Kiwi for Constipation: A Natural Remedy for Kicking Constipation
Article by Arnie Gitomer Mar 27, 2023Constipation is generally a mild medical issue that most people occasionally experience. However, sometimes constipation can be a much more severe health problem. And while many medications and treatments can help with constipation, something as simple as eating kiwi for constipation can substantially impact those suffering from this condition.
What are constipation and chronic constipation?Constipation can mean different things to different people who may experience the conditions. However, it is usually accompanied by some or all of the following symptoms:
- Infrequent stools, traditionally defined as equal to or fewer than three times per week
- Difficult stool passage accompanied by discomfort and straining
- Incomplete defecation
- Hard and dry bowel movements that may be abnormally large or small
- Pain during defecation
- Abdominal pain
While constipation can happen to anyone, several risk factors make specific individuals more prone to experiencing bouts of constipation, including:
- Inadequate fiber consumption
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Immobility or lack of exercise
- Advanced age
- Staying at a hospital or becoming bedridden
- Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, or congenital abnormalities
- Certain medications, including iron, opioids, and anticholinergics
Severe constipation may lead to fecal loading or impaction, which can be a serious medical problem. Chronic constipation, defined as having constipation for more than six months, has a prevalence of 14% of adults worldwide. It disproportionately impacts women and those with a lower socio-economic status. About 3% of adults will have symptoms that fluctuate and persist over decades, which can severely impact one’s quality of life.
How can kiwi help with constipation?Kiwifruit improves bowel functioning, which means it’s a great dietary supplement to relieve constipation. This fruit contains an enzyme called actinidin, which promotes laxation of the bowel. As a result, eating kiwifruit helps the bowels relax, which moves stool through the digestive tract, alleviating constipation. It is also a great source of dietary fiber and water, which can address some underlying causes or contributors to constipation.
Actinidin is also a probiotic enzyme that can break down protein, improve gastric emptying, and may facilitate lactation by stimulating receptors in the colon. Kiwis also have a high polyphenol content, which is excellent for growing beneficial gut bacteria, which can fend off harmful bacteria due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these activities can promote better digestive health and relieve constipation.
One research study on the effects of gold kiwifruit and psyllium showed that it could reduce symptoms of chronic constipation. This controlled trial followed healthy adults and those who had constipation. Patients took 7.5 grams of fiber from kiwi or psyllium twice daily for four weeks, paused for four weeks, then resumed the kiwi/psyllium ingestion. While kiwi and psyllium improved gastrointestinal symptoms, kiwi reduced constipation more than psyllium. In addition, spontaneous bowel movements without straining also increased, as did stool consistency. A similar study found the same beneficial effects when patients ate green kiwifruit.
Kiwis also have fewer side effects, including abdominal pain, than patients taking psyllium or prunes, another common food for constipation. Another study found the following prevalence for common side effects: kiwi-for-constipation
- Abdominal pain: 33% taking psyllium, 18% with prunes, 0% with kiwi
- Gas: 19% with psyllium, 18% with prunes, 0% with kiwi
- Bloating: 36% with prunes, 11% with kiwi, 10% with psyllium
As you can see, kiwifruit improves constipation and promotes laxation with fewer side effects than other standard treatments. It can be a healthy way to add fiber and water to your diet, improve overall digestive health, and combat constipation.
Studies show that adding two kiwifruits to your diet daily can soften bowel movements, reduce transit time, and increase defecation frequency. In addition, it is a natural laxative, and adding kiwi to one’s diet can also reduce the need for other laxatives.
In addition to the benefits kiwi can provide that support digestive health, this fruit is also loaded with other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can keep you in peak physical shape. Kiwis also have:
- Vitamins C: One kiwi provides approximately 64 milligrams of vitamin C, which can contribute to collagen production. Collagen boosts the body’s ability to heal and skin elasticity.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E can protect the skin from sun damage and prevent skin disorders.
- Serotonin: Kiwis contain antioxidants and serotonin, which can improve sleep quality.
- Fiber, potassium, and antioxidants: Together, these substances relax blood vessels to help manage blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Potassium: Potassium can also prevent kidney stones from developing.
- Antioxidants: Kiwis provide a range of antioxidants that can remove free radicals in the body, which can decrease the risk of many types of cancer.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin K and traces of calcium promote bone health.
Constipation can vary in severity from one patient to the next. It can range from mild discomfort to painful chronic constipation that profoundly affects daily activities. But kiwifruit offers an easy way to treat and prevent constipation. Adding more kiwi to your diet may be the right move to get things moving along your digestive tract and keep your bowel movements regular.
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