6 Real Food Tips for Overcoming Constipation

Trading diarrhea for constipation?

This was NOT what I signed up for when I started SCD.

10 months into SCD, I had suddenly flipped from gassy loose stools to gut squeezing, belly protruding constipation. I was going sometimes up to 5 or 6 days without a movement. And it was consuming all of my attention after a few days of not going. This was a new kind of pain. Diarrhea pain I could handle; it was familiar, but this was a totally new sensation.

And I hated it.

Sure, I tried prunes – no luck. I couldn’t get any answers from the old school SCD world…

So I walked away.

I went for a walkabout, willing to try anything. Not judging, just experimenting, hiring experts and in the end found out several root causes that were driving my problems and lots of quick ways to get rid of constipation while I worked on the root causes.

First Things First, Are You Actually Constipated?

I honestly didn’t understand it, till I went 6 days without pooping. I thought rabbit pellets were bad… but that pain is nothing like what it can escalate to.

The word constipation is a lot like the word healthy. It seems everyone has their own definition of it largely based on preferences. I think it’s important for everyone to critically assign a definition to both of these words. And so to begin I’ll give you mine for constipated.

To define constipated let’s start with the ideal bowel habits which are characterized by having 1-3 painless bowel movements per day that come in at a 4 to 5 on the Bristol Stool Chart. So, from this definition you can see we have 2 important stool indicators, frequency and quality.

Having issues with either is a problem. Regarding frequency you should be going at least once per day. If you are going every other day, this is on the slow side. But going every other day is great compared to going every third day (or once a week), so there’s a sliding scale to be aware of.

When you do have a bowel movement in the 1-3 range on the Bristol Stool Chart these are on the slow, sluggish or constipated side. Let’s say you are going daily but it’s a 1 (rabbit pellets), some might say you are constipated. I would say your motility is a bit slow. This is something to improve but not total constipation.

In other words, there are varying degrees of constipation, from mild to moderate to severe and the factors that create these levels are the frequency and quality of your movements.

So, if you are having non-ideal frequency or quality, the following types of food can and will improve your health and bowel movements.

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Can Food Completely Relieve Constipation?

This is a very common question with an unpopular but true answer of sometimes. As with most things in health, each individual is different. Each person has a different health history, lives in a different area, has a different gut flora, and leads a different lifestyle.  There are way too many variables to ever get a universal solution, which is why pharmaceuticals never work for all and why we’ve been saying for years SCD must be tweaked to create a custom diet.

For many people, switching to SCD is all that is needed to get rid of their constipation. For others, SCD alone isn’t enough which is when it’s time to try the ideas presented below, but there will be plenty including myself who need even more help from custom supplements and advanced testing to fully correct and reverse constipation.

But the foundation of health and good digestion will always be food so start there.

6 Diet Changes You Can Make to Improve Constipation

The first diet change is to remove any foods that might be contributing to the problem. The biggest offenders include wheat, dairy and other grains. So, after you switch to SCD or Paleo take your diet to the next level with these changes.

1. Add More Fat

This is the most common error we see with those eating a grain-free diet. After fighting tooth and nail against giving up wheat they realign their fight towards fat. I think this a great example of how we’ve all been marketed into a diet by the food producers.

I first picked up on this from Jamie, a highly trained nutritional consultant from New Zealand. I was fighting with constipation and looking for answers. His article above gave me a breakthrough.

It turns out fat is not only needed for our hormones, cell walls but also for good digestive motility. Jaime pointed me to this study, which shows an increase in motility by ingesting a higher fat diet compared to controls. The mechanism for the increase in motility will likely never be completely proven due to the number of variables involved in health.

But there are at least two possible reasons, we know of at this time, that could increase motility due to a higher fat diet. The first could be because some of the fat might pass through to the colon increasing the speed of bowel evacuation. The second, as Paul points out, might be due to bile acid release.

In my experience, fat content plays a large role in my bowels and now that I’ve worked with plenty of constipated clients I know this diet trick almost universally helps with constipation. Some ways to add more fat to your diet are to eat fattier cuts of meat like bacon, add spoonfuls of healthy oils like coconut oil to your meals, or eat an avocado daily. Try adding more fats for at least a week before moving onto another suggestion below.

2. Consume Fermentable Foods

When I started this journey I read about how 50-80% of your stool is made up of bacteria. And I thought well all I need is to eat a bunch of bacteria then. Nope. It’s never that easy.

It turns out that eating fermentable substrates might be more important for proper stools than eating probiotics. You might be more familiar with the term prebiotics.

It appears the best way to encourage changes in flora are likely from the inside out. Just as we encourage proper small intestine bacterial growth through foods, we can encourage proper colon bacterial growth with foods that contain fermentable substrates.

