This Side Effect Might Change Your Mind About Eating Figs

If you struggle with constipation, going to the bathroom might not bring you the same feeling of relief most people experience. In fact, it can be frustrating not to mention uncomfortable. The Mayo Clinic defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements in a week, straining during bowel movements, having hard stools, and feeling like you can't completely empty stool from your rectum.

Fortunately, most people don't suffer from chronic constipation. But even experiencing an occasional bout of this unwelcome ailment is enough to explore ways to get rid of it fast or prevent it altogether. Lucky for us, there are plenty of easy (and some delicious) ways to make any bathroom visit go a little smoother. For one, adding figs to our diet. 

You read that correctly. Figs! If you've never had one, here are a few solid reasons to change that. Tearing into a fig fresh from the vine is a truly transcendent experience. They have a sweet, rich, honeyed taste that is only amplified by the squishy texture with a discernible, seedy crunch. All that and they can ease your constipation.

Why do I have chronic constipation?

If you've been constipated for an extended period of time, you should consult a doctor to find out why. Constipation might be brought on by medication you're taking or by a medical condition, such as diabetes, diverticulosis, Crohn's disease, or pregnancy (via WebMD). 

However, chances are it's a poor diet and lifestyle choices that are slowing down your digestion. The most common culprits of constipation are lack of exercise, not drinking enough water, and consuming too much dairy, alcohol, or processed foods, while not getting nearly enough fiber (per Everyday Health). 

On average, Americans get merely 15 grams of dietary fiber per day, according to Livestrong. So it's very possible that what's got you stuck is a lack of fiber in your diet. The recommended amount for women between the ages of 19 and 50 is about 25 grams per day, and for men who fall within the same age range, it's 38 grams a day.

Enter figs.

How can figs help?

Figs are an excellent source of fiber. One medium-sized, raw fig contains about 1.5 grams of fiber, while a half cup of dried figs packs 7.9 grams — almost 32% of the recommended daily intake (per Healthline). That's enough to make a difference! A study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that people suffering from constipation who consumed 300 grams of fig paste a day for 10 weeks experienced an improvement in stool consistency, accelerated movement of stool through the colon, and ease of stomach discomfort.

Healthline also notes that figs contain the enzyme ficin. Ficin works similarly to the enzyme actinidin, which is found in kiwis, and both are thought to have positive effects on bowel function. 

So if you're looking to fight the good fight against constipation, grab your biggest water bottle and a few figs, and get moving. And be sure to call your doctor if the problem persists.