By Christine Ruggeri
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.
What Is Occasional Constipation?
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.
Best Supplements for Occasional Constipation
When exploring the best supplements for occasional constipation and bloating, look for those that feature gut-friendly ingredients that will promote overall digestive health.
1. SBO Probiotics Ultimate
Our SBO Probiotics - Ultimate support healthy bowel transit time and 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.
2. SBO Probiotics Gut Restore
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.
3. Multi Collagen - Gut Restore Capsules
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen - Gut Restore capsules support a healthy population of probiotics and microflora in the gut. This helps to support healthy elimination and digestive function, and may help to reduce occasional constipation.
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.
4. Multi Collagen Protein
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 Protein is available in an easily dissolvable unflavored powder, making it easy to add to your favorite coffee, latte, tea, baked goods, soups, rice and smoothies.
5. Astragalus Capsules
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.
6. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is often taken to help form stool and relieve occasional constipation. It’s known as one of the best fibers 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.
7. Apple Fiber
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:
1. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
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:
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
2. Prunes and Figs
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.
3. Chia and Flax Seeds
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.
4. Ancient Grains
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:
5. Pulses and Legumes
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:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Fava beans
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
6. Warm Liquids
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.