Some of these fermentable substrates are: polyols, oligosaccharides, pectin, beta-glucan and other non-absorbed carbohydrates and protein that make it to the colon.

Paradoxically many of the fermentable substrates listed above that encourage healthy colon flora are those indentified as bad in the FODMAPs diet. So, from one viewpoint these foods can cause diarrhea and bowel issues but in another they might actually encourage proper bowel health. There will be more on this to come in the future, but for now remember no hormone is ever good or evil and the same is true for real foods.

If you have constipation issues, start eating more of these foods on a weekly basis: onions, garlic, mushrooms, berries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, pears, apples.

3. Eat More Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate isn’t the devilish demon some people like to make it out to be. Each person is an individual, so just as a diabetic and a person with SIBO will want to limit carbohydrate a person who is training for an ironman or constipation might need to increase it. The point is each person is living a certain lifestyle and has certain health conditions. And depending on those variables dietary carbohydrate should be custom fit to their needs.

When it comes to constipation there are a few reasons why adequate carbohydrate consumption could be very important to improving your stools and health:

  • Some carbohydrate make their way to the colon for fermentation by microflora
  • Too low carbohydrate for too long downregulates thyroid hormones slowing motility
  • Health problems typically tax the adrenals and requiring the body to make most of its glucose on a weekly basis from gluconeogenesis could further dysregulate hormones

So, the question is what is adequate carbohydrate consumption? Volumes of books and research studies have been written on this. And after reading experts on both sides of the fence and working with lots of people, my current point of view is…

Ketosis is not bad, but it is not good to be in it at all times, especially if you have adrenal issues. And depending on your glucose tolerance, recovery status and work demands you may need more carbohydrate than your neighbor.

If you have constipation, there appears to be a carbohydrate sweet spot between 75 and 150 grams a day. Try both ends of that spectrum for improvements. And if you have a few days of 20 grams don’t freak out it will be okay and likely beneficial. But make a note if it affects your stool quality.

The message here is occasional ketosis is likely beneficial and for those with constipation higher amounts of carbohydrates in the range above might work for them better. So, if you are experiencing constipation and have been on the lower side of this per day test shooting for 125 grams of carbohydrate a day for a week and see what changes.

4. Consume More Bacteria

Each month our understanding of probiotics increases and changes. In just the last five years alone the understanding of the gut and ingested probiotics has almost reversed 180 degrees.

Only a few years ago research surmised that the primary reason to consume probiotics was that they took the place of bad bacteria and helped to repopulate the gut with these good bacteria.

Newer studies strongly question this viewpoint and actually suggest that the reason probiotics help is due to reducing inflammation and that they interact with our immune system to help train and prime it for proper responses to stimuli.

What is clear from my experience and having the unique position to talk with so many others is that generally speaking eating probiotic foods helps constipation. Whether you choose SCD yogurt, Sauerkraut, or something else. In most cases, just eating these daily will help improve stools.

So, if you’re suffering from constipation and not eating a daily source of probiotics, pick one from the list above and begin eating it daily.

5. Eat Prunes

Prunes might be the oldest trick in the book for constipation. In fact, they were Elaine Gottschall’s go-to idea for constipation. But I have to admit I haven’t been much of a supporter of them until recently.

See, when I was struggling with constipation I tried prunes and prune juice and neither helped. So, at that point I got very skeptical and thought prunes might be an old wives’ tale. I moved on to the ideas presented in this article, which all worked well for me.

Then, in the last couple months as I’ve been researching constipation more and refining my views on food I came across this study on prunes and constipation. It shows that 70% of people receiving prunes had an improvement in their constipation symptoms.

The fascinating part of the study is they tested whether the prunes worked solely due to an increase in fiber content or something else. And what they found was the fiber was not the sole reason for the easement of constipation symptoms. While the control group that received only fiber did have some improvements in symptoms, the amount of people who reported better symptoms were almost double in the prune group.

What’s clear is that while they don’t work for all, but for some people prunes are a miracle worker. We are all individuals and not everything works for everyone. So, all I can do is give you the tools and hope that you have the patience and persistence to try them until you find the combination that works for you. The best thing to do if you are looking for ways to deal with constipation is to test eating 3-8 prunes a day for a week and see what happens.

6. Add More Salt to Your Food

Salt is your friend, regardless of what you’ve heard or read. You need salt to live. We are living things – sustained with small electrical charges, which are dependent on electrolytes. Lose too many electrolytes that the electricity in your body doesn’t flow as freely and you’ll begin to suffer health consequences and can even die. Salt is one of the most important if not most important of these electrolytes.

