What are Some Laxative Foods?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are many foods that are known to produce laxative effects. Laxative foods can be consumed instead of chemical laxatives to treat mild cases of constipation or to prevent constipation. Among the foods that have laxative qualities are prunes, pears, bran cereals, and figs. Some people notice a laxative effect when they drink coffee or eat watermelon as well. Additionally, drinking plenty of water may not provide as much help once a person is already constipated, but it can go a long way toward preventing it.

Prunes are an effective natural laxative.
Prunes are an effective natural laxative.

People who include a healthy amount of fiber in their diets are less likely to suffer from constipation. As such, adding brand cereal to one’s diet may help treat mild constipation or prevent it in the first place. When a person eats high-fiber cereal or other fiber-rich foods, his stools become bulkier, which helps encourage intestinal contractions that allow the individual to have an easier time moving his bowels.

Drinking lots of water can help with constipation.
Drinking lots of water can help with constipation.

While fruit overall may be helpful for preventing and dealing with constipation, there are some types that are specifically identified as laxative foods. For example, a person may eat prunes or drink their juice to treat constipation. Dried prunes and prune juice are commonly used as a laxative. Pear juice is usually more effective than whole pears for treating constipation, but some people find canned pears effective as well. An individual may do well to avoid bananas when he is constipated, as they can make constipation worse.

Figs can help with constipation.
Figs can help with constipation.

Figs are often listed among laxative foods as well, and may be consumed for this purposes in fresh or dried form. Likewise, watermelon may prove helpful for dealing with constipation. It contains fiber and has a high water content, which is a winning combination when a person is dealing with constipation.

A cup or two of coffee can have a laxative effect.
A cup or two of coffee can have a laxative effect.

Many people count coffee among the laxative foods. In fact, some people have to move their bowels within a couple of hours of drinking coffee. This laxative food may be consumed in its caffeinated or decaffeinated form and have the same effect. It is worth noting, however, that a person who is attempting to drink coffee for its laxative effect may do well to stick to just a cup or two. If a person drinks too much coffee, his body may react to it differently, and he may end up constipated.

Whole pears are not as effective as pear juice in treating constipation.
Whole pears are not as effective as pear juice in treating constipation.

Drinking water is critical for a properly functioning digestive system. When a person doesn’t drink enough water, his stools may become dry and hard. As a result, he may have difficulty passing them. Drinking about eight glasses of water per day may help to prevent this problem.

Eating watermelon may help with constipation because its high in fiber and contains a lot of water.
Eating watermelon may help with constipation because its high in fiber and contains a lot of water.
Laxative foods can help relieve constipation.
Laxative foods can help relieve constipation.
Oranges may help with constipation.
Oranges may help with constipation.
Occasional constipation is generally no cause for concern.
Occasional constipation is generally no cause for concern.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon126030

Two foods that work great for me are sweet potatoes (yams) and bran cereals, especially bran flakes.

Prunes are pretty good, but I prefer fresh plums. Prunes are dried plums. I do not like the texture of prunes and am not crazy about the flavor. But fresh plums I find refreshing and delicious, the darker skin the better. I am on many medications which cause constipation, so this is a problem I must work on constantly. Also, drink plenty of fluids.

submariner

Many laxative foods are also weight loss foods. Whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables contain many insoluble and soluble fibers. They are also much better for your health. Foods like beets, tomatoes, whole grains, and some nuts are good for your heart. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals that many processed foods lack. Fiber also reduces your net carbohydrate intake. You will only digest 10 grams of carbohydrates from a piece of bread that has 16 total grams of carbohydrates, but 6 grams of fiber.

Furthermore, most processed foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and studies have shown that the body does not absorb these nutrients as well as those found in whole foods. This is the reason that whole food multivitamins are more effective than your regular multivitamin.

GlassAxe

A good natural laxative food is bananas. I used to give my baby extra ripe bananas when she would get plugged up. They also work the other way. Slightly green bananas will help to alleviate diarrhea. I am not sure what it is, but it works. They are also a little easier on a kid’s stomach than prunes.

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