Foods To Eat When Constipated
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.
My friend Frank came to see me the other day and told me he felt uncomfortable. I pressed for more information, but he was hesitant to admit what was wrong.
Are you sick? I asked. Are you not getting enough sleep? He finally admitted that he hadnt had a bowel movement in over a week.
Im constipated, he said gravely, as he stared dejectedly at the floor. I wasnt exactly sure why Frank seemed embarrassed about this issue. In the U.S., frequent constipation affects over fourmillion Americans. In fact, over 90% of clients who see holistic practitioners complain of constipation.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Dealing With Chronic Constipation
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it safe to take a stool softener daily to prevent constipation? What are the side effects of doing so long-term?
ANSWER: There currently isn’t any research that has examined the specific long-term side effects of taking a stool softener every day. While the risks associated with taking this kind of over-the-counter medication daily are not likely to be significant, it would be a good idea to talk with your health care provider about your symptoms. Although uncommon, an underlying health condition could be part of the problem.
Constipation typically is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week or other symptoms . Chronic constipation refers to these symptoms when they last for several weeks or longer.
Constipation is a common problem,and there are many types of laxatives available to help treat it. Stoolsofteners, also called emollients, work by drawing fluids into stools, which issupposed to make them softer. This may make it easier to have a bowel movementwithout straining.
Over-the-counter stool softeners areeffective for some people. However, in controlled clinical trials, there is noevidence that they improve symptoms. While they only are intended forshort-term relief of constipation, using a daily stool softener long-termprobably is not harmful. But there are other ways to help relieve constipationthat often are successful.
Foods High In Probiotics
Probiotics are living microorganisms that provide beneficial effects for digestion, immunity, and inflammation.
While there is limited research on the effects of probiotic intake from food on constipation, probiotic supplementation has been shown to relieve constipation by decreasing stool transit time and improving stool frequency and consistency .
In either case, including foods with probiotics in your diet can still promote gut health and bowel regularity.
Recommended Reading: Indigestion Definition
Common Causes Of Constipation
To understand how to prevent constipation, it helps to know what causes it. As food passes through your colon, your body absorbs the water from it, and what’s left forms into stool. Your muscles move it through the colon to the rectum, where you pass it. When this movement slows down, your colon draws too much water. Stools get dry and hard to pass, causing constipation.
The problem often happens because of a low-fiber or high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough fluids. Certain medications, not going when you feel the urge, laxative abuse, and pregnancy can also lead to constipation.
Foods That Can Cause Constipation During Pregnancy
In reality, though, there are several foods that cause constipation during pregnancy that you should be avoiding at all costs. In addition, some of these foods are even considered to be downright dangerous for you!
One of the main foods that cause constipation during pregnancy is caffeine. It is especially bad for pregnant women who drink coffee or tea regularly. Even soda, which is a relatively mild beverage, can cause the same issues as coffee. Foods that cause constipation during pregnancy are those that are filled with caffeine. These include most soft drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate, soda pop, energy drinks, and even hot chocolate.
While they are usually safe to consume on a daily basis, it is best to avoid them when you are pregnant. Excessive caffeine consumption can cause premature contractions and make delivery more difficult. You can have herbal tea as they are diuretics that lower the fluids content in the body and cause constipation.
2. Spicy food
Even more common than caffeine, another food that causes constipation during pregnancy is spicy foods. If you love fiery foods like Mexican chili, you may want to forego it while you are pregnant. Caffeine can make the burning of these foods unbearable. Instead, opt for something with a bit more sweetness, like honey. Fruit can be a good thing in moderation. Bananas, oranges, and kiwi fruit are safe to eat on a daily basis and can actually help you with your constipation problems.
4. Junk foods
Recommended Reading: Liquid Diarrhea While Pregnant
Other Remedies For Constipation
Keep in mind that the bowels may need to be retrained. Here are some common rules to retrain the bowels:
- Figure out the cause of your constipation and make necessary changes. For example, stop over-using laxatives, or discover which medication is causing your constipation.
- Never hold in a bowel movement.
- Drink up to eight glasses of pure, filtered water daily.
- Set a specific time to defecate every day, such as after breakfast or after exercising.
- Maintain a regular exercise routine of 20 minutes a day, three times weekly.
Once youve followed these steps and have eaten the best foods for constipation relief, there are also other natural treatments for constipation:
- Supplements such as probiotics, magnesium, or digestive enzymes
- Herbal supplements like psyllium husks, aloe vera juice, fenugreek, gentian root, dandelion root, or the Ayurveda herb triphala
- Homeopathic remedies, including nux vomica, natrum muriaticum, sepia, lycopodium, calcarea carbonica, bryonia, alumina, sulphur, or silicea
- Effective essential oils for constipation may include cinnamon leaf, lovage, sweet fennel, sweet marjoram, nutmeg, bitter or sweet orange, cubebs, palmarosa, black pepper, yarrow, turmeric, or tarragon
Constipation Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid For Quick Relief
We include products that we think our readers will find useful. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Learn about our process.
