Fruit is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which acts as a natural laxative and helps to keep you regular. Fruit juice, fresh and dried fruit are all natural digestive aids that help prevent constipation and keep your digestive system functioning normally. The American Dietetic Association recommends getting at lease 20 grams to 35 grams of fiber daily. Adding fiber to your diet also helps reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Berries provide big fiber benefits and make good afternoon snacks. The fiber in these fruits have natural laxative effects, and they provide your body with an antioxidant boost from vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and phytochemicals. Cranberries and blueberries may even help prevent bladder infections, according to the National Institutes of Health. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber, while blackberries contain around 7.6 grams of fiber per cup.
An average apple has 4.4 grams of fiber, a medium banana has 3.1 grams of fiber, oranges have 3.1 grams of fiber and pears have 5.5 grams. Besides the benefits of vitamins and minerals, these fruits contain insoluble fiber in their skins and soluble fiber in the fleshy part of the fruit. Insoluble fiber add bulk to waste products, helping them move quickly through your digestive system.
Apricots contain 0.7 grams of fiber, nectarines have 2.3 grams of fiber, melon contains 1.4 grams of fiber per cup and pineapple has 2.2 grams of fiber per cup. The soluble fiber in these fruits helps to slow the passage of food through your intestines and helps lower your blood glucose, according to Colorado State University Extension.
Dried fruits are another source of dietary fiber that helps keep your digestive tract functioning normal. Three prunes contain 1.9 grams of fiber and one tablespoon of raisins contains 1 grams of fiber. Figs are a rich source of dietary fiber, with 10.5 g of fiber in a serving of three dried figs. Dried fruit can be added to other foods such as cereal and breads or can be eaten alone as a snack. Drink plenty of water to help your stools move through your digestive tract and keep your bowel movements normal. If you are increasing your total daily dietary intake of fiber, be sure to gradually increase the amount to reduce bloating and gas that may result.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: What I Need to Know About Constipation; 12-2008
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Constipation; 7-2007
- Mayo Clinic: High-Fiber Foods; 11-17-09
- Medline Plus: Cranberry; 6-17-11
- Colorado State University: Dietary Fiber; 1-10-11
- Continuum Health Partners: Dietary Fiber
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.