10 Nigerian Foods That Can Relieve Constipation

Nigerian foods for constipation

Constipation is a condition that occurs when there are less frequent bowel movements and difficulty in passing out stools.

Most medical experts define constipation as when someone passes stool less than three times a week; however, it varies for different people.

Nevertheless, a significant number of people experience chronic constipation at some point in a year.

Constipation is typically characterized by straining to poop, excreting hard stools, feeling that you have not fully emptied your bowels, or being unable to pass out stool.

It is caused by changes in diet, inadequate consumption of fiber, dehydration, a poor diet, medications, illness, diseases affecting the nervous system, changes in routine or mental disorders. The severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person, but one thing is sure, constipation is bad.

Constipation causes internal damage or leads to other health problems. These problems include:

  • Damage to the pelvic floor muscles as a result of straining to move your bowels
  • Fecal impaction
  • Swollen or inflamed veins in your rectum
  • Tears in the lining of your anus from trying to pass hard stool
  • Diverticulitis.

Almost every Nigerian has experienced constipation and will agree that it was an unpleasant experience. I’m sure you would also like to avoid these possible complications that can arise from constipation.

However, there is good news. Fortunately, there are some Nigerian foods that can help relieve constipation.

They do this by softening stool, increasing fiber intake, increasing stool bulk, decreasing gut transit time, and increasing stool frequency.

Here are 10 Nigerian foods that can relieve constipation.

1. Plantains

Fried Plantains foods high in sugar

Plantain is a common food in Nigeria. Both ripe and unripe plantains are used to prepare a variety of dishes. Plantain fufu or Amala are good examples. However, it can also help with relieving constipation.

Plantains are loaded with fiber, which helps to relieve constipation and allows for easier digestion. It is particularly a good source of insoluble fiber, which helps add bulk to your stool and lowers your risk for constipation.

2. Acha (Fonio)

Health Benefits Of Acha

Acha, also known as fonio, is a tiny variety of millet that is native to West Africa. Acha (Digitaria exilis) is a crop with a rich cultural heritage and nutrient profile.

This food is a decent source of fiber and contains resistant starch, which increases stool bulk and can help boost the speed of bowel movement. Due to this, resistant starch might also help alleviate constipation.

3. Nigerian Pear (Ube)

African Pear Ube seasonal foods in Nigeria

Nigerian pear (Ube) or African pear (Dacryodes edulis) is a delicious fruit that originates from the Western Part of Africa.

It is an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are important for digestive health. These fibers help promote bowel regularity by softening and bulking up the stool.

4. Beans

Brown beans Nigerian foods that boost metabolism

Beans are one of the best Nigerian foods for constipation. It is also one of the cheapest, nutrient-dense, fiber-packed foods you can include in your diet.

One of the main types of beans in Nigeria is black-eyed beans or cowpea. Black-eyed beans are a marvelous source of soluble fiber, which is a crucial nutrient when it comes to digestive health.

Medical studies have shown that increasing your intake of soluble fiber can help promote stool frequency and increase stool regularity in those with constipation.

5. Citrus fruits

Health Benefits of Orange Leaves

There are a lot of citrus fruits in Nigeria that can help relieve constipation. Most citrus fruits contain a soluble fiber called pectin, especially in their peels.

Pectin helps to boost colonic transit time and reduce constipation. Some citrus fruits in Nigeria that can help relieve constipation include sweet orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon, and tangerine.

6. Wheat flour

Health Benefits Of Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is flour milled from the entire kernel of wheat. It is used for a variety of culinary purposes in Nigeria.

It is a whole-grain food that is rich in dietary fiber and bran. Studies suggest that wheat bran act as prebiotics and feed some of the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Studies also show that wheat bran can help reduce constipation risk in children.

7. Cucumber

Dehydration is one of the major causes of constipation, as it can alter your water balance and make the passing of stool difficult. However, eating cucumbers may help support regular bowel movements.

Cucumbers contain a good amount of water and fiber, both of which may help prevent constipation, keep the body hydrated, and increase stool regularity. You can also take cucumber juice to help with constipation.

8. Tiger nuts

Health benefits of Tiger nuts


Tiger nuts are a crop of the sedge family that is widely eaten in Nigeria. It is known as Ofio in Yoruba, Aki Hausa or Imumu in Igbo, and Aya in Hausa.

Tiger nut is actually an edible tuber and is not a nut. Tiger nuts are remarkable sources of insoluble fiber, which can prevent constipation and keep your digestion running smoothly. They are also said to contain resistant starch, which is vital for digestive health.

9. Miyan Kuka

Miyan Kuka healthy Nigerian soups

Miyan Kuka is a local Nigerian soup that is popular in the Northern part of Nigeria. The soup is made from powdered baobab leaves and okra.

Baobab, which is the main ingredient in Miyan Kuka, is high in fiber, and that means it can improve digestive health and relieve conditions like constipation.

10. Nigerian leafy green vegetables

Side effects of spinach

A lot of Nigerian green leafy vegetables are effective in relieving constipation and supporting digestion.

They are not only rich in fiber but also good sources of folate, iron, and vitamins C and K. These leafy green vegetables help add bulk and weight to stools, which makes them easier to pass through the gut.

They also help to soften stool and improve bowel regularity. Some examples of Nigerian leafy greens that help relieve constipation include spinach, utazi, fluted pumpkin leaves (Ugu), scent leaf, and bitter leaves.


Constipation is an unpleasant condition that makes passing stool difficult. It can even lead to serious health problems. However, consuming these Nigerian foods for constipation will help put your digestive system back on track.



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