Constipation is a common condition in which your bowel movements are difficult to pass or happen less often than normal.
The condition can cause stomach cramps, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms that can negatively affect your daily life.
Fortunately, depending on the cause, you can relieve constipation by eating certain foods and avoiding others.
This article explains what to eat and avoid for quick constipation relief and provides a sample constipation diet.
Recommended Reading: Pickle Juice And Acid Reflux
Healthy Ways To Prevent Constipation
24 January, 2019
Constipation is a digestive disorder that occurs when your intestinal movements slow down. And, this affects its ability to remove waste from the body. So, its necessary to take healthy steps to prevent constipation.
Also, this is a common condition among todays population because the majority of cases result from a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices.
Constipation can reduce the quality of life for many people when food residues are retained in the colon. This is because it causes inflammation, gas, and discomfort.
However, the worst thing is that most people dont know how to prevent constipation and treat it. So, this can result in the emergence of other digestive problems.
Fortunately, constipation is generally easy to treat with changes in your lifestyle habits by adopting some measures that will facilitate better digestion.
Today we want to share nine recommendations to prevent constipation.
The 17 Best Foods To Relieve Constipation
About 14% of people experience chronic constipation at some point .
Symptoms include passing stools less than three times per week, straining, lumpy or hard stools, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, feeling blocked, or being unable to pass a stool.
The type and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people experience constipation only rarely, while its a chronic condition for others.
Constipation has a variety of causes, but its often the result of the slow movement of food through the digestive system.
This may be due to dehydration, a poor diet, medications, illness, diseases affecting the nervous system, or mental disorders.
Fortunately, certain foods can help relieve constipation by adding bulk, softening stool, decreasing gut transit time, and increasing stool frequency.
Here are 17 foods that can help relieve constipation and keep you regular.
Sample Constipation Diet Menu
Here is a one-day sample constipation diet menu:
Breakfast: tomato and green pepper omelet, grapes, and oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon
Snack: Greek yogurt and almonds
Lunch: spinach artichoke grilled cheese
Snack: berry-kefir smoothie with almond butter, banana, frozen mixed berries, plain kefir, vanilla extract
Dinner: grilled salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, and asparagus
Remember to gradually increase your fiber intake and drink plenty of water.
Foods And Tips To Help You Beat Constipation
If you want to try to tackle your constipation at home, either for a single episode or for more regularity across the board, the following foods and tips might help.
Whole grains and fiber: Make sure the fiber youre consuming is of a high quality, such as whole grain cereals and bran. This fiber helps fill you up and expands or dissolves in water, making it just the right consistency to pass through the body with no problems.
Yogurt and/or probiotics:Probiotic supplements can be found over-the-counter or you can find helpful bacteria naturally in cultured foods, like yogurt. By adding this beneficial bacteria to your diet regularly, you balance your gut function and promote healthier bowel movements.
In fact, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that probiotics on average increased the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3 and helped soften stools, making them easier to pass.
Fruits and vegetables: Not only do fruits and vegetables typically come packed with healthy fiber, theyre often high in water content too. Its a double-barreled weapon against constipation.
Drink fluids: Water is the best choice here, as sugar-added drinks can cause or worsen constipation. But the key is to keep the fluids coming, so you can flush your system naturally.
| Related: Urine Color Meanings: Dehydration, Disease, and More |
Recommended Reading: Does Pickle Juice Help Heartburn
Constipation: Causes And Prevention Tips
As many as one in five people experiences chronic constipation, a condition thats even more common in women as they get older. Its something that can easily creep up on you if youre not paying attention, with many factors, from diet to other health conditions, contributing to the problem.
Linda Lee, M.D., talks about constipation symptoms, causes and prevention, including when women should seek help from a doctor.
Foods That Cause Constipation
Dairy products: It is best to avoid dairy when feeling constipated. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are foods that have a long history of causing constipation. Dairy products are considered mucus-forming foods that can slow the transit time of waste during the digestive process. The lactose in dairy is thought to produce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with constipation.
Red meat: Red meat is heavy in fat and does not contain fiber. Foods high in saturated fats move through the intestines slowly and impair digestion. Red meat contains large amounts of the red-colored pigment called myoglobin, which is high in iron. Excessive iron in the diet may harden the stools and lead to constipation.
Gluten-containing foods: Processed foods have very little fiber, and many of them also contain gluten such as cookies, breads, pastas, and baked goods. Gluten sensitivity is often at the core of many digestive disorders, such as IBS or diverticulosis, where constipation is a common symptom.
