Constipation isn’t the most glamorous of topics — but having it sure isn’t fun. For one, it’s extremely common, afflicting 42 million people in the United States. Each of us has different bathroom habits, but most experts say that three or fewer bowel movements per week could indicate a problem.
And although constipation can be caused by medical conditions (hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease), medications (painkillers, antidepressants), and other factors that may be out of your control, for most of us, it’s caused by what we’re eating — or, rather, not eating, says Elizabeth Blaney, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
The average American gets just 15 grams of fiber a day, though experts recommend at least 25. Most of us don’t drink enough water, either, which also contributes to constipation. Get things moving again with the 15 foods that follow.