Constipation is associated with infrequent and/or painful defecation, fecal incontinence as well as abdominal pain. Even though it is quite bothersome, it is something that we are shy to discuss about and avoid in our usual conversations! It not only causes distress to an individual, but has a significant impact on health care cost too.
Eating foods containing plenty of fiber certainly helps, as fiber is not digested by the body and makes stools larger, softer, and easier to pass. Most fiber is found in foods such as raw fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, oatmeal, bran muffins, brown rice, dried fruits such as prunes, figs, dates etc. Drinking ample amount of liquids, mostly water, is also very important to help prevent constipation as fiber holds on to water in the intestine so that stools pass out easily. In the event where there is lack of sufficient water, extra fiber clumps together, becomes hard and could be constipating.
AdvertisementProbiotics are "good bacteria" that are naturally present in the digestive system, which work as bacterial laxative and aid in softening the hard stool which leads to constipation. They boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive system. Beside probiotics, prebiotics are also beneficial to the digestive system. Prebiotics are special forms of dietary fiber found in many fruits and vegetables, such as the skin of apples, bananas, onions and garlic, chicory root, beans etc. They nourish the good bacteria that everyone has in their gut.
A study was conducted to see if a combination of prebiotics and probiotics couldhave a potentially synergistic effect on the intestinal transit. Patients with constipation were randomly divided into two groups, Control Group (CG) andTreatment Group (TG). Those in the CG received only yogurt for 14 days, while the TG group received yogurt containing polydextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 for the same duration of time.
At the end of two weeks, the researchers found that the product containing yogurt with polydextrose, B. lactis and L. acidophilus significantly shortened colonic transit time after two weeks in the TG compared toCG and could be considered as an option for treatment of constipation.
Constipation can be quite debilitating. If you are suffering from constipation problems, you should seriously consider taking advice from your physician regarding adding prebiotic and probiotics to your daily diet.
Effect of yogurt containing polydextrose, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study in chronic constipation; Nutrition Journal