Isn’t constipation annoying to the core? Irregular bowel movement, stomach cramps, gas, and bloating – all are symptoms that you are constipated. Pushing, cringing, and trying different breathing techniques don’t help, and who has the time to sit in the bathroom all day? Constipation is a sign that you are eating the wrong foods and have a poor lifestyle. So, the BEST way to get relief is to eat right and tweak your lifestyle – unless you are a huge fan of anything-but-yummy herbal laxatives and medicines. Get on the wagon to find out which unassuming foods cause constipation and a bonus list of foods that relieve the condition. Let’s go!
12 Foods That Cause Constipation (AVOID THESE)
1. Unripe Green Bananas
Bananas, in general, are healthy. But unripe green bananas may cause constipation. This is the reason they are used as a home remedy for an upset stomach. About 70-80% of the net weight of a green banana is resistant starch, a complex carbohydrate that has dietary fiber-like property. And though fiber is known to help relieve constipation, this particular type of dietary fiber is tough for the body to digest. So, avoid consuming green bananas if you are constipated.
Sorry to break this news to you, but yes, chocolate causes constipation. Especially milk chocolate. The humongous amount of fat in chocolate slows down digestion and peristalsis or movement of food through the digestive tract, thereby leading to constipation. In fact, the cocoa beans with husks are said to reduce constipation, but since most milk chocolates are devoid of it, having too many chocolates or chocolate products can lead to constipation.
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly brewed coffee/tea? Aromatic and soothing! But drooling time’s up, the reality is it causes constipation. Drinks that contain caffeine, including energy drinks, black coffee, coffee with cream, decaf coffee, tea, tea with cream, hot chocolate, soda, etc., are a strict no for you. Caffeine tends to draw water from the colon when consumed in excess. However, when consumed in limited amounts, caffeine can stimulate bowel movement. So, be careful about the amount of caffeine you consume per day.
4. Processed And Frozen Foods
Processed and frozen foods may be convenient, but they are dangerous for you in every way. Foods like salami, sausage, frozen dinners, and ready-to-eat foods are loaded with preservatives, are high in sodium or sugar content, and have added flavor and color. To digest all of these complex and artificial additives, the digestive system has to work extra hard. This, in turn, weakens the digestive system, leading to various gut problems, including constipation. Stop consuming these foods right now.
Gluten is a binding protein found in wheat, semolina, rye, and barley. It gives the food its shape and holds it together. But a majority of people are gluten sensitive and may suffer from constipation. Not all gluten sensitive individuals experience constipation, but those with Celiac disease should completely avoid gluten products.
Persimmon is a delicious orange tomato-like fruit that is loaded with nutrients. And there are two varieties – sweet and astringent. The astringent variety can cause constipation. And that’s because it contains a lot of tannins that tend to slow down food movement through the digestive tract and reduce gut secretions. So, consume the sweet variety and not the astringent one.
7. Red Meat
Consuming red meat can cause constipation as it is high in fat and iron and has protein fibers that are tough to digest. So, it is best to avoid consuming red meat like beef, ground beef, lamb, pork, venison, veal, and goat.
A cracker is a flat biscuit made with baking flour. And though it may seem the perfect snack, it can cause constipation. In fact, any biscuit made from baking flour tends to slow down bowel movement. So, avoid consuming these when you feel constipated.
Alcohol consumption has consumed most of us, especially because we tend to go overboard with it. It can cause constipation, nausea, and headache because it is dehydrating. And not drinking enough water when you have alcohol may prevent the cells from working. And as a result, the cells draw more water from the wastes in the digestive tract. This, in turn, prevents bowel movement and causes constipation. Avoid alcohol completely if you regularly suffer from constipation. Or drink as much water as you can when you consume alcohol.
10. Too Much Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream can cause constipation when taken in excess. The lactose in dairy products has been found guilty of causing gas and bloating. Cheese often causes constipation in adults. A study conducted on Iranian children aged 1 to 13 observed that dairy products were the cause of their constipation. Nearly 80% of the children who eliminated cow’s milk and dairy products from their diet had more regular bowel movements. However, this does not mean that dairy products do not have any health benefits and should be eliminated completely. To avoid constipation, it is advisable to consume them in moderation as part of a high-fiber diet.
11. Fried Or Fast Foods
Fried and fast foods are food trends that need to go away. These are the main reasons for many health issues like obesity and heart diseases. Since these foods are also high in sodium and artificial food additives, they tend to slow down the passing of food through the colon, leading to constipation. If you are someone who has at least one meal consisting of fried or fast foods, you will be at risk of not only constipation but also many other health issues. Stop eating these – the sooner, the better. Avoid them completely if you suffer from constipation regularly.
The last, but not the least. Without blinking your eyes, you can finish a big bag of chips. The perfect balance of salt and sugar in the chips makes it really tough to stop once you have started. But did you know that apart from making you gain weight, they can also cause constipation? Yes, chips are fried and high in sodium. Avoid consuming too much of them or just banish them from your house.
These were the 12 constipation causing foods. Now, let’s take a look at foods that relieve constipation.
10 Best Foods For Relief From Constipation (CONSUME THESE)
This golden orange tropical fruit is loaded with a digestive enzyme called papain and has a good amount of dietary fiber. Papain helps in digestion, and the dietary fiber aids good peristaltic movement of the digestive tract, thereby helping relieve constipation.
Prunes are loaded with soluble and insoluble fibers. Drinking prune juice in the morning and during your evening snack time can help stimulate bowel movement. Drink this regularly to prevent constipation and keep your colon clean.
This luscious green, sweet and sour fruit tastes amazing and helps support digestion, absorption, and excretion. Kiwis are high in dietary fiber and have a stimulatory effect on the colon. Consume at least one whole kiwi before lunch or as an evening snack to provide your body the nourishment it deserves.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are good sources of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) that stimulates peristaltic movement. They also provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Have a cup of mixed berries every day to help prevent constipation.
Finally something on the list that’s crunchy, fun, and can be made and eaten any time of the day! Popcorn is a high-fiber, low-calorie snack that helps add bulk to the stool and stimulates colonic emptying. Have one medium bowl of unsalted popcorn every day.
6. Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread is loaded with soluble and insoluble fibers. Since dietary fiber helps draw water and adds bulk to the waste in the colon, passing stool becomes easier. So, switch to whole grain bread and have 2-3 slices of it every day.
7. Pears, Plums, And Apples
Apples, plums, and pears are not only good sources of vitamins and minerals but are also loaded with dietary fiber. You can consume half of each of these fruits or may have each of them on different days of the week.
Flaxseeds are a great source of healthy fats, which is why they are known to aid weight loss. One of the reasons they cause fat loss is that they are high-fiber seeds that stimulate bowel movement, thereby preventing constipation and improving digestion.
Broccoli can be super delicious if you cook it right. Add it to your diet and see all your constipation, weight gain, and other health-related issues vanish. A cup of blanched broccoli with other colon stimulating veggies and foods is all you need.
10. Dried Fruits
Nuts, apricots, dates, etc. are all good for relieving constipation. They are a rich source of fruit sugar, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Consume at least a fistful of dried fruits every day to flush out toxins from your colon.
Consuming these foods regularly and avoiding the foods mentioned in the first list will help you get rid of constipation without having to gulp down a tasteless powder or tablet. Keep a DO NOT EAT list with you until you get well. Drink water every hour, go on morning walks or runs, avoid smoking, and have your meals on time. Also, keep your doctor in the loop about your new lifestyle. You will feel better for sure. Take care!
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