Tips to Avoid Constipation
Published: Jan 9, 2011
Adios superfluous gut instincts!
In our last post we introduced you to the, excuse us, technicalities related to the hazardous state of affairs commonly called ‘constipation‘. Additionally, its causes were discussed as were the most effective ways to combat the situation.
As promised, we are back with the precise list of edibles that need to be a staple of your healthy diets, which also of course aid in keeping the gut motivated.
DO checkout the quick list in the end, that summarizes the complete case, for those looking for a “NOW!!” solution, sans the trivial (but important) details. Obviously, the better you know your enemy the more confident you are. But sometimes, in this battle, you just have to move in for the kill.
So, Eat THIS to avoid the “ew”
Foods To Avoid Constipation
Fats and oils:
- Use a maximum 2 tablespoonfuls (10 g) of high-quality olive oil or coconut oil per day. Better yet, make sure its unheated and is cold pressed, e.g. for salad dressings.
- Do not eat more than one high-fat meal per day, such as deep-fried or breaded food, cheese dishes, fried potato, sausage, cream sauce, puff pastry, cakes, chocolate).
- Eat sweets in moderation – most sweets contain hidden fat.
Meat, fish, eggs:
- Eat one portion of meat 2 – 4 times a week (1 portion = 80 – 120 g); more is unnecessary, less is no problem.
- Do not substitute salted meat products (such as ham, sausage, or bacon) for meat more than once a week.
- Do not eat offal (liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads) more than once a month (80 – 120 g).
- Eat 1 – 2 portions of fish a week (1 portion = 100 – 120 g).
Pulses, pulse products:
- Eat plenty of portions a week (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, tofu etc.).
Milk and dairy products:
- 1 – 2 portions per day (1 portion = 2 cups milk; 1 cup of yogurt; 30 g of hard cheese; 60 g of soft cheese). Preferably go for lactic acid products such as yogurt or kefir.
Cereal products and potatoes:
- Eat at least 3 portions of carbohydrate-rich foods per day (e.g. bread, potatoes, rice, grain, pasta, etc.), using wholemeal products or potatoes at least twice.
- Eat 5-6 portions of fruit per day (e.g. 1 apple, 3 plums or a dish of berries), ideally raw; preferably do not peel any fruit with stones.
- Eat 3 – 4 portions of vegetable per day, at least one of them raw, e.g. as mixed salad.
- Drink at least 2 liters of liquid per day, preferably unsweetened and alcohol-free beverages.
- YES, ditch the alcohol. They have diuretic re-action, which can dry the digestive system.
- If you’re concerned about constipation, alcohol free drinks should be preferred.
Does Alcohol REALLY Cause Constipation?
IF you must, healthy adults should not drink more than 1-2 glasses of wine or beer per day. Anyone who drinks more should cut down. Plan to have at least 1 day a week without alcohol!
Morally we’re obliged to quip here. Children, pregnant women, people with a medical condition, and those in convalescence, as well as drivers, should abstain from alcohol completely.
12 Tips to Avoid Constipation
- Eat a diet high in fiber – Fiber helps provide bulk and also accelerates the movement of food through the GI tract. Both insoluble and soluble fiber will benefit constipation.
- Select breakfast cereals with ideally around ten grams of fiber per one hundred grams but do watch cereal salt content.
- Introduce more legumes (beans, lentils), seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. They are rich in fiber and nutrients, including magnesium, which is good for constipation.
- Swap refined carbohydrates such as white bread for whole meal or whole grain varieties. This applies to pasta and rice as well. Whole grains may also help prevent insulin surges and reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Aim for around five portions of fruit or vegetables per day. Vary your choices. A variety of fruits and vegetables also enhances the body’s ability to fight free radicals by providing a variety of different antioxidants with different roles to play in the body. Remember that those dried and canned count too.
- Exercise. Set yourself an achievable goal as a 30-minute walk each day and stick to it. Being more active will increase general health and should make the gut work more effectively.
- Studies show that exercise increases nitric oxide levels, which may alleviate constipation. Low nitric oxide levels may explain both constipation and hypertension in pregnant women and the elderly.
- Drink plenty of water (Eight glasses per day is ideal). Constipation occurs when too much moisture is reabsorbed from feces.
- Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, both of which are diuretics that dehydrate you. Try to switch to decaffeinated coffee.
- Do not overeat. Smaller meals are easier to digest and may benefit GI health more than larger meals. You could try eating more than three meals a day and see how you feel.
- Avoid eating late at night because the body has more trouble digesting food while you are sleeping.
- If you are still constipated after trying this general health-improving advice, try natural means to combat constipation; prunes or herbal teas are an option.
Disclaimer: The above suggestions are based on studies and research. However they’re NOT replacements for medical diagnosis. For any long term medical problems, once exceeding 2 weeks, DO consult you doctor at once.
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