Can Bananas Help with Constipation?

Ripe bananas and other sources of dietary fiber can help you poop. But to make it work, there're things to mind. As eaten improperly, they can cause constipation.

The inability to have a bowel movement at least three times a week is called constipation, and is not healthy. In fact, many doctors will tell you a bowel movement every 24 hours is considered healthy, and how well you poop sometimes will determine your overall health. If you eat well, stay hydrated, and lead an active lifestyle, constipation can be avoided. For the rest of us who have trouble with constipation we are left wondering, what can be done, can bananas help?

Do Bananas Help You Poop?

The short answer is yes, but only if the bananas are ripe.

Eating yellow ripened bananas in moderation helps cure constipation because they are a great source of insoluble fiber. Each regular sized banana contains three grams of fiber, and this translates to 10% of the recommended daily allowance the body needs to prevent constipation. However, you will want to drink plenty of water when eating bananas, because the fiber can also harden your stool and could create a blockage.

One of the many benefits of bananas is that they also contain a source of potassium that helps facilitate the passage of the stool through the bowls and avoid constipation. Because bananas are rich in nutrients, and an enzyme called fructooligosaccharide, bananas do not ferment once they reach the intestinal tract, and acts like a mild laxative promoting regular daily bowel movements.

Things to Keep in Mind

Do bananas help you poop? Yes, they do and you may just feel like rushing to the fruit store and get a hand of bananas. But before that, there're things you should know to avoid constipation.

1. Eat Ripe Bananas

If you eat bananas before they have fully ripened, you risk getting bloated and constipated. When bananas still have a greenish tint to them, the chemical makeup is not optimal. Because the starches in the banana have not turned into sugars, this starch results in bloating and constipation. When you purchase bananas at the local grocery you will usually see green or slightly green bananas for sale. You need to let the banana ripen at room temperature for up to a week before you eat them.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

In order to ensure regular bowel movements, you must drink plenty of water when you eat ripe bananas. Remember that bananas are high in fiber. While fiber acts like a laxative when combined with water, it can have the opposite effect if you do not stay hydrated, leaving you with even worse constipation than you started with. The pectin in bananas also acts as a binding agent that if not consumed with water could even lead to a blockage in the intestine.

3. Do Not Give It to Babies

Do not give bananas to babies and infants because it causes them constipation. Even toddlers need to avoid foods that contain bananas, rice, applesauce and toast (BRAT). However, you may want to consult with your pediatrician if your child develops diarrhea, because these BRAT foods can help tighten them up.

Other Foods That Help You Poop

Do bananas help you poop? Yes, they do; but you just don't like the taste of bananas, are there any alternatives?

1. Cold-Pressed Oils

Fat acts as a lubricant for our bodies and we should not be avoiding fats in our diets because fats help food digest and pass through our bowels lubricated. Use cold-pressed oils for a well-regulated colon, such as flax, olive oils and coconut oils when planning meals and snacks.

2. Dried Figs

This portable snack comes in handy when things are backing up. A half cup serving provides a whopping 7.3 grams fiber, 19% of the daily recommended daily allowance for men, and a full 28% for women. A single serving of dried figs also provides more than 10% of vitamin K, and 11% of potassium, making them great for overall digestive health.

3. Green Smoothies

These chlorophyll powerhouse beverages are jam packed with plant fibers. Green smoothies help push food through your digestive track and literally clean you from the inside out! They are great by themselves or as a beverage addition to your regular meals.

4. Beans

Beans hold a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber that helps to maintain a balanced colon. Beans can easily be cooked and eaten on their own, or mixed into soups and stews to help keep the bowels healthy and regular.

5. Yogurt

Remember when purchasing yogurt, not all commercial yogurts are good for you. Many contain excess sugars that can actually help stop you up with constipation. You will need to focus on plain organic yogurt that provides plenty of probiotics that help to keep you regular.

6. Prunes

The old standby of yester year! Prunes are great as a snack and portable enough to carry with you. Each serving of three to four prunes eaten twice daily will get you back to your old regular self again by morning. They are a good source of fiber, and the skins act as a mild laxative to soften stools.

7. Berries

Life doesn't always come with pleasant solutions, but berries are the tastiest solution for constipation issues. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are wonderful sources of dietary fiber that help facilitate digestive constipation. Enjoy them by themselves, as a snack, or add them to your favorite cereal or smoothie to stimulate your body into action.

8. Nuts and Seeds

It might surprise you that nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber. Whether you are snacking on sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or eating almonds and cashews, nuts are the perfect portable snack item to carry along with you throughout your day to help keep you regular.

9. Apples

"An apple a day helps..." Well, you know the rest of that line, but what you probably didn't know is why. Apples help keep our digestive issues in check. Apples help move waste through the digestive track whether you are constipated or having diarrhea, apples can help save the day.

10. Oatmeal

Not only does oatmeal help bring your cholesterol levels down, it also helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. Rising in popularity are steel-cut oats, and they contain about twice as much dietary fiber as rolled oats. There is nothing like a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold winter morning, and you can add some fruits or nuts for added benefits.

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