Natural Laxatives: 10 Fruits That Work Fast

Clinical review: Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
February 2022

Fruits like papaya, orange and plum are great natural laxatives for getting rid of constipation, even in people with a long history of this condition. These fruits contain large amounts of fiber and water, which speed up intestinal flow and make the formation of stools easier.

These fruits can be consumed daily, in their normal forms, squeezed into natural juices or as a part of a salads. They can also be given to babies and children, but in smaller quantities to prevent diarrhea. 

Learn about the 10 fruits you can consume to combat constipation below:

1. Papaya

Papaya is very rich in water and fiber, and is well-known for its ability to help with overall digestion. The "formosa" papaya variety contains even more laxative properties than the common papaya, as it has almost twice the amount of fiber (1.8g vs 1g respectively, both which are still ample amounts).

These two varieties of fruit contain about 11 g of carbohydrates and 40 kcal for every 100 g, in addition to nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.

2. Orange

Oranges are rich in water, which helps to hydrate he intestines and stool. They also provide a lot of bagasse (pulp, rind, and seeds), which have high fiber content to promote digestion. One orange contains about 2.2 g of fiber, which is a greater amount of fiber than the amount in 1 slice of brown bread, for example.

However, it’s important to remember that orange juice has virtually no fiber, because when the fruit is squeezed just for the juice, the bagasse ends up being wasted, along with the peel. Therefore, in the form of juice, orange is not a good laxative option.

3. Plum

Plums, both fresh and dried (prunes), are rich in fiber and are a great food for intestinal health. Each black plum has about 1.2 g of fiber, in addition to providing phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins to the body.

An important tip is to look at the product label when eating prunes to check if there is sugar added to the product, which greatly increases the calories of the plum and can impede weight loss. Prunes without added sugar are best.

4. Acerola cherries

Acerola cherries contain about 1.5 g of fiber for every 100 g of fresh fruit, and only 33 kcal, which makes this fruit a great option for the overall diet and intestinal health. In addition, this same amount of acerola has 12 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C for an adult, so it’s richer in this vitamin than orange and lemon, for example.

5. Avocado

Avocado is a champion in fiber content: 100 g of this fruit contains about 6 g of fiber. It’s also rich in fats that are good for the body and that help with the passage of stools through the intestine. It also helps to promote cardiovascular health and improve levels of good cholesterol.

6. Banana

Although bananas are known to slow down digestion, each banana contains at least 1 g of fiber. The secret is to eat this fruit when it’s very ripe, so that its fibers will be readily available to promote intestinal transit. On the other hand, those who need to control diarrhea should eat a banana when it's still half green, as its fibers will help to slow digestion.

Even better than this fruit in its fresh state is green banana biomass. It contains a high fiber content and is a naturally probiotic food, which helps to restore intestinal flora.

7. Fig

Two fresh figs have about 1.8 g of fiber and only 45 kcal, making it a great option to satisfy appetite for longer. As in the case of plums, when buying dried figs go for those with no added sugar by checking the ingredient list on the product label.

8. Kiwi

Each kiwi has about 2 g of fiber and only 40 kcal, which also makes this fruit a great way to maintain intestinal health within a weight-loss diets. In addition, 2 kiwis provide an adult's daily vitamin C requirement and have a strong antioxidant power, helping to prevent diseases and improve skin health.

9. Rose apple

Although not as common, the rose apple is one of the fruits that has the highest fiber content: 1 rose apple provides about 2.5 g of fiber, an amount that is often found in 2 slices of whole grain bread. In addition, it has only 15 kcal per fruit, much less than most fruits, which is great for weight loss and reducing the feeling of hunger.

10. Pear

Each pear, when eaten with its peel, has about 3 g of fiber and only 55 kcal, which makes this a very beneficial fruit for intestinal health. A good tip for weight loss is to eat a pear about 20 minutes before a meal, as this way its fibers will act in the intestine and generate a feeling of satiety, which reduces the feeling of hunger at the time of the meal.

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Atualizado por Tua Saude editing team, em February de 2022. Clinical review por Tatiana Zanin - Registered Dietitian, em February de 2022.

References

  • UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. Acerola, (west indian cherry), raw. Available on: <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171686/nutrients>. Access in 01 Oct 2021
  • WORLD GASTROENTEROLOGY ORGANISATION GLOBAL GUIDELINES. Dieta e intestino. 2018. Available on: <https://www.spg.pt/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/diet-and-the-gut-portuguese.pdf>. Access in 01 Oct 2021
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  • UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. Rose-apples, raw. Available on: <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168171/nutrients>. Access in 01 Oct 2021
  • UNIVERSIDADE ESTADUAL DE CAMPINAS. Tabela Brasileira de Composição de Alimentos - TACO. 2011. Available on: <http://www.nepa.unicamp.br/taco/contar/taco_4_edicao_ampliada_e_revisada.pdf?arquivo=taco_4_versao_ampliada_e_revisada.pdf>. Access in 01 Oct 2021
Clinical review:
Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
Graduated in Clinical Nutrition in 2001 and has a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Licensed to practice under the CRN-3 in Brazil and the ON in Portugal