Constipation is a feeling of being unable to empty your bowels completely or regularly. A person is generally considered to have constipation if bowel movements are fewer than three times per week. It is a common problem and everyone experiences it occasionally. Symptoms of constipation include feeling unable to empty your bowels completely, stools appearing dry/hard/lumpy, stomach upset or cramps, bloating, and loss of appetite. There are numerous causes of constipation including diseases of the digestive system and side effects of medications, but for most people, a diet low in fiber may be the cause. To prevent constipation, avoid foods that can make it worse, for example, bananas, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, and chewing gum.
Avoid eating these foods when you’re constipated:
- Bananas: Bananas are a conundrum when it comes to constipation foods to avoid. It’s a matter of timing: Unripe bananas can cause constipation; ripe bananas can help relieve constipation. Unripe or under-ripe green bananas cause constipation because they still have a lot of starch, which can be hard for the body to digest. Bananas also contain dietary fiber which draws water from the intestines toward the stool. If someone is already dehydrated, this can make constipation worse.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can make a person have more bowel stools or in excess diarrhea. If a person is dehydrated, the caffeine in coffee, black tea, colas, and chocolate can make constipation worse.
- Processed Foods: Processing food is already unhealthy because it often robs the food of its nutrition. That includes fiber, one of the most essential macronutrients. A low-fiber diet is easily the main reason behind constipation. Roughage of fiber helps in adding bulk to your stool.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is frequently mentioned as a likely cause of constipation. That’s because if you drink alcohol in large amounts, it can increase the amount of fluids lost through your urine, causing dehydration. Poor hydration, either due to not drinking enough water or losing too much of it through urine, is often linked to an increased risk of constipation.
- Meat and Eggs: While they are excellent sources of protein, they might lead to constipation. This happens at the cost of compromising your fiber eating. A study conducted on Korean school kids in 2013 found that those who ate meat in lesser quantities were less likely to be constipated.
- Dairy Products: While yogurt is good for your gut health, eating too much of it can in constipation. Also, supplement your dairy intake with fiber. Cheese is known to be one of the foods that cause constipation in not just children but adults as well.
Here are some best foods to help with constipation so you can finally poop again:
- Beans for constipation relief: Beans have more than 10 grams of fiber per cup serving that’s more than almost any other fiber source. Beans have a great mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which helps the food keep moving through the intestines to relieve constipation. (1) Baked Beans, (2) Black-Eyed Peas, (3) Garbanzo Beans, (4) Lima Beans, (5) Pinto Beans, or (6) Kidney Bean.
- Kiwi for constipation relief: The luscious green flesh of the kiwi may be just what the doctor ordered for constipation relief. One medium kiwi has about 2.5 grams of fiber and lots of vitamins and nutrients that are important for good health, including the intestines. A kiwi is a berry. And like most berries, it has edible seeds. You can even eat the peel, although most people prefer to eat just the flesh. A 2013 study of adults reported in Advances in Food and Nutrition Research found that eating kiwi promotes regular bowel movements. A previous study by researchers in Taipei also found eating two kiwis a day increased the number of bowel movements in adults with constipation.
- Water: Along with fiber and getting regular exercise, drinking enough water is the most important factor in relieving constipation. H2O is critical to help stool move easily through the colon. “The colon main job is to reabsorb water. If you are a bit hydrated, your stool will be harder and more difficult to pass, ” says Dr. Blankey. Drink 8 to 20 glasses of water a day. recommends Dr. Sam, and fill up on foods with high water content.
- Olive and flaxseeds oils: Olive and flaxseed oils have a mild laxative effect, which can ease the flow of materials through the intestines and relieve constipation. These oils also contain compounds that improve digestion and have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Nuts for constipation: Nuts are a good source of fiber and omega fatty acids. Here are some good choices to reach for when you are constipated. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts.
- Whole grain: Switching from refined grains such as white flour and white rice to whole grains is thought by many to make a difference in terms of resolving constipation issues. Here are some good whole grain choices: Amaranth, Barley, Brown Rice, Bulgur, Oats, Quinoa, Rye, Whole Wheat.
If over-the-counter or home remedies do not relieve constipation, or if constipation becomes chronic, see a doctor or dietician to discuss other treatment options and dietary changes.