When intestinal transit slows down or hangs, we quickly incriminate stress, anxiety, or lack of physical activity. What if we start by asking ourselves what we eat? Because not all foods digest so easily and some may favor or otherwise limit the risk of constipation. So what are the best foods to help with constipation?
Discomfort, heaviness, discomfort … Transit disorders are one of those benign ailments that annoy us every day. Most frequently? Constipation, which would affect between a quarter and a third of us, and especially women.
I – The Basics to Know About Constipation
Constipation does not necessarily