Stimulants: Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are stimulants that lead to constipation. Alcohol and caffeine are hard on digestion and can also lead to dehydration. Constipation can result when stools are hard and dry from dehydration. The low fiber in many sugary products can also produce constipation. Alcohol will also cause an electrolyte-loss electrolytes help provide moisture to stools.
You May Like: Align Probiotic Ingredients
Constipation: Symptoms And Treatment
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways youve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Constipation affects people of all ages and different times of life and its normally caused by something you can fix. One of the best ways to treat constipation is to change your diet. Express.co.uk reveals what causes constipation and the two drinks to avoid to remedy the problem.
Constipation is really uncomfortable and can cause stomach aches, bloating and sickness.
If any of the following is true, its likely that youre constipated:
- you have not had a poo at least three times during the last week
- the poo is often large and dry, hard or lumpy
- you are straining or in pain when you have a poo
Foods To Avoid For Constipation Relief
One of the best ways to prevent constipation or find constipation relief is by avoiding the foods that cause it. Here’s a list of some of the most common culprits that you should try to avoid.
The cause of constipation may be as close as your dinner plate. Many of the common foods in the American diet can lead to constipation. According to Gerard Isenberg, MD, associate chief of gastroenterology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and associate professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the key similarity between these foods is their lack of fiber. “It is unusual for any one specific food to cause constipation,” he says. “What is important in the diet is fiber. The American Dietetic Association recommends that Americans get 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day from plant foods, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, most Americans get only half this amount.”
You can find constipation relief by replacing the following foods that cause constipation with high-fiber choices that work to prevent it.
Also Check: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea
Why Traveling Can Cause Constipation
There are a variety of factors that can change the speed of the workings of your digestive system, causing you to become constipated. These include:
- Change from your normal routine
- Change from your normal routine
- Changes in the size and timing of your meals
- Changes to your internal body clock
- Lack of hydration
- Changes in the foods you eat
- Increased time spent sitting
- Your digestive system being affected by the stresses related to travel
- The inability to respond to urges for a bowel movement due to lack of immediate bathroom access
- Jet lagbody changes related to the experience of changing time zones
Now let’s take a look at some things you can do to keep things moving along nicely within your digestive tract as you are moving along on your travels.
One of the biggest contributors to constipation is a state of dehydration. When we don’t give our bodies enough fluids, our bodies compensate by drawing water from the fecal matter that is within our intestines. This can contribute to hard, difficult to pass stools. And for some strange reason, the presence of harder stools seems to make our bowels less likely to want to get a bowel movement going. Thus, it is absolutely essential that you make a very concerted effort to drink plenty of fluids while traveling.
Try to avoid drinks containing alcohol as well as those containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and colas, as all of these can be dehydrating.
Ease Constipation With Exercise
Exercise not only keeps you fit, it may help you stay regular. It can help food move more quickly through your colon. It’s not always easy to find time to be active, but try these tips:
- Start exercising about 20 minutes, 3 days a week, and build up to at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week. Always check with your doctor before you start any type of fitness plan.
- Short on time? Break up activity throughout the day — three 10-minute walks count as much as one 30-minute workout.
Don’t Miss: Does Tramadol Make You Constipated
Foods To Avoid If You Are Constipated
The easy availability of processed foods and our dependency on them is taking its toll on our digestive systems. Gastric troubles are increasingly common these days but one of the commonest is constipation. Since this problem surges easily, we need to be aware of what we should eat to avoid such troubles. Here, we have a list of some foods which cause constipation.
Fiber Helps Relieve Constipation
If your bowel habits get sluggish, you don’t have to rush out to buy a laxative. Most people don’t need them for mild constipation. Instead, look at your diet. Are you getting enough fiber?
Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body can’t break down. When you eat foods that have a lot of it, the extra bulk helps keep stools soft and speeds digestion.
All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, have fiber. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 grams per day for women and up to 38 grams for men. After age 50, we need less fiber — about 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Unfortunately, most of us only get about 15 grams per day, which may help explain why so many people get constipated.
Examples of high-fiber foods include:
- 1/2 cup navy beans: 9.5 grams
- 1 small pear: 4.4 grams
- 1/4 cup dates: 3.6 grams
- 1 medium apple: 3.3 grams
- 1 medium sweet potato: 4.8 grams
You May Like: Can Leaky Gut Cause Weight Gain
Laxatives And Fiber Supplements For Constipation
Most people with chronic constipation usually require the use of laxatives at some point.
Laxatives are products that either soften stool or stimulate a bowel movement.
Laxatives that contain polyethylene glycol , methylcellulose , and psyllium are the best options.
Polyethylene glycol is a synthetic material, whereas methylcellulose is semi-synthetic, and psyllium is a naturally derived fiber.
These products come in powder form flavored or unflavored and they usually mix well in your beverage of choice.
You should limit stimulant laxatives like senna and bisacodyl as they can cause excessive cramping .