Is Coconut Good for Constipation? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Coconut is good for constipation. Because it has fiber, MCFAs, and lauric acid, and they can help soften stools, stimulate bowel movements, and prevent bacterial overgrowth in the gut.

Constipation is a condition that affects your digestive system.

In constipation, your body has difficulty passing stools or has infrequent bowel movements.

This can lead to various health problems, such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction, or diverticulitis.

One of the key factors in managing constipation is diet.

What you consume can affect your stool consistency, frequency, and ease of passage, which can impact your constipation symptoms and overall health.

To effectively manage constipation, you should consume fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, and avoid low-fiber foods like cheese, meat, processed foods, and sweets.

Now, coconut is a tropical fruit that has a hard shell and white flesh.

People usually eat the flesh raw, cooked, or dried, or use it to make coconut milk, oil, or flour.

Coconut is good for constipation because it contains dietary fiber, medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), and lauric acid.

These ingredients can help soften stools, stimulate bowel movements, and prevent bacterial overgrowth in the gut.

One cup of shredded coconut can give you 7.2 grams of fiber (29% of your daily needs), 27.7 grams of fat (43% of your daily needs), and 23.8 grams of lauric acid (95% of your daily needs).

Fiber can positively affect constipation by adding bulk and moisture to stools, making them easier to pass.

Fiber can also feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can improve your digestion and immunity.

MCFAs can positively affect constipation by increasing your metabolism and energy expenditure, which can enhance your intestinal motility and peristalsis.

MCFAs can also be easily absorbed and used by your body, unlike long-chain fatty acids that require more digestion and bile.

Lauric acid can positively affect constipation by having antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi in your gut, such as Candida albicans.

Lauric acid can also modulate your immune system and reduce inflammation in your intestinal lining.

Furthermore, coconut is a natural laxative and laxatives are good for constipation.

Because, they can help relieve occasional or chronic constipation by stimulating or facilitating the evacuation of stools.

You can eat one-fourth to one-half cup of shredded coconut per day safely.

More than that can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, or gas, because of the high amount of fiber and fat.

Also, you shouldn’t eat coconut if you have an allergy to coconut or other tree nuts, to prevent anaphylaxis or other allergic reactions.

Because, coconut can trigger your immune system to produce antibodies and histamine, which can cause symptoms like hives, swelling, itching, or breathing difficulties.

You can buy fresh coconut in your local market or can order it from online.

Always choose coconut that is heavy, firm, and has no cracks or mold on the shell.

Because, these indicate that the coconut is fresh and has a good amount of water and flesh inside.

You can store them in a cool, dry place for up to four weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to two months.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and essential medical care is key to managing constipation effectively.

I always recommend my constipation patients to follow a constipation-friendly diet to improve their bowel function, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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