good sources of vitamin C and vitamin K. These include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli

Adding these items to your diet can increase the bulk of your stool, helping it pass more easily.

Beans, Peas and Lentils

Beans, peas and lentils are perhaps one of the most affordable ways to add more fiber to your diet. You can buy them canned, fresh, frozen and dried. They can be added to soups and stews. They can be tossed on salads and blended into dips. You can eat them on their own and you can eat them as a side dish. Really, to possibilities are endless.

Whole-Grain Rye Bread

Whole-grain rye bread is another easy way to add fiber to your diet. Why rye breads? Because a 2010 study found that rye bread offers more relief than regular wheat bread or even laxatives.

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