dieting causes constipation: Nobody likes to think – much less talk about – constipation, but most people have it at one time or another. More than 40 million people in the United States have it quite often. So, if you have stomach problems, you are not alone. Most of the time, it does not last long and simple changes can help your digestive system function properly again.
Common causes of dieting causes constipation
To understand how to prevent constipation, it is helpful to know what is the cause. When food passes through your colon, your body absorbs the water and what remains is formed in the stool. Your muscles carry it through the colon to the rectum, where you pass it. When this movement slows down, your colon sucks up too much water. Stools become dry and difficult to evacuate, causing constipation.
The problem often occurs because of a diet that is low in fiber or high in fat, lack of exercise, and low fluid intake. Certain medications, lack of treatment when you feel the need, laxative abuse and pregnancy can also lead to constipation.
Fiber helps to relieve constipation
Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body can not break down. When you consume foods that contain a lot, the extra volume helps keep the stool soft and speeds up digestion.
All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, contain fiber. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 grams a day for women and up to 38 grams for men. After 50 years, we need less fiber – about 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Unfortunately, most of us consume only about 15 grams a day, which may explain why so many people are constipated.
Fiber and Constipation
Dietary fiber is a part of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables that we can not digest.
There are soluble fibers and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber slows digestion so that the intestine can absorb nutrients. Insoluble fibers add volume to the stool, allowing them to retain moisture and move through the system.
Constipation occurs when the digestive system absorbs too much moisture, making the stool too difficult to eliminate.
Studies show that 77% of people notice an improvement in constipation due to increased fiber consumption.
Please note that too much fiber can also cause problems. The recommended average amount of fiber per day is 28 g for women and 38 g for men. If you consume the recommended amount of fiber, it is probably not the cause of your constipation. Increasing your intake in this circumstance can aggravate the symptoms.
Tips to improve fiber intake
Here are some examples of foods that increase fiber intake and fight constipation:
- Prunes – contain 3.1 g of fiber (1.8 g of insoluble) plus sugar alcohol sorbitol, a natural laxative
- 1 small pear: 4.4 fiber
- Black beans – 6.9 g of fiber
- 1/4 cup dates: 3.6 fiber
- Pear with skin – 5.5g of fiber
- 1 medium sweet potato: 4.8 fiber
Dietary advice for digestive health
Simple changes can improve your diet and help relieve constipation:
You do not need to count grams of fiber to get the amount you need. Instead, aim to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day. Prepare sandwiches with roasted vegetables, add a salad instead of french fries, buy already cut vegetables, stick them with a low-fat dip, keep the fruit bowl full for a healthy and convenient snack and add chopped fruit and dry with oats and cereals.
Go for grains
Replace white bread, white rice and regular pasta with wholemeal bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Eat more whole oats, multigrain cereals, and whole wheat crackers – but be sure to choose low fat and low sugar options. Glue on popcorn in the air instead of chips. When buying cereals, choose brands that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
Bul up on beans.
Replace the meat with a bean or legume dish at least once or twice a week. Add cooked beans to your salads and try the soups and bean stews as main courses.
Add fiber gradually
Make changes slowly over a week or two. If you increase your fiber intake too quickly, you may feel bloated and disgusting. Be patient – it may take time for your body to adjust.
Consider a fiber supplement
If you have trouble absorbing enough fiber in your diet, a supplement might help you. Also called laxatives, they are usually safe. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using them because they can prevent certain medications from working as well.
If you add more fiber to your diet, whether with foods or supplements, also drink more fluids. Choose low-calorie or no-calorie drinks – sugary drinks and fruit drinks will add extra calories you do not need.
Relieve constipation with exercise
Exercise not only helps you stay in shape but can also help you stay regular. This can help foods move faster in your colon. It is not always easy to find the time to be active, but try these tips:
- Start exercising for about 20 minutes, 3 days a week, and increase at least 30 minutes five or more times a week. Always consult your doctor before starting any type of fitness plan.
- Not much time? Break the activity all day – three 10-minute steps count for a 30-minute workout.
Constipation: when to call your doctor
Most of the time, healthy changes in your diet and exercise habits will alleviate digestive problems. But if you have tried these tips for 3 weeks and have not noticed any changes, consult your doctor. She may suggest that you take a laxative for a few days to help recycle your system. You should also call your doctor immediately if you notice blood in the stool, stomach pain or if you lose weight without trying.