Constipation And Diet Alterations
What is constipation and how is it caused?
A reduced frequency of bowel movement in a person leading to discomfort and irritation
It can be acute which lasts for a short time or chronic which lasts longer than three months.
Constipation is quite common in young children, women and elderly people. Lot of factors are responsible for this. The factors can range from food, stress, depression, medication and sedentary life style.
Foods Causing Constipation
A low fibre diet is one of the main causes of constipation. Let us see the diet culprits which lead to this problem. They are-
1. Dairy Foods
Dairy foods are a valuable source of proteins, calcium and Vitamin K2 but it lacks fibre.
2. Red Meat
Red meat has very low fibre content. It contains proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. It also contains high amount of saturated fat which can lead to constipation. Along with red meat one should eat plant –based foods to prevent constipation.
3. Processed Grains
Compared to whole grains these processed grains have minimal fibre content. Foods containing processed grains are white bread, white rice, cakes, pastries, biscuits etc. Consuming this type of food can lead to constipation.
It is seen eating too much chocolate leads to constipation as chocolate contains high amount of saturated fat but very little fibre.
It is seen that eating certain foods like animal foods (milk and dairy products),processed grains and chocolates in high amount caused constipation. People who lessen the intake of plant foods like fruits and vegetables which are high in fibre content and consume more animal products are prone to constipation.
Food Products Can Help Us In Eliminate This Problem.
So making dietary changes can help us get rid of constipation. Let us see what food products can help us eliminate this problem.
Dried prunes contain high amount of fibre which act as natural laxatives for the body. 100gms of prunes per day improved stool frequency and consistency.
They are rich in dietary fibre called as pectin. This helps to accelerate intestinal movement and helps to get rid of constipation.
Pears contain high amounts of fructose and sorbitol compared to other fruits which help to stimulate bowel movement and helps to get rid of constipation.
They have high fibre content and consumption of these can lead to healthy bowel movements. They contain an enzyme FICAIN which stimulates bowel movement. They form a delicious snack and can be easily eaten in salads and baked foods.
5. Citrus Fruits
They contain high fibre pectin which acts as a natural laxative and eating these can prevent constipation.
6. Spinach and Other Greens
Greens like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are rich sources of fibre and also contain vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. These help to add bulk and stools become soft and pass out quickly.
Foods like sweet potato, artichoke, rhubarb, beans, lentils, chia seeds, flaxseeds, whole grain rye bread, oat bran, kefir (a fermented milk beverage) are also good sources of fibre and should be added to the diet to prevent constipation.
Basically adding vegetables, fruits, seeds and pulses can help to add fibre to the diet.
In addition to diet one should remain hydrated and consume plenty of water, get a lot of exercise which will help to develop good bowel movements and keep a person healthy and fit.