Submit manuscript...
eISSN: 2381-182X

Food Processing & Technology

Editorial Volume 2 Issue 4

Application of laxative foods in prevention and treatment of constipation

Fereshteh Aliasghari,1 Aziz Homayouni Rad,2 Negar Motayagheni,3 Hamide Homayouni Rad,2 Farnaz Sahhaf4

1Department of Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Iran
2Department of Food Science & Technology, Tabriz University of Medical sciences, Iran
3Department of Anesthesiology, UCLA, USA
4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tabriz University of Medical sciences, Iran

Correspondence: Aziz Homayouni Rad, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology, Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical sciences, Tabriz, IR Iran

Received: June 22, 2016 | Published: June 27, 2016

Citation: Aliasghari F, Rad AH, Motayagheni N, et al. Application of laxative foods in prevention and treatment of constipation. MOJ Food Process Technol. 2016;2(4):145-146. DOI: 10.15406/mojfpt.2016.02.00045

Download PDF


Constipation is a public health problem in both developed and developing countries.1 It is one of the most prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorders which significantly affect health-related quality of patient’s life because of a wide range of signs and symptoms including discomfort, restlessness, vomiting, abdominal distension, gut obstruction and perforation.2,3 Nearly everyone has experienced constipation during his/her life affecting the patients’ quality of life. The prevalence rates of the disease are controversial. A prevalence of 50% has been reported among adults and more prevalent among women and old people and about 11-38% of pregnant women suffer from constipation especially in the third trimester. On the other hand, only about one-third of constipated patients seek medical care and many of them self-treat their symptoms either by increasing their fiber intake or by using over-the-counter laxatives.1,4

Food stimulates or drug which concept may be of prior treatment?

Chronic constipation is a hard-to-treat condition, so prevention may be the best solution but there are a wide-range of treatment measures such as pharmacological (over-the-counter) laxative which are the most common treatment one for constipation.5 However, these drugs are not ideal in clinical point of view because of their potentially adverse side effects and thus, the patients should be awarded of its side effect.6 Therefore, alternative treatment measures are required. Although there is limited data on the effectiveness of life-style and behavioral modification, it is advisable to consider it as a first line of treatments.7 Increasing fiber intakes through dietary or medicinal intervention (laxative foods) has been well accepted as a method of choice in treatment modality to relieve symptoms, especially for mild complaints of infrequency or hard stools [6]. The gentlest remedies for constipation include increased physical activities, certain yoga postures, increase of fluid intake, and dietary changes including increased fiber and fruit intake.

Laxative foods

As mentioned above, most of the constipated patients do not consider the order of treatment according to guidelines and used to intake over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives and other related medicines without any trying on natural laxatives as food ingredients like fruit, dried fruit, seeds and other food stimulates. Since medicines have been shown some side effects and usually patients have not been satisfied with their treatments, food-based, natural, alternatives are needed to substitute for the currently on the market OTC laxatives and fibre supplements in first line of treatment. Some foods and other fiber rich agents making stools bulky and helps to intestinal frequent movements and contractions and consequently results in prevention and treatment of constipation.8 Some of these food ingredients such as plum, fig, flax seed, and bran because of their high dietary fiber results in easy stool pass then leading to decrease constipation.9-13 Beside fiber contents of this food stimulates other agent such as cysteine protease or actinidin of kiwifruit, Mucilage of flaxseed consists of acidic and neutral polysaccharides, oxyphenisatin and high contents of sorbitol and cholorogenic acids of plum are considered to act as contact laxative and lead to soft stool and bulky fecal and increases fecal excretion.14-16

All constipation types may be prevented and/or treated with laxatives foods successfully. So, it is suggested to use laxative foods alone or in combination with each other to prevent or treatment of the constipation.



Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


  1. Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, et al. Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2006;130(5):1480–1491.
  2. Mostafa S, Bhandari S, Ritchie G, et al. Constipation and its implications in the critically ill patient. British journal of anaesthesia. 2003;91(6):815–819.
  3. Chu H, Zhong L, Li H, et al. Epidemiology characteristics of constipation for general population, pediatric population, and elderly population in China. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2014;2014:532734.
  4. Bharucha AE, Wald A, Enck P, et al. Functional anorectal disorders. Gastroenterology. 2006;30(5):1510–1518.
  5. Ford AC, Suares NC. Effect of laxatives and pharmacological therapies in chronic idiopathic constipation: systematic review and meta-analysis. Gut. 2011;60(2):209–218.
  6. Wald A. Chronic constipation: advances in management. Neurogastroenterology & Motility. 2007;19(1):4–10.
  7. Bove A, Bellini M, Battaglia E. Consensus statement AIGO/SICCR diagnosis and treatment of chronic constipation and obstructed defecation (part II: treatment). World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(36):4994–5013.
  8. Kumar N, Kishore K. Chemical and herbal remedies for constipated patients: A review. Indian Journal of Drugs. 2013;1(2):23–37.
  9. Lucas EA, Mocanu V, Smith BJ, et al. Daily consumption of dried plum by postmenopausal women does not cause undesirable changes in bowel function. Journal of applied research. 2004;4(1):37–43.
  10. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE, Hussain EA, et al. Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food? Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. 2001;41(4):251–286.
  11. Oh HG, Lee HY, Seo MY, et al. Effects of Ficus carica paste on constipation induced by a high-protein feed and movement restriction in beagles. Lab Anim Res. 2011;27(4):275–281.
  12. Amin T, Thakur M. Linum usitatissimum L. (Flaxseed) a multifarious functional food. Online Int Interdisciplinary Res. 2014;IV(I):220–238.
  13. Ewell D, Young G. Interventions for treating constipation in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;2:CD001142.
  14. Drummond L, Gearry RB. Kiwifruit modulation of gastrointestinal motility. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2013;68:219–232.
  15. Kajla P, Sharma A, Sood DR. Flaxseed-a potential functional food source. Journal of food science and technology. 2014;52(4):1857–1871.
  16. Jabeen Q, Aslam N. The pharmacological activities of prunes: The dried plums. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2011;5(9):1508–1511.
Creative Commons Attribution License

©2016 Aliasghari, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.