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6 foods to help fight constipation

If you're regularly dehydrated, inactive or eat a high-processed food and low-fiber diet, you may experience a whole lot of constipation.
/ Source: TODAY

OK, so a lack of bowel movements may not be your favorite topic, but pretty much everyone goes through it at one point or another. So let's talk about it!

Constipation can occur for a variety of medical reasons, but more often than not, it is simply due to a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle. If you’re regularly dehydrated, inactive or eat a high-processed food and low-fiber diet, you may experience a whole lot of constipation. If you’re suffering from that crampy, bloated, “stuck” feeling, check out the foods below to help fill you up and “go.”

1. Water

I’m not trying to sell you on water being a delicious food, but I do want you to know that hydration is key when it comes to constipation. This is a no brainer when it comes to keeping yourself regular. Good ol’ H20 is a crucial component to relieving that uncomfortably “full” feeling and helping to move waste through your bowels.

Also, water has additional health benefits related to all cellular functions, including everything from your metabolism to your skin health. So, drink up, now, it’s the first step in stopping constipation.

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2. Apples

According to the USDA, a medium-sized apple provides you with 4.4 grams of fiber. One a day may or may not keep the doctor away, but its real superpower is the level of soluble fiber it contains. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that absorbs water. This means that it will retain water as it passes through your digestive system creating a gel like consistency and helping to prevent constipation.

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Slicing and enjoying apples on their own is an obvious go-to, but add apples to a cabbage slaw to mix things up and keep your fiber intake interesting. If you’re sick of chomping on apples, throw raspberries, grapefruits, mangoes and oranges into the mix, they’re also high in soluble fiber and great for digestive health.

3. Artichokes

Artichokes are an antioxidant rich, healthy whole food that provides you with 10.3 grams of fiber. It’s particularly high in insoluble fiber. This is the type that doesn’t absorb water, and bulks your stool. Think of it as a scrub brush going through your intestines. A healthy dose of insoluble fiber is just what you need to get things moving, literally.

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Steam and snack, or toss the hearts with hearts of palm for this super simple salad combo — or try one of Al Roker's favorite ways to eat artichoke: grilled with a tasty vinaigrette:

Artichokes not for you? Bell peppers, eggplant, and leafy greens like kale, broccoli rabe and arugula are also high in insoluble fiber.

4. Beans

There’s good reason why your parents were always reminding you to finish your peas and carrots, and that beans are referred to as the “magical fruit.” Legumes like beans, chickpeas and green peas are digestive superstars. Depending on what type, they will have anywhere from 6-9 grams of fiber per half cup! Top your salad with these or try a bean salad like this black-eyed pea salad, that contains artichokes to make it even better for your gut. If you want a bean dish that's a little more substantial, whip up this tasty white bean stew:

Uccelletto Beans

5. Oatmeal

One cup of traditional oatmeal will provide you with 4 grams of fiber. Like all high-fiber foods, oats contain a combo of insoluble and soluble fiber, but they’re famous for helping to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of diabetes.

Oats make a perfect breakfast to get you going (in energy levels and on the potty). Top with raspberries for an extra fiber boost, or if you suffer from an insatiable sweet tooth, try this peanut butter cup oatmeal.

6. Pistachios

These on-the-go nuts are high in potassium, provide you with important B vitamins, and just one ounce packs about 3 grams of fiber. The fiber will help stay fuller longer and the healthy fat and protein also add satiety, making them a perfect snack if you’re looking to manage your weight. Plus, you gotta do a little work for each one! Use them to top a salad for extra crunch, even include them in your salad dressing for an extra nutty flavor or make your very own pistachio butter.

Pistachio Butter

Get The Recipe

Pistachio Butter

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

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