Constipation, irregular bowel movements and difficulties in passing stool is a common problem among persons of every age. A person is constipated if there are less than three bowel movements in a week passing hard, dry and sometimes painful stools. Other symptoms like flatulence, bloating and sluggishness are also associated with constipation. Although not serious, it is often uncomfortable and frustrating. Young children, old age persons and pregnant women are more prone to getting constipated. Diagnosis of the underlying cause and proper dietary modifications could help treat this problem.
Causes of Constipation
Constipation commonly is caused due to fiber deficient diet. Certain medications such as antidepressants and iron supplements can also result in infrequent bowel movements. Some common causes responsible for constipation include lack of fluids in diet, pregnancy, hemorrhoids, less exercise, irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety. More serious reasons for constipation can be endocrine problems, diabetes and colorectal cancer which are followed by other symptoms along with constipation.
Medicines such as laxatives are used to treat constipation but they must be taken in moderation. Eating a balanced, fiber-rich diet is the best treatment for constipation relief.
Foods for Constipation Relief
Beans are one of the richest sources of dietary fiber that help in proper bowel movement through intestines. A single serving of beans contains about 10 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber that could sufficiently make up for the daily recommended quantity of dietary fiber. All types of beans such as kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, black eyed beans and lima beans are good for constipation relief.
Make a mixed bean salad or add them to pastas, rice or any other dish for daily intake of fiber.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and all other delicious members of the family are good for treating constipation. This low-calorie and extremely healthy fruit are rich in fiber ensuring proper digestion and adding nutrients to your diet. A cup of strawberries provides 4 grams of fiber and same serving of fresh raspberries provide 8 grams of fiber. Including all kinds of berries in regular diet help prevent bloating and constipation.
Eat a cup of mixed berries for breakfast or add them to cereal for a tasty snack.
Sweet potatoes are another good source of fiber relieving constipation effectively. Baked sweet potatoes with skin are rich in fiber that help cure digestive ailments. Eat them with the skin on as its skin contains a high amount of fiber. A medium-sized baked sweet potato provides about 3.5 grams of fiber.
Baked potatoes also provide a high amount of fiber that cure constipation. However, too much of potatoes could add extra calories to your body which is unhealthy. Eating baked potatoes with the skin on provides maximum benefits for constipation relief.
This exotic juicy fruit is loaded with fiber, vitamins and other vital nutrients. Kiwi is an excellent health promoting fruit that ensures regular bowel movement. Research suggests eating 2 kiwis a day is good for proper digestion and preventing constipation. One medium-sized kiwi contains about 2.5 grams of fiber.
Scoop up the juicy flesh of kiwi fruit or eat it along with the skin to wave off your bowel problems. You can also add slices to a morning fruit salad or drink a thick kiwi smoothie to savor your taste buds smoothing your bowel passage.
Mixed Nuts and Seeds
Nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are great snacks to relieve constipating stomach. They are a rich source of fiber with 1 cup almonds containing about 3.3 grams fiber and 1 cup pecans contain 2.7 grams of fiber. Eat them as a regular snack to improve bowel movements and ease constipation.
Seeds such as sesame seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are fiber rich munching snacks. Adding a cup of pumpkin seeds provides a whopping 5 grams fiber to your daily diet. Nuts and seeds are however high on calorie levels and thus, must be taken in moderation.
As the name suggests, whole grains are wholesome foods providing all the necessary nutrients, minerals and lots of fiber for a healthy diet. Whole grain rye bread is a good cure for constipation. They contain a compound named Arabinoxylan which is found to have benefits against constipation. Whole grain cereal such as oats is another high fiber option for treating constipation. A daily cereal meal containing at least 5 grams of fiber is recommended to effectively treat constipation. Take them with a cup of warm or cold milk adding fluid intake to your diet and maximizing benefits.
This highly nutritious, fiber-filled, green leafy vegetable works wonders in treating constipation. It is low in calories and abundant in dietary fiber that regulates overall digestion helping smooth bowel passage through intestines. Raw broccoli has maximum benefit in constipation relief but baked or boiled broccoli is equally effective against constipation. Do not cook it in oil as it reduces the fiber content thereby eliminating greater benefits.
Prunes, raisins, dates and figs are fiber-rich dried fruits which are a useful remedy for constipation. Prunes apart from being high in fiber also contain sorbitol which acts as a natural laxative that help cure constipation. High amounts of fiber along with sorbitol help in proper digestion of food and ease bowel movements, soothing constipation.
Apples, Plums and Pears
Fiber-rich fruits such as plums, apples and pears are effective remedies for bloating and constipation. They are juicy and loaded with other nutrients that make them a good choice for treating constipation. Their edible skins are great source of fiber providing curing benefits to most constipation related problems.
Plenty of Fluids
Fluids are very important to ensure proper bowel movement. Drink plenty of water and fruit juices which soften the stool and allow a smooth colorectal passage. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee and carbonated soda drinks as they dehydrate the body and can cause irregular bowel movements.