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What foods help alleviate large, hard and infrequent bowel movements?

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Quick Answer

Foods that help alleviate constipation, which is characterized bylarge, hard and infrequent bowel movements, are those rich in fibers, such as whole wheat bread, cereals, fruits andvegetables. Constipation is typically the result ofslow and difficult bowel movement due to excessive absorption of water by the colon, as explained by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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Full Answer

In the United States, an estimated 4 million people normally suffer from constipation, as reported byWebMD. The condition is a more common occurrence in women than in men, which is often attributed to female hormonal impacts on the gastrointestinal tract. Other knowncauses for constipation include irritable bowel syndrome, drugs, inadequate intake of fiber-rich foods and fluids, insufficient physical work-out,changes in routines and certain medical conditions.Treatment for constipation usually starts by being selective in nutritional intake and by developing good habits, such as exercising on a regular basisand drinking plenty of water.

Physicians recommend incorporating 20 to 35 grams of fiber into the daily diet to aidmovement of bowels. Whole wheat bread, popcorn, granola, oat bran, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peas, spinach, avocado, papayas, dates, apples with peels, mangoes, blackberries, raspberries and oranges are moderately rich in fiber. Foods that arehigh in fiber content include cooked prunes, dried figs, baked beans, lima beans, pinto beans, chili with beans and kidney beans. Individuals who are constipated should also reduce their consumption ofice cream, meats, processed foods and cheeses, as suggested by Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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