All of us at some time will experience some digestive/elimination issues. Whether you are facing a constipation issue or a diarrhea issue the foods you eat can help reset your system. The frequency of your bowel habits can be very different from one person to the next. What is normal for you may be a cause for concern with someone else. To be actually diagnosed with “constipation” you must have fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
Constipation generally means:
- Reduction in bowel movements from what is normal for you
- Difficulty passing stools
- Pain and discomfort during bowel movements
Short-term constipation is generally caused by lifestyle factors. Chronic or long-term constipation is usually related to a health condition.
Causes of Constipation:
- Poor Diet
- Not Enough Exercise
- Medications and Supplements: Opiods, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, antacids, iron supplements, calcium supplements
- Medical Conditions: Pregnancy, IBS, Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, anxiety, Depression Stoke, Dementia
Foods that can cause constipation:
- Fast food and fried foods, such as french fries and hamburgers.
- Refined Sugar Treats: cupcakes, cake, cookies, donuts, white bread or anything with white flour.
- Processed foods and frozen dinners.
- Processed meats – bacon, bologna, hot dogs, and sausage. Stay away from all meats that contain nitrates.
- Unripe bananas – contain lots of starch and are hard for the body to digest.
- White rice
- Potato Chips
- Red Meat
- Chocolate – The large amount of fat in chocolate can slow digestion.
- Milk, Cheese and Ice Cream
- Alcohol is dehydrating and can slow digestion. (Drinking a glass of water between alcoholic drinks is a healthier way to go.)
- If you are gluten sensitive the gluten found in wheat, rye and barley can cause constipation.
Stay away from low fiber high fat foods. When food moves slowly through your colon too much water can be taken out causing hard dry stools. You require a healthy intake of fiber to keep bowels regular.
Foods that help you go:
- Water – stay on top of your hydration.
- Ripe Bananas
- Coffee- caffeine is a stimulant and that can help you go. To much caffeine and you can become dehydrated, so coffee in moderation.
- Apples & Pears
- Blackberries and Raspberries
- Olive and Flaxseed Oils
- Whole Grain Bread & Whole Wheat Bread
- Brown Rice
- Yogurt and Kefir
- Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas
- Prunes and Prune Juice
- Clear Soups
- Wheat Bran – This is a rich soluble fiber often found in breakfast cereals.
Lifestyle Choices to Improve Constipation:
- Drink more water
- Increase Exercise
- Eat more Fiber
- Natural laxatives: castor oil, senna tea, aloe vera, magnesium citrate supplements
- Fiber supplements
- Stool Softeners
- Lubricants: mineral oil, olive oil
- Stimulant laxatives – These pills cause contractions in the bowel and get things moving.
Increasing your fiber intake should help to keep things regular. Adults can try one tablespoon of olive oil taken on an empt