In a standard American diet, salt is added to almost every single food because it increases the chances we will crave it and buy it again. Just about every boxed product on the market contains added salt for these reasons. When someone switches to SCD, there is typically a dramatic dip in the amount of salt consumed in the diet due to the elimination of these processed foods. Some might argue this is good for health, but I’m not convinced. As Chris Kresser pointed out, the research we have to date is pretty clear. You don’t want to consume less than 3,000mg a day or more than 7,000mg a day.

It’s quite common on SCD to salt some food here or there but many including myself struggle to eat the research reported minimum level of 1.5 teaspoons (3000mg) a day. And if you are exercising and leading an active life your need for salt increases.

Beyond our need for electrolyte function, salt is very important for proper thyroid and adrenal hormone health (Dave Mayo does a great overview here). Without adequate salt neither will work very well. And a sluggish thyroid or adrenals are very common reasons for constipation.

The easiest way to test if this will help your bowels is to add a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in the AM and PM.

Implementing the Ideas to Stop Your Constipation…

When you’re constipated, the only thing that matters is getting rid of the pain which can cause us to act without abandon.

However, I want you to understand how these ideas affect your health. I want you to get in touch with your body and learn what it needs to be healthy. Therefore, please don’t try all of these ideas in one day or even one week.

Instead, be strategic about it. Pick one of the ideas above and test it for a minimum of 4 days if not a whole week. And then if you still want more improvement begin stacking them.

By the end of the month, you’ll be consistently eating more fat, some prunes, have added salt and probiotic foods on a daily basis. In this way, you’ll know how each affects your body and be able to create sustainable habits that you can use for the rest of your life.

If you want even more in-depth help with constipation, check out our 2.5-Hour Constipation Help Program.

In these materials, I guide you through proven, non-toxic and non-habit forming protocols to start pooping on a daily basis. More importantly, we dive into the root causes of constipation that are typically the real reason behind the bloating and pain.

Learn more here: http://constipationhelp.scdlifestyle.com

Let me know in the comments below what’s working and what’s not. There are lots of ways to solve this problem and I’d love to hear how you are doing it.


Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started HealthyGut.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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99 thoughts on “6 Real Food Tips for Overcoming Constipation

  1. Avatar
    cockapoowalker says:

    I found this site by Googling why do fats help my constipation. My question was answered. I had noticed that I am always able to go after a restaurant Meal which contains many more points than my dietary plan allows. Now I understand the secret importance of the fats and thank you for this.

  2. Avatar

    i love all comments and i am going to use it and try what is working for me. Want to find out more about SCD diet. Is anybody lost appetite and lost weight being constipated i would like to know how to bring my appetite back and get rid of constipation. Also i would like to look into SCD diet. thank you .Please reply

  3. Avatar

    I have recently started drinking Smooth Move medicinal tea whenever I get constipated for over 2 days. I’ve been in a situation where I haven’t pooped for around 6-7 days and find myself so uncomfortable, I start consuming random foods that I wouldn’t typically just to see if anything would work (sugar, soda, bread, etc.). Also, a non diet remedy I find always helps, is going on a long run. It seems to usually do the trick, unless I’m in my normal daily running routine and still constipated.. that’s when the tea is so handy.

  4. Avatar

    This is such a great article! I’ve been feeling a little “sluggish” lately, which was a frequent problem before i made the switch to plant-based 7 months ago.

    After reading the article, i ate a whole avocado (fat), a handful of pumpkin seeds (insoluble fiber), and a liter of water with a tablespoon of baking soda (electrolytes/salt).

    An hour later, the “urge” hit me, and now I’m feeling back to normal.

    Such a great article! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. Avatar

    This is such a well-written article. I’m going to take these suggestions, and do my best to implement them slowly. Often I try too many things and it backfires on me, and I get disappointed and give up.

    • Avatar

      Update: Bumping up my carbs has significantly helped me! But not the amount recommended in this article. The body converts fuel differently between carbs, protein, and fat. I was so constipated and so tired all the time. As soon as I bumped up my carb intake to about 300 grams a day, my bowel movements returned within two days! It’s been 5-6 weeks, and now I can cut the amount of carbs in half, and I’m still ok. I don’t feel 100%, but so so much better. (I do want to note that I know 300 grams is a lot, but I was about 97 lbs. I was over exercising and not eating enough. My hunger signals were out of sync. And the more constipated I got, the less I wanted to eat.)

  6. Avatar

    I’ve learned so much on my own – like never eat undercooked cruciferous veggies, limit grain intake, and if I do eat a lentil soup, make sure it is red lentil! Brown and green lentils are heartier, and more fibrous. Red lentils have a little less fiber and do cook up differently. And, my goodness, I do need sodium. And water. If I dare have a glass of wine with dinner, I need at least 3-5 cups of water after dinner. And magnesium is a girl’s best friend!

