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A Doctor’s Advice: ‘How Can I Naturally Ease Constipation — Without Prunes?’

This natural cure is delicious to boot.


Many of us experience constipation at some point. Whether due to travel, diet, hormones, or medications, dealing with it is never comfortable, and relying on harsh, quick-fix laxatives can cause side effects and further aggravate GI issues. There’s the loathsome tradition of eating prunes or drinking prune juice when you’re backed up, but eating foods you hate in order to ease constipation is like adding insult to injury. What are you supposed to do to be regular again? We asked the experts for an answer to a First for Women‘s reader inquiry about natural constipation cures. Here’s what they had to say.

Q: I’ve been so constipated. My doctor suggested eating prunes, but I don’t like them. What else can I try?

A Try kiwifruit — its fiber and plant acids improve digestion to prevent constipation. Proof it works: When gastroenterologists at Michigan Medicine had adults with chronic constipation consume about 9 or 10 pitted prunes, 12 grams of a psyllium fiber supplement, or 2 peeled kiwifruits daily for four weeks. All three remedies eased constipation, but kiwifruit was least likely to cause side effects like bloat, gas, and abdominal pain. They were also more likely to report being happy with their treatment. Also smart: Load up on foods rich in magnesium, such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, and brown rice. The mineral draws water into stool to ease constipation.

Meet our experts

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol (Buy from Amazon, $22.99). To ask them a question, send an email to

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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