Constipation is not exactly the most comfortable topic to talk about with people. In fact, your bowel movements constitute a whole genre of uncomfortable small talk. However, it is as much a reality as life and death and constipation does not just come with a problematic bowel movement. Oh no, no! To make things even more uncomfortable, it is always associated with bloating and gas.
Basically, your bowel movement depends upon your intake of fibre. While in women, the requirement is about 25 grams daily, for men it is slightly higher- near about 38 grams per day. In case your fibre intake is below the prescribed level, be sure to increase it surely but surely. For most of us, whatever we eat floats well with our gut. But, there are a few foods that more often than not are the primary causes of constipation. Be sure to avoid them in order to fight this deadly (not really) and terribly annoying but highly common problem.
- Processed Foods
Avoid processed foods as much as possible! This can’t be stressed enough. Processed foods are unhealthy for a wide variety of reasons. Under normal circumstances, you should anyway keep your intake of processed foods under strict control. And in case you have constipation issues, this is poison for you. These foods are quite low in fibre content. And as it has already been established before, low fibre diets are not good for constipation. In case you do end up indulging yourself, make sure you drink a lot of water and are hydrated constantly. Increasing your fluid intake will help you avoid bloating, gas and other digestive issues.
- Meat and eggs
Several of us have heavy meats and eggs as part of our regular diet. While most of us are okay with it and do not face any such problem, digestive or otherwise, some meat and eggs are known to cause digestive issues, particularly constipation in many of us. Especially, excessive intake of these food items causes this problem. Yes, it is true that meat and eggs are a great source of protein and that is definitely beneficial to your health most of the time. But, too much intake of this does prove to be harmful. Also, if you have constipation issues avoid these as much as possible. It is advisable to particularly avoid red meat because it replaces the fibre rich options in our diet. Alternative sources of protein may be legumes, beans and peas that also have a low fat content than meat and higher fibre content. It really is a win-win!
- Dairy products
Milk, yoghurt, ice cream, cheese, and the likes i.e. dairy products generally can be constipating if your consumption of these is too high. More than adults, these affect children adversely. This of course does not imply that you stop consuming dairy products altogether. Intake of dairy products in moderate quantities is alright, and in fact, it is desirable. Instead of milk, you might want to go for almond milk as it contains some amount of fibre that will work well for your system.
Chocolate is perhaps one of the most popular and loved foods in the whole world, but unfortunately also one of those foods that give you trouble in the bathroom. The main reason behind this is that most of the time commercialised chocolates have a high milk content that leads to constipation for people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to milk and dairy products. Yes, we all crave chocolates. But sometimes you just gotta let some things go! As a matter of fact, if you just can’t resist the urge of getting a piece of chocolate, go for dark chocolate. It is recommended over milk or white chocolate.
- Unripe bananas
Unripe bananas can jam up your tummy and give you a tough time in the bathroom. They are way too starchy and difficult to digest. Therefore, it takes a longer time to pass through your body and exit finally. Take some time and wait for the banana to ripen. On the contrary, ripe bananas actually help with constipation. In fact, they are known to successfully avoid the problem in the first place.
Surprised? Rice is a staple diet for the major part of the global population. So, it might be rather surprising to most of you that rice is actually one of the primary culprits that cause constipation. Rice, originally is rather healthy. However, rice undergoes a procedure of being polished before being available in the market for final consumption. Hence, it does away with all the husk, bran and germ that are beneficial. The polishing process eliminates those substances that are actually good for the human body. In fact, you should always opt for brown rice as its effects are exactly the opposite of white rice. Brown rice contains a lot more fibre and is better for you than white rice. So, maybe change your staple?
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks for example, caffeinated energy drinks and even soft drinks. According to figures, 12 ounce of soft drinks contains between 23 and 69 milligrams of caffeine. Now, while caffeine can act as a stimulant for bowel movement it can also cause a person dehydration. A large dose of caffeine can increase the flow of blood to the kidneys to stop the absorption of sodium by acting as a diuretic. So this is bad news for the people out there who need coffee to function. Coffee has become a part of our very lifestyle. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink as much water possible. Its non- caffeinated, inexpensive and also readily available. The minimum requirement for water is 3 litres. If you take flax seeds along with warm water early in the morning, it will really help you cure constipation.
Like coffee, even alcohol acts as a dehydrating agent. With the consumption of alcohol, our body decreases its producing anti- diuretic hormone. Hence, our body will now lose more fluids than normal because of the increased tendency to urinate. In case of over intake of alcohol, people tend to vomit which adds to the problem to the problem of dehydration further. Also, alcohol has long lasting effects which can disable the body from functioning at its best. The best solution would be consumption of electrolyte solutions that replaces the sodium and potassium that was lost due to the alcohol consumption. If you are an alcoholic and it is absolutely necessary to drink then it is advisable to alternate alcoholic beverages with water.
It is overwhelming how gluten can be found in our regular foods. It is found in foods made from wheat, rye and barley. The obvious sources of gluten being breads, pasta, pizza dough, bagels and other baked goods. However, the other implicit sources of gluten being French fries, salads, sauces and seasonings. Hence, it is advisable to avoid all foods that are marinated, breaded or in a sauce altogether. Though obtaining gluten free foods can be expensive, you can opt for sweet potatoes, oranges and other vegetables and fruits. Gluten causes bloating, dehydration and hence constipation.
Yes, you read it right! Some medicines also cause constipation. For example, anti- depressants or anti- anxiety, pain killers, cholesterol lowering agents, antacids, blood pressure medicines, iron supplements lead to constipation. Hence, your medicines should be consulted with your doctor and then taken for no side effects. Constipation is the most common side effect of medicines when taken in a large dose or when such medicines are taken as described above. It may be necessary to take those medicines, in that case it should be supplemented with an increased intake of fluids. Also, increase your fibre intake via fruits and vegetables or flax seeds have also proved helpful.
Therefore, avoid the above items to not have a stressful time in the bathroom!