Q:

What should I eat if I'm constipated?

A:

Quick Answer

People who are constipated should drink plenty of water and eat foods high in fiber, such as whole wheat cereal, prunes, beans, vegetables and brown rice. High fiber supplement drinks and caffeinated tea and coffee also help stimulate bowel movements, according to the Center for Young Women's Health.

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Full Answer

A drastic change in diet can cause constipation. Not exercising enough, not drinking enough water and delaying a bowel movement can worsen constipation symptoms. Adding some fat to meals or increasing the size of a meal such as breakfast can help create the urge to go to the bathroom. Individuals suffering from constipation should increase the amount of plant foods they consume to get more fiber in their diet. Constipation can be treated by changing diets, but increasing fiber intake may not work for everybody, states Cleveland Clinic.

Eating meals throughout the day can help constipation sufferers establish a rhythm for having bowel movements. They should also avoid foods that can worsen constipation, including ice cream, candies and other sweets, notes the Center for Young Women's Health.

Although having a little fat in the diet is good, explains Dr. Barbara Bolen for About.com, sweet foods are high in fat and low in fiber. Laxatives might provide temporary relief, but prolonged use can create the body's dependency on using them for bowel movements.

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