Diet Tips for Adult Constipation
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On August 28, 2019
Constipation is a condition in which you have fewer than three bowel movements in a week, and your stools are hard, dry, and small, making them painful and difficult to pass. Even though people often make light of constipation, it is no laughing matter. Straining day after day can not only make you feel miserable but also lead to more serious complications.
Let us delve a bit deeper to know more about constipation and ways to treat this condition.
What are the causes of constipation in adults?
Constipation has a variety of causes but is often the result of slow movement of food through the gut.
When the movement of digested food slows down, your gut absorbs excess water. Stools get dry and hard to pass, causing constipation.
This slowing often happens because of a low-fiber or high-fat diet, not drinking enough fluids, and lack of exercise. Certain medications, poor bowel habits, and pregnancy can also lead to constipation.
How to relieve constipation?
All cases require dietary changes. Certain foods can help provide constipation relief by adding bulk, softening the stool, decreasing gut transit time, and increasing stool frequency. Your doctor may also prescribe medication in addition to dietary modifications. Increased physical activity can also help relieve symptoms.
How can your diet help with constipation?
- Fibre and fluids work together as constipation remedies to help keep your bowel movements regular.
- Aim to drink 2 to 2.5 litres (8 to 10 cups) of water every day.
- Fibre-rich foods hold liquid in your stools to keep them soft. Add fibre to your diet gradually. A sudden increase in fibre can cause cramps and gas. When you eat more fibre, remember to drink more fluids.
Which foods to eat if you are constipated?
- Vegetables and fruit, including dried fruit.
- Aim to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day.
- Pear, kiwi, oranges, plums, berries are all good sources of fiber
- Figs, raisins, and dried apricots are rich fiber containing dried fruits and provide constipation relief.
- Greens leafy vegetables such as spinach, brussels sprouts and broccoli are not only rich in fiber but also great sources of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.
- Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of fiber to help alleviate constipation.
- Whole fruits have more fibre than fruit juices
- Eat fruits with their skin on for more fiber.
- Whole grain and whole wheat products, such as breads, chapati, cereals, brown rice, oats, barley and quinoa are good constipation remedies.
- Legumes - cooked dried peas, beans, and lentils, boiled black-eyed beans (lobia) and kidney beans (rajma).Add cooked beans to salads, and try bean soups.
- Air-popped popcorn is a good choice for a high-fiber snack.
- Nuts and seeds
- Almonds, and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts.
- Chia seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all good fiber-filled choice for constipation relief. Sprinkle seeds on top of salads for added fiber and crunch, or add them in your smoothies and sabjis.
- Nuts and seeds are high in calories, so keep portions small. Choose nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted, rather than roasted in oil.
- Decrease alcohol intake and caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, or colas. Avoid bananas, chewing gum.
When should you see a doctor?
Most of the time, healthy changes to your diet and increased exercise will relieve symptoms of constipation. If you've tried these tips for 3 weeks and haven't noticed a change, get in touch with your doctor.
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