Nearly everybody has experienced constipation. The pain it causes can be severe. It can be excruciatingly embarrassing, too.
According to the National Library of Medicine, you have this condition if you experience three or fewer bowel movements in one week. Because it’s typically hard and dry, stool can be hard to pass.
Understanding the cause of constipation is important as far as learning how to prevent and treat it. Sometimes vitamins or medication can be the culprit.
More likely, however, is an insufficient amount of water, fiber or exercise. Heading toward the powder room as soon as the urge strikes can be a cause. Just as taking over-the-counter medications for too long can cause a rebound headache, consuming too many laxatives can also leave you even more constipated.
When you’re trying to relieve an episode of constipation, there are foods that you should avoid as well as the ones that can help. You should steer clear of highly processed or fat foods. It’s wise to pass up white bread, pastries, doughnuts, potato chips, French fries and hamburgers from your favorite fast-food hangout.
The list of foods that can help you is long. You should eat small meals and avoid skipping any. A number of foods that are high in fiber will help your digestive tract push waste more efficiently through the gut. It’s important to add foods rich in fiber slowly since some individuals have a problem digesting them and experience bloating if the amount isn’t correct. Four to eight cups of liquids – water and caffeine-free drinks – every day can also help resolve the problem.
If you’re constipated, head for fruit for relief. Among the most helpful fruits are berries, apricots, plums, raisins, peaches, rhubarb and prunes.
Any bread you consume should be made using whole grains. This also applies to crackers, pancakes, waffles and pasta. Brown rice is also more effective than its white cousin. If you’re having cereal, make sure to check the ingredients panel on the box to confirm that the product is high in fiber.
Legumes can also provide constipation relief. Incorporate chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and navy beans into your diet. You can also get additional fiber from peanuts, almonds and walnuts.
You’ll also want to incorporate plenty of vegetables into your meals. Those highest in fiber include asparagus, corn, squash, potatoes and broccoli. If you have a yen for a salad, make sure it contains lettuce, cabbage and spinach.
If you haven’t yet figured out the amount of fiber that you can comfortably digest, consider sprinkling just a teaspoon or two of ground fax seeds, wheat bran, psyllium or bran flakes on foods like soup and yogurt. You should also free to eat lean meats such as fish, turkey and checking. If your appetite suggests you’d like a snack, select items such as oatmeal raisin cookies, popcorn and fig bars.
The idea behind using various foods to relieve constipation is to avoid having to use laxatives, stool softeners and related products. It’s helpful to note that the same foods that can bring relief can help you prevent another episode of constipation.