  7. Avatar

    Any supplements I can take for my constipation. I change diet so yeah constipated drink lats of water that is like warm. Any dangers in taking hcl Nd digestion enzymes

  8. Avatar

    I have been on and off the SCD diet for the past 1-2 years due to constipation issues. Even increasing fiber doesn’t work for me. My gut motility has been extremely slow in one part of the colon, and the doctor and surgeon have considered removing my sigmoid colon since it is distended, redundant, and filling up with stool that doesn’t appear to be moving. I was taking stimulant herbs for the past 3 months (senna, cascara), and I have been trying to wean off of them. Unfortunately, taking magnesium, miralax, and lots of water just makes fluid sit in my intestines, but there is no motility. I have even tried prunes, and increasing my fats with coconut oil, but with little success. I have some success using buffered vitamin C (magnesium ascorbate), but it never gets much solids out. I hope there are some other options before resorting to surgery.

  9. Avatar

    I have been dealing with constipation since I turned 22. All of a sudden I wasn’t going every day like I used to, and I assumed that was just me getting older. The only times I did have a good BM the next morning would be after a high fat, no carb dinner which I try to have every night for the past 7 years. It means I can have a sandwich or wrap for lunch once in a while. But I have to say, if I do get backed up for any reason, I take magnesium chloride(or sulfate-the epsom salts) in a really big glass of water. It has helped me so much more than mag citrate in pill or liquid form!

  10. Avatar

    I have struggled with constipation most of my life, this year has been the worst. I am quite active and eat only semi healthy. I was constipated for 16 days in December, it was awful, I felt like I was 3 months pregnant. I tried everything! laxitives did not work. I went to hospital after an X-ray showing how full my stomach was they did an enema (didn’t work). I went to another doc the next day who ordered the same, the results were better but not by much. Frustrated I decided to go home juice for a few days and increase my activity. Swimming helped. It’s been two weeks and I’m eating better exercising every day twice a day, there are movements once sometimes twice small pebbles but it’s something. I can’t go on like this it has consumed my life! Anyway graphic I know buthat we are here because we all suffer or have suffered. I will try the SCD diet, thank you for this article. I am off to buy avos and good fats.

  11. Avatar
    Patricia Gatesman says:

    I have chronic constipation caused by stress & anti biotics. I used to have IBS regular BMS. Now I have a rectocele, no signals to the brain. I am on 3 stimulant laxatives & Peristene (like enema).
    I would like to try the diet bit I have tried so many diets with no success. What do you suggest??

    • Avatar

      Hi Patricia – thanks for commenting!

      We know how you’re feeling – Steve and Jordan tried what seemed like everything before finding success on SCD.

      We can’t promise you’ll have success – and we wouldn’t want you to trust anyone who did – but we can the;; you we have seen so many people have incredible results by customizing the SCD diet to work for them.

      Following the diet starts with a three month commitment – whether or not you have success on SCD those three months are going to pass, and if you’re successful, they’ll be the first three months of your new life.

      We hope you’ll give it a try! You can get started here: https://healthygut.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

  12. Avatar

    First comment for me I had been struggling since the end of 2013 with constipation. Prior I always experienced diarrhea. But as for the the last two weeks and I have lost weight as well. I started something one because I was running out of ideas I ran the gammit of trial and error mostly error. But I have been doing so good I have to share. Flaxseeds 2tablesoopns roughly didn’t measure then the same with quinoa all uncooked mix together with 4-5 ounces of unsweetened applesauce and go about my day I would do this every afternoon around 3 pm. Before I realized it I was going. And miraculously more than once a day. Never changing this daily ritual. Amen. 🙂

  13. Avatar
    Random Reader says:

    I still consume 1 apple a day after I eat, and I’m still constipated. I usually use to go to the bathroom right after eating a watermelon slice and now I don’t. Fiber and fruit doesn’t work well much anymore. What’s wrong with me?

    • Avatar

      Sorry to hear you’re still struggling with constipation!

      Our first suggestion is always to add more fat to your diet. Follow the tips in this article or add 1 tablespoon of fat (like coconut oil) at each meal, increasing to 2 tbsp per meal if needed (up to 6 tablespoons per day).

      Give this a try and hopefully you’ll be feeling better soon 🙂

  14. Avatar

    Hi thanks for everyone’s comments and a great article. I’ve been struggling on and off with constipation for years and have found prunes help me as do eating all sorts of berries and cutting down on white bread, pasta and rice. My main issue is the terrible flatulence I have with constipation. I sometimes have terrible stomach aches with really bad smelling gas that I can’t hold in and it’s making me not want to go outside! Does anyone else have this from constipation? Are there any ways to get rid of this?
    Thanks for any advice x

  15. Avatar

    I’m on my first week of SCD, did the intro diet and have now introduced bananas and apples…. and I’m not pooping! I didn’t have diarrhea before I started but I’ve been battling digestive issues for years and have done SCD before to great success. I’m really frustrated and wondering if this is common. Can I likely expect the constipation to be alleviated as my body adjusts, or should I wander from the phase chart in order to find relief? I know everyone is different but just wondering If anyone has had this problem before and has any tips.

  16. Avatar

    I was suffering for so long…gluten and dairy free for almost 4 years….still having C problems, and it was getting worse. I printed out a FODMAP diet chart. I was eating apples everyday, along with a half of sandwich, with nut butter, either almond or sunflower. I was at my wits end! I cut out apples (which I have suspected), and then the real culprit the bread, and it was not the bread, the inulin in the bread. Since I have removed all bread with inulin, and bars with chicory root, I feel like a new girl. Look up and read about inulin and what it can do to you. I guess some people do okay with it, I of course got the rare reaction! Constipation, and I am so thankful it is gone!!!

  17. Avatar


    Hi I read many of the posts and comments that many people posted I feel so good about it. Thank you I am greaful?. but I couldn’t find anything similar to what I feel / With my pain).

    Five years ago I was a college student in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and suddenly constipation started me. At the same time my foot started to smell. Then followed by the constipation my pop started to smell in public. When this happen I was in my last year of college studies then I couldn’t continue having smelly pop in school And I quit. Ever since I was always alone. Couldn’t participate any socials affairs. After having used traditional remedies i get rid off the constipation but I couldn’t get rid off the smell of the pop that comes out of my Rectum.

    I started to understand that I feel little safer from mt pop smell when I am alone in a clean area. Any thing that has good or bad smell wakes and aggravates the Illness.

    I went to several doctors but non of them couldn’t do any good. I used Itraconazole for two weeks and it helped me 70/70% for my foot smell. I am suffering with the pop smell and I beg you to help me out.

    Thank you

  18. Avatar

    After cancer surgery and partial removal of the colon, constipation can be a problem. After all else failed, a nutritionist friend suggested taking magnesium and lo and behold, after several days, it worked. This included following a good diet with fiber and low carbs. No one at the cancer center knew about it, but an alternative nutritionist did. Makes you wonder. Check it out as we are the ones with the problem and need to be our own advocates for good health.

  19. Avatar

    I have been on the SCD for a while and, though it has done wonders for my weight and nerve pain/itching problems (which appeared to be allergy-related), I am really, really frustrated by the constipation.

    This is a bit personal, but I am really exhausted:
    The problem with me is that the stool never comes out as it should, its always in tiny little pieces that I just cannot push out. I strain and strain hard and usually there is always blood involved…:(

    ( I have had constipation all of my life, I don’t remember a time without it, but recently I have had this annoying “pebble” stool problem)
    I don’t know whats wrong or why I cannot go. The only time I received relief was when I made this split pea and rutabaga soup. It worked (but only a little) for some reason. Also a friend bought me a fruit bowl but it accidentally had some sugar on it, I of course, fell asleep and woke up drinking a gallon of water, because that’s what sugar does to me, but I was mysteriously able to go to the bathroom that night. Prunes don’t really work for me. Kombucha helps ever so slightly, but sometimes this backfires and causes a very bad amount of bloating, recently it has kind of helped though. I eat fermented pickles (Bubbie’s brand) and homemade yogurt, but this condition wont budge.

    I am kind of in pain and I just don’t know what to do.

  20. Avatar

    Ok, so I’ve been on the SCD since June 1st. The last few weeks have been absolutely brutal. I have C all week long with painful, small BM’s. Then, always on a Friday or Saturday it seems to all painfully release itself at once, D.

    This past week, the same. I’ve cut out the fruits and veggies I was eating in fear that they are causing this but I haven’t eaten them in a week and still the same problem.

    This whole week all I’ve eaten is eggs, scd yogurt, & basically beef.

    I’ve taken my normal pills.

    Probiotics, Betaince HCl, L-Glutamine and the Klaire Labs Digestive Enzymes.

    Would any of those pills be causing this or was it just the fruits and veggies I have to wait longer til theyre out of my system completely? Or is it the beef??

    I’m so long here. I never ever have regular BM’s, just weekly C followed by weekend D. Please help. Thanks.

  21. Avatar

    I, like Anna, am interested in relief from constipation. The suggestions above are appreciated, but I’m here now because nothing has ever worked for a sustained length of time. Debby, I’m on Day 2 and am wondering if you can offer any advice as I have the same questions as you. Thanks!

  22. Avatar

    Hi Jordan

    I’m on day 6 of SCD and about 2 days into phase 1. I add salt to everything but most of the other things you recommend I cannot use yet, as I haven’t phased them in yet. What can one use for constipation during the beginning phases of SCD that won’t cause a setback or upset the progress that’s already been made? Many thanks.

  23. Avatar

    Hey Steven! Just had a thought about prunes and prune juice. I’ve been trying to determine what the malic acid content is in prune juice, but with little luck. Something that helped in the past with C has been cherry juice which I know is very high in malic acid.

  24. Avatar

    quick question- was wondering why magnesium supplements weren’t part of the list? i find the only thing that works for me is a serious dose of magnesium bisglycinate. Any thoughts? thanks so much!

  25. Avatar

    I know many of us heard that bananas were what we were to eat if our poop was too “loose,” so I gave them up since that’s the opposite of my problem. Then I got an article in email about how bananas have gotten a “bad rep” on several counts, and they are really very helpful for many health reasons, one being they can help “keep you regular.” Shezam! They are like a gentle laxative for me; eating a ripe banana (any stage after they have at least a couple of small brown spots) will let me start my day with a natural, non-straining trip to the toilet. I’d include ripe bananas as a food #7 to try on this list! Oh, and this works as well if you make an SCD shake with yogurt, o. j., frozen fruit, honey, and a banana. You don’t have to eat the banana by itself. Tip: the shake blends faster if you use the banana as a room temp ingredient rather than frozen, and I think having the banana room temp may make the elimination benefits a little better too.

  26. Avatar

    I just started the intro diet (3rd day) and I am constipated, very bloated and gassy. I am trying to treat SIBO and don’t know if I can add the prunes, SCD yougurt, etc. I couldn’t even eat breakfast due to the gassy stomach. I will continue because I am determined to feel better!

      • Avatar

        Since I have been on low sugar/low fiber/low carb diet to keep bloating and cramps away (Until I could get into the GI Dr). I think the SIBO Bacteria is in “hiding”. The GI wants me to draw the bacteria out by eating as much of the above without causing awful symptoms before repeating a SIBO Hydrogen/Methane test (2 – 3 weeks). The previous SIBO test was only Hydrogen… I had a Thyroid test and all ok. What is your thoughts about while on Antibiotics for treatment of SIBO on diet? Should you limit SIBO causing foods or eat stuff to draw the bacteria out to be sure to kill off all the SIBO. I just want to do the right thing the first time! Thanks for your site. I missed your talk on Constipation…

  27. Avatar

    is prune juice as good as whole prunes, and how much (as an average). put another way how much juice equals one prune?

    thank you so much. you always have great things to say.

    by the way, have severe TMJ so cannot chew prunes for a while

  28. Avatar

    Thank you! I have a question – what can one do to break water enema addictions? I’ve had to use one daily for months after bowel prolapse surgery (lifetime of constipation). I’ve tried foods known to help, probiotics, and miralax & even senna tea (senna barely helped !). Just can’t figure it out? I’m considering taking out most fiber (leaving soft fruits only), I’ve been raw foodest for 7 + yrs, so this would be huge but I’m do desperate. Would cooked veg produce better Bowel movements than raw?

    Thank you!

    • Avatar

      Ali, I recommend taking probiotics including natural ferments eg sauerkraut and coconut yoghurt. Lack of enough friendly gut bacteria is so often behind longterm constipation. I recommend Bravo yohurt, which contains 42 species of bacteria and friendly yeasts and 10,000 other good things for the gut. The best on the planet apparently!! And if you are dairy intolerant, you can use the Bravo suppositories which innoculates the bowel fro the bottom up. …..they are more exy but apparently you take them for 3 months and your bowel is pretty much self reliant so long as you keep eating the sauerkraut etc and a good diet with leafy greens etc to keep feeding the good bacteria.

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    Fellows…I am on day 4 of the SCD starter diet and have not had a bowel movement in 6 days. The reason I started on the SCD diet is because I alternated between constipation and loose, soft stoolls leaking out of an apparent weak sphincter. But I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long without any kind of bowel movement! I’m beginning to worry a bit.
    NB: Constipation and. Weak sphincter are familial-related.

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      Yea, gotta love the weak sphincter, which in my research, childbirth can cause this and does in many women. I, like you, bounce back and forth. It is very disheartening when trying to plan a day of hiking, trips to Hawaii, etc. I cannot take anything that might soften the stool too much, because it will just ooze out, sometimes with no warning! If I eat too much of dairy, popcorn, soy, etc. “problematic foods” without an enzyme I am increasing the risk. Use of a cotton ball (about 1/4 of it) tucked in you know where has been extremely beneficial. Make it too large and it will come out. Experiment. I am now eating fermented homemade veg. (super easy) as well as raw dairy kefir and yogurt (SCD made with starter from GiPro) and sticking to a routine diet seem to have helped alot.

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    Pammela Hughes says:

    If You Have Problems Going & Have Reactive hypoglycemia and can’t take in alot of the things listed here without sugar dropping. My thyroid numbers have dropped still in normal range but t4 levels went from 1.31 to 0.95. So I believe this has something to do with the problem. Eating a Proper Diet Does not seem to be helping, at the time. I eat alot of protein, complex carbs & healthy fats. And I Drink lots of water. And I haven’t seen any changes. In Your Opinion Can Low Thyroid Cause Constipation? Thanks

    • Steven Wright

      Of course it can be a big part of the problem. But there is basically NEVER a smoking gun X causes Y scenario of constipation.

      Unless you thyroid autoiummune problem there is likely a adrenal hormone and sex hormone issue that is also happening in your case. Cortisol is very important for blood sugar regulation. I’d start digging there. And get rid of the “complex” carbohydrates if you are referring to grains.

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      I have IBS, and I find the best thing for me is to stay away from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, for example), as they irritate my stomach. I make herbal tea infused gelatine squares and eat them daily. The gelatine helps keep me regular!

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    Hello Lynda m… Carbohydrates are categorized in two types. Those are listed as simple and complex carbohydrates.
    Complex carbohydrates:
    They are simply sugars and bonded together to form a chain. The digestion time of complex carbohydrates are very high. Here are the some foods rich in complex carbohydrates.
    Spinach, Whole Barley, Grapefruit, Turnip Greens, Buckwheat, Apples, Lettuce, Buckwheat bread, Prunes, Water Cress, Oat bran bread, Dried apricots, Zucchini, Oatmeal, Pears, Asparagus, Oat bran cereal, Plums, Artichokes, Museli, Strawberries, Okra, Wild rice, Oranges, Cabbage, Brown rice, Yams, Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers, Pinto beans, Soybeans, Radishes, Skim milk, Lentils, Broccoli, Navy beans, Garbanzo beans, Brussels, Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kidney beans, Eggplant, Soy milk, Lentils, Onions, Whole meal bread, Split peas
    Simple carbohydrates:
    Most of the simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars, minerals and with few vitamins. Here the list of simple carbohydrates.
    Corn syrup, Fruit juice, Honey, Milk, Yoghurt

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    Thanks to your valuable info about constipation. I used to maintain a diet dairy when I was a dieter; I had changed my diet habits to cut my excess pounds but often it leads to constipation because of too much fiber consumption with less amounts of water in taking and sudden changes of diet. My nutrition explained me how to increase fiber levels, I had followed his tips and I started increasing weight loss and very soon I got relief from constipation issues. With my little diet changes I had found a lot of health benefits like stable insulin levels, good heart rate especially healthy colon. I stopped using enemas after my diet change. Later I became total vegetarian to maintain a healthy weight also to maintain other health issues like now. Always our diet is maintaining a crucial role in major health issues; please try to go with healthy diet.

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        But rice is a grain, so it is not SCD legal, right? Also, I was reading that teff is the farthest grass crop from wheat on the gluten scale. Is it possible that teff could be tolerated by a gluten sensitive person?

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        Basmati brown rice is very digestible and doesn’t seem to bother me too much I am diagnosed ibs-c with evacuation problems and sometimes having lemon butter rice with my chicken and spinach dinner helps me move completely the next morning.

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    Hi Steven
    I’d like to give a shout out for the good-old toilet stool – Squatty Potty.
    Yes I have a commercial interest, we sell them in the UK, but it is a US brand and it is so helpful for correcting the alignment of the bowel to make pooing easier, and more effective. It works without straining the pelvic floor which for women with prolpase or after hysterectomy is vital. I would urge your readers to check out the film on the site (very tasteful and informative) and if they think it could work try rasining the knees with the help of books, bricks or blocks and see the difference.
    Of course it should start with diet – this is essential, but for many who have suffered for years they need all the help they can get.

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        Hi Kira, thank you for reaching out! It is our experience and belief that pharmaceuticals are not the cure for constipation, while diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes are. We suggest finding the right version of the SCD diet or one similar and begin adding in these tips from the article to relieve the constiption.

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      I agree with you! my constipation has been pretty terrible for over a year now (i go every 3-5 days) and my food sensitivities are spiking again. When I do actually poop, I get better relief if I raise my legs on something. I don’t actually have a squatty potty, but 100% swear by the position for better emptying of the bowels. I’ve also told my family they could get me one as a gift ?. My entire digestive track is a hot mess, but Dr’s are garbage when it comes to help and everything on here sounds like SOOOO MUCH work. I’ve basically given up and just bare the pain.

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    Blackberries help me a lot. A good sized handful every other day usually does the trick. Sometimes I alter them with prune juice. In any case, it gets things working again.

    BTW, I had a Wendy’s Bacon Cheeseburger the other day–yes, I know, very bad but I only have them about 3x a year. The next day my bowels moved better than they had in ages. I truly believe the high fat content really helped.

    Don’t know if this would work for everyone, but the above seem to be sure fire methods for me. Been especially constipated since having a total hysterectomy. Before that, things were normal. So, the above foods are worth a try. They just may help!

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    JuanitaFrapp says:

    Thanks Steven Wright for sharing insightful healthy information. Even every person probably has experiences of constipation in some stage of their life its cause of poor diet. Many people are aware of diet what they need to eat when they are constipated. I consume enough fiber, fruits and vegetables and I do regularly physical exercise I really appreciate this blog Thank you.

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    Great article. I am on day 3 of phase 1 and i am highly constipated. I just love swinging from Bristol 6 to 1 in a blink. I had to stop my magnesium citrate due to rice flour as an illegal ingredient and haven’t had chance to replace it. I will get that back on board tomorrow and I started adding 1 tbs of coconut oil to each meal. Can I add it to my gelatin…okay that may be desperation speaking, but I’ll try anything once. I really love your material and have Elaine’s book on order and coming by Friday. I unfortunately cannot afford your consultation or secret Facebook group so I will obtain all I can through reading and absorbing the material I can find. Thank you for all you provide and I am grateful. Deb

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    Thanks for solving the most enquired query that does foods relieve the constipation issue. As far I believe “we are what we eat” when we consume healthy diet including the fiber of about 25-30 it really works for good colon health and can tackle the constipation and bowel movement issues.
    It will be better for laymen like me if you provide detailed information on the high carbohydrate and fat content for treating the constipation issues. Also I support your theme of taking more pro biotic food. As they can help in better handling of these issues and make colon pink of health.

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    Wonderful article I sometimes get constipated when ovulating and before my menstrual cycle. Fat definitely helps I always use tons of fat during those times and take an extra tablespoon of olive oil before bed if constipated. Beets seem to help to along with drinking warm liquids.

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    In one word- Quinoa! Quinoa is a miracle cure for constipation. Yellow or Red, it doesn’t matter. It’s packed with fiber, it’s delicious, AND it’s a superfood! I gaurantee it will work if you try it!

    • Steven Wright

      Glad it works for you Amy, but for most people we’ve worked and talked with it only makes their symptoms worse. Not to mention there’s the possibility if you have leaky gut to develop food sensitivities to the protein structure of Quinoa.

      I wouldn’t recommend it for relieving constipation as there are much better ideas.

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        Boy, did I find that out the hard way! I thought I was going to pass out after eating quinoa. Never had an issue for 10 years (celiac diagnosed 15 years). Then all of the sudden, severe pain, bloating and migraine! I started reading about the effects of quinoa and pin pointed to that. 🙁 I’m so disappointed! Not that I ate it often, just once in awhile…

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          I’ve just eaten a bowl of brown rice and quinoa. Yes I know, rice is a grain, so shoot me. As for the quinoa … I can only hope for a better outcome than you Sherry!

          I have SIBO and other food sensitivities (probably secondary to the SIBO, so getting rid of the SIBO is my top priority). On a low FODMAPs diet plus avoidance of other amines and glutamates my bowel function used to be pretty well normal. After a course of Rifaximin I relaxed the diet a bit, the SIBO returned and the end result is worse bowel problems than I had before – namely constipation. I am upping my insoluble fibre intake to try and deal with that – hence the rice and quinoa.

          The net is a minefield if you are trying to diagnose and treat yourself. But this article at least gives a few options that are safe and cheap.(Spent the morning watching a video about MMS and then googling ‘MMS dangers’ – and deciding that is NOT for me!)

          If anyone can point me in the direction of a constipation cure that does not have fermentable starch or amines or glutamates in I will be very grateful.

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    Very interesting! Thanks for posting this; I’ve tried most of these but I’ve never experimented with adding more salt and a quick glance over Cronometer shows that the CDC would be happier with me than Chris Kresser in that regard. Will have to experiment.

    I also found that prunes do nothing for me, but interestingly enough, raisins have a 50/50 chance of being effective. No idea what the difference might be.

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      In Ayurveda, they suggest stewing the prunes first! This helps hydrate them which makes it easier for most constipated people to digest. This science of life believes constipation is a dryness in the bowels and therefore fats help lubricate, stewing dried fruit before eating and avoiding airy/crunchy foods such as rice cakes, toast, dried chickpeas, crackers etc.

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