Do Kiwis Help with IBS-Constipation?
This may seem too good to be true but it is! Just eating 2 kiwis a day can help with constipation-predominant IBS or chronic constipation. Let’s explore how and why.
Constipation in IBS
To begin with, constipation is quite prevalent in IBS. Indeed, 2 out of 3 women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) suffer from constipation (or IBS-C)? And the rest either have diarrhea alternating with constipation or diarrhea. In addition, people who try a low FODMAP diet on their own, often become constipated (even those who suffer from diarrhea). In other words, constipation is a major issue!
What’s more, some of the well-known remedies for constipation may worsen IBS symptoms such as bloating and gas. For example, take the famous prunes. Although they work great to manage constipation, they contain one of the FODMAPs (sorbitol), which can worsen gas, bloating, and pain if not tolerated.
How Can Kiwis Help with Constipation?
Come to the rescue, the humble green kiwifruit. This delicious, vitamin-C-packed fruit has been shown in several research studies to help people with IBS-C improve constipation by:
- Increasing the number of weekly bowel movements
- Giving more complete bowel movements
- Producing softer and easier-to-pass stools
Most importantly, kiwis have no side effects (unlike some fiber supplements or prunes). How do green kiwis help manage constipation? Although we don’t yet know the exact mechanism, several have been proposed:
- Their fiber content increases the bulk of stools (which makes them easier to pass)
- The fiber in kiwis has some unique properties: it is viscous and has a high capacity to retain water. Thus, it increases the softness of the stools, and promotes laxation
- Kiwis contain an enzyme called actinidin. This is thought to improve laxation by stimulating receptors in the colon. As a side note, this enzyme is found primarily in green kiwifruits, with reduced levels in the golden variety
Above all, the portion of kiwis you need to eat is very reasonable and easy to incorporate into your diet. Most studies have used just 2 medium peeled kiwifruits (the equivalent of 5-6 g of fiber).
How to Enjoy Kiwis
There are many ways to eat them. My favorite is to just add them to my breakfast, just as they are. Additionally, you can:
- Chop them and use them as a topping for yogurt as a snack (lactose-free if needed)
- Add them to a smoothie
- Dip them in melted chocolate for an easy and nutritious dessert
- Make a Kiwi-Chia Pudding (see recipe below) – and get the additional soluble fiber from the chia seeds
½ cup almond or lactose-free milk
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maple syrup
1 medium or 2 small green kiwis
- Add the milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup to a jar and stir until well-mixed. Let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight. Stir again.
- Slice kiwis and layer with chia pudding in a serving glass; or chop the kiwis and serve on top.
In conclusion, although constipation is a major issue for people with IBS, it can be managed. One of the best natural remedies for constipation is the green kiwifruit. It only takes adding 2 medium kiwis a day to see improvements in stool frequency and consistency, as well as satisfaction with your bowel movements. If you are suffering from IBS and want to find relief from constipation and other uncomfortable gut symptoms once and for all, let’s chat about how I can help you!