Constipation Diet

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Food NameProteinCarbFatFiber 
Milk, human1740
Milk, cow's, fluid, whole3530
Milk, cow's, fluid, whole, low-sodium3430
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, whole3530
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, 1% fat3510
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, skim or nonfat3500
Milk, cow's, fluid, other than whole ("lowfat")3510
Milk, cow's, fluid, 2% fat3520
Milk, cow's, fluid, acidophilus, 1% fat3510
Milk, cow's, fluid, acidophilus, 2% fat3520
Milk, cow's, fluid, 1% fat3510
Milk, cow's, fluid, skim or nonfat, 0.5% or less butterfat3500
Milk, cow's, fluid, filled with vegetable oil3530


information and diet guidelines from the National Institutes of Health

Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. With constipation, stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating, and the sensation of a full bowel.

Some people think they are constipated if they do not have a bowel movement every day. However, normal stool elimination may be three times a day or three times a week, depending on the person.

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet typically is the cause. Most constipation is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help most people find relief.

What Causes Constipation

To understand constipation, it helps to know how the colon, or large intestine, works. As food moves through the colon, the colon absorbs water from the food while it forms waste products, or stool. Muscle contractions in the colon then push the stool toward the rectum. By the time stool reaches the rectum it is solid, because most of the water has been absorbed.

Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon's muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, stools can become hard and dry. Common causes of constipation are

  • not enough fiber in the diet
  • lack of physical activity (especially in the elderly)
  • medications
  • milk
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging, and travel
  • abuse of laxatives
  • ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • dehydration
  • specific diseases or conditions, such as stroke (most common)
  • problems with the colon and rectum
  • problems with intestinal function (chronic idiopathic constipation)

Not Enough Fiber in Diet

People who eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to become constipated. The most common causes of constipation are a diet low in fiber or a diet high in fats, such as cheese, eggs, and meats.

Fiber—both soluble and insoluble—is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel-like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.

Americans eat an average of 5 to 14 grams of fiber daily, which is short of the 20 to 35 grams recommended by the American Dietetic Association. Both children and adults often eat too many refined and processed foods from which the natural fiber has been removed.

A low-fiber diet also plays a key role in constipation among older adults, who may lose interest in eating and choose foods that are quick to make or buy, such as fast foods, or prepared foods, both of which are usually low in fiber. Also, difficulties with chewing or swallowing may cause older people to eat soft foods that are processed and low in fiber.

How to use our food database to select foods for constipation relief

This food database provides the fat, carbohydrate and protein contents, as well as those of fiber of approximately 7,000 food items. A food's mineral and vitamin contents are displayed in charts to allow easy evaluation of its nutrition. You can use these vitamin and mineral charts to choose the most nutrient-dense foods and avoid foods with empty calories.
In addition, the calorie pie chart shows the contribution of fat, carb and protein to the food's total calorie. If you wish to choose low-fiber foods, you can sort foods by their fiber contents. Click on the Fiber column header to reverse the current sort order.

Usage Note

  • Fiber, fat, carbohydrate and protein values in table are in grams and calculated per 100g of food.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by fiber, fat, carbohydrate or protein content.
  • Pie chart shows relative contributions to total calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat (and alcohol, if exists).
  • The mineral and vitamin charts show the relative contents of minerals and vitamins of each food. The higher the bubble, the higher mineral or vitamin content a food has relative to other foods. The larger the bubble, the greater the mineral or vitamin content relative to the Recommended Daily Allowances.

High-Fiber and Protein-Rich Food List

List of 100 foods highest in fiber and rich in protein. Fiber and protein contents are in grams per 100 grams of food weight. High protein values are those above 10 grams of protein in 100 grams of food; high fiber above 15 grams.

High-Fiber High-Protein Foods Fiber Protein

Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN WITH EXTRA FIBER 50.0 11.3

Wheat bran, crude 42.8 15.6

Spices, coriander seed 41.9 12.4

Cereals ready-to-eat, QUAKER, KRETSCHMER Toasted Wheat Bran 41.3 17.6

Spices, marjoram, dried 40.3 12.7

Spices, sage, ground 40.3 10.6

Spices, fennel seed 39.8 15.8

Spices, caraway seed 38.0 19.8

Spices, basil, dried 37.7 23.0

Spices, paprika 34.9 14.1

Spices, chili powder 34.8 13.5

Seeds, chia seeds, dried 34.4 16.5

Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, processed with alkali 33.9 16.8

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened 33.2 19.6

Spices, curry powder 33.2 12.7

Parsley, freeze-dried 32.7 31.3

Lentils, raw 30.5 25.8

Spearmint, dried 29.8 19.9

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, processed with alkali 29.8 18.1

Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, plain 29.8 16.8

Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN Original 29.3 13.1

Peppers, hot chile, sun-dried 28.7 10.6

Cereals ready-to-eat, POST, 100% Bran Cereal 28.6 12.7

Spices, cardamom 28.0 10.8

Celery flakes, dried 27.8 11.3

Seeds, flaxseed 27.3 18.3

Spices, pepper, red or cayenne 27.2 12.0

Leavening agents, yeast, baker's, active dry 26.9 40.4

Peppers, pasilla, dried 26.8 12.4

High-Fiber High-Protein Foods Fiber Protein

Spices, parsley, dried 26.7 26.6

Chives, freeze-dried 26.2 21.2

Spices, pepper, white 26.2 10.4

Peas, split, mature seeds, raw 25.5 24.6

Spices, pepper, black 25.3 10.4

Beans, french, mature seeds, raw 25.2 18.8

Beans, yellow, mature seeds, raw 25.1 22.0

Broadbeans (fava beans), mature seeds, raw 25.0 26.1

Beans, kidney, royal red, mature seeds, raw 24.9 25.3

Beans, kidney, california red, mature seeds, raw 24.9 24.4

Beans, kidney, all types, mature seeds, raw 24.9 23.6

Beans, small white, mature seeds, raw 24.9 21.1

Beans, cranberry (roman), mature seeds, raw 24.7 23.0

Spices, fenugreek seed 24.6 23.0

Beans, navy, mature seeds, raw 24.4 22.3

Rye flour, dark 23.8 15.9

Peppers, ancho, dried 21.6 11.9

Peppers, sweet, green, freeze-dried 21.3 17.9

Peppers, sweet, red, freeze-dried 21.3 17.9

Spices, dill seed 21.1 16.0

Rice bran, crude 21.0 13.4

Lima beans, thin seeded (baby), mature seeds, raw 20.6 20.6

Corn, dried, yellow (Northern Plains Indians) 20.5 14.5

Cereals ready-to-eat, UNCLE SAM CEREAL 20.3 16.0

Beans, great northern, mature seeds, raw 20.2 21.9

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, HERSHEY'S European Style Cocoa 20.0 20.0

Cereals ready-to-eat, NATURE'S PATH, OPTIMUM SLIM 20.0 16.4

Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GOLEAN 19.6 26.1

Spices, poppy seed 19.5 18.0

Cereals, KASHI GO LEAN Hot Cereal, Hearty Honey & Cinnamon, dry 19.4 22.0

Lima beans, large, mature seeds, raw 19.0 21.5

High-Fiber High-Protein Foods Fiber Protein

Papad 18.6 25.6

Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, with salt added 18.4 18.6

Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt 18.4 18.6

Mungo beans, mature seeds, raw 18.3 25.2

Bulgur, dry 18.3 12.3

Cereals ready-to-eat, NATURE'S PATH, OPTIMUM 18.2 14.6

Baking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid 18.1 12.1

Cereals, ROMAN MEAL, plain, dry 17.9 14.4

Soybeans, mature seeds, roasted, no salt added 17.7 35.2

Soybeans, mature seeds, roasted, salted 17.7 35.2

Soy flour, defatted 17.5 47.0

Meat extender 17.5 38.1

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, raw 17.4 19.3

Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GOLEAN CRISP Toasted Berry Crumble 17.4 18.1

Barley, hulled 17.3 12.5

Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG'S, SPECIAL K Protein Plus 17.0 33.7

Seeds, sesame seed kernels, toasted, without salt added (decorticated) 16.9 17.0

Seeds, sesame seed kernels, toasted, with salt added (decorticated) 16.9 17.0

Cereals ready-to-eat, Ralston Enriched Bran flakes 16.9 10.2

Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares 16.6 12.9

Tomato powder 16.5 12.9

Mung beans, mature seeds, raw 16.3 23.9

Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GO LEAN CRUNCH!, Honey Almond Flax 16.2 16.6

Soy flour, defatted, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 16.0 49.8

Soy flour, low-fat 16.0 45.5

Cereals ready-to-eat, KASHI GOLEAN CRUNCH! 16.0 18.3

Peanut flour, defatted 15.8 52.2

Peanut flour, low fat 15.8 33.8

Shallots, freeze-dried 15.7 12.3

Beans, black, mature seeds, raw 15.5 21.6

Beans, pinto, mature seeds, raw 15.5 21.4

High-Fiber High-Protein Foods Fiber Protein

Beans, black turtle soup, mature seeds, raw 15.5 21.3

Oat bran, raw 15.4 17.3

Beans, white, mature seeds, raw 15.2 23.4

Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, raw 15.2 22.5

Spices, onion powder 15.2 10.4

Cereals ready-to-eat, wheat germ, toasted, plain 15.1 29.1

Snacks, popcorn, air-popped, white popcorn 15.1 12.0

Rye 15.1 10.3

Pigeon peas (red gram), mature seeds, raw 15.0 21.7

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