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Best Foods and Supplements for Occasional Constipation
By Rachel Link, RD, MS
November 18, 2023
If you occasionally produce fewer-than-normal bowel movements or occasionally have difficulty passing stool, you may be experiencing occasional constipation. It’s not a pleasant feeling and can lead to bloating, stomach discomfort and more. Some people turn to laxatives, but they can lead to stomach cramps and discomfort.
Thankfully, there are certain foods and supplements that support healthy digestive function and elimination. Generally speaking, adding high-fiber foods and soothing liquids to your diet can make a tremendous difference.
Plus, supplements containing probiotics and digestion-aiding ingredients give your body the extra tools to reduce occasional constipation and promote regularity.
Occasional constipation is when you sometimes have difficulty emptying your bowels. This is typically associated with hardened feces, which causes food waste, or stool, to move more slowly through your digestive tract.
If you’re occasionally producing fewer than three bowel movements per week or if you have small bowel movements that are sometimes difficult to pass, you may have occasional constipation.
Occasional constipation can be caused by several factors, including your diet, physical activity and stress levels.
When exploring the best supplements for occasional constipation and bloating, look for those that feature gut-friendly ingredients that will promote overall digestive health.
Probiotics for constipation are the first place to go in the supplement category. Our SBO Probiotics - Ultimate support healthy bowel transit time and can help improve digestion. They contain 50 billion shelf-stable CFUs per serving and feature soil-based organisms, prebiotics and postbiotics, a trifecta that can be used to reduce occasional constipation, gas and bloating.
We recommend taking two capsules daily with eight ounces of water.
Our Gut Restore Probiotic is made with time-tested Ayurvedic ingredients that support healthy digestive function, including organic licorice, marshmallow, zinc and magnesium.
These capsules feature 25 billion CFUs per serving and are meant to promote healthy bowel function and elimination. They help to maintain a healthy gut microflora and reduce occasional constipation and bloating.
Don't want to take a capsule? These days you can also choose a gummy. Featuring 10 billion CFUs per serving (two gummies per day for adults), our new SBO Probiotic Gummies (berry flavored) offer gut and digestive support thanks to tough probiotics that are resilient and highly adaptable.
These gummies support healthy bowel transit time, including regular elimination and supporting gut motility. They also help reduce occasional constipation, gas and bloating as well as symptoms of flatulence, abdominal distension and discomfort.
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Gut Restore is an unusual supplement that includes both skin, hair, joint and gut supporting collagen along a probiotic (5 billion CFU of Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis).
Essentially, this supplement combines traditionally gut-supporting ingredients to support gut microflora, gut lining and gut integrity. It can help reduce occasional constipation, gas and bloating, plus relieve symptoms of flatulence, abdominal distention and discomfort.
Each capsule features digestion-friendly herbs, including slippery elm, apple cider vinegar, and fermented peppermint and ginger. This formula was created to aid digestion and reduce collagen degradation.
You simply take 3 capsules daily with 8 ounces of water or your favorite beverage
Collagen for gut health? Yes, with our new Multi Collagen Protein powder with clinically studied ingredients, we also added proprietary clinically studied soil-based probiotics to add support for healthy digestive function, healthy elimination and healthy gut microflora.
Multi Collagen Proteinis available in an easily dissolvable unflavored powder, making it easy to add to your favorite coffee, latte, tea, baked goods, soups, rice and smoothies.
Our Astragalus supplement combined fermented astragalus root, a foundational herb in traditional Chinese herbalism, and powerful probiotics. These capsules help to support healthy digestive function and gut microflora, while reducing occasional constipation, gas and abdominal discomfort.
In addition to promoting healthy elimination, our fermented astragalus supplement also supports immune health.
Psyllium husk is often taken to help form stool and relieve occasional constipation. It’s known as one of the best fiber supplements and prebiotic foods for helping to move things along. It’s combined with water to produce more bulk in stool, which will help it to move through the digestive tract.
Psyllium husk is available as a powder that’s added to water or as a supplement. It’s important to use it with water or some kind of liquid. Be sure to read and follow product label directions.
Apple fiber supplements contain pectin, which is an insoluble fiber that helps add bulk to stool and ease constipation. Like psyllium husk, it needs to be consumed with water or a liquid to aid digestion. It typically comes in powdered or capsule forms and is taken with water to stimulate elimination.
The best foods to eat when occasionally constipated are nutrient-dense and provide the fiber you need to add bulk to stool, which keeps waste moving through the digestive tract.
In addition to adding these foods to your diet, there are foods to avoid when occasionally constipated, including empty calorie foods that provide little nutrition or fiber, fried and refined foods, conventional dairy products and alcohol. To promote regularity, add the following foods to your diet:
Probiotic foods as well as probiotic drinks can support healthy bowel transit time and digestive function. Certain strains of probiotics can also support healthy elimination and the body’s natural cleansing process, plus may even reduce occasional constipation, gas and bloating.
High fiber fruits and vegetables can help to alleviate occasional constipation in people of all ages. Adding them into your diet can help to keep you hydrated and promote regularity. Some of the best fresh fruits and veggies for constipation include:
Prunes and figs work to benefit occasional constipation because they are rich in fiber. Eating a few a day can serve to help with occasional constipation, but be careful not to go overboard since dried fruit contains high amounts of sugar.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are both high in fiber and can help to relieve occasional constipation. They both form a gel-like substance when combined with liquid in the digestive tract. This helps to bulk up stool and flush water from the digestive system.
Whole grains are typically much higher in fiber than refined grains. Eating ancient whole grains can help with stool frequency and enhance regularity. Some great options include:
Pulses and legumes are rich in nutrients and help to support healthy digestion by adding bulk to stool so that it can pass more easily. Some of the best pulses and legumes to add to your diet for easing occasional constipation are:
Drinking warm liquids over cold ones may help to stimulate digestion and get things moving, especially when consumed in the morning. Try herbal teas, warm water with lemon, bone broth and coffee in moderation.
Dehydration can cause occasional constipation or make it worse, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This is especially important when you’re increasing your fiber intake, as water is needed to turn high-fiber foods into stool that will pass easily through the digestive tract. Eating fibrous foods without enough water can actually make constipation worse.
Always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation. Overall, a good rule of thumb is: When you increase your dietary fiber intake, be sure to also increase your water intake to support healthy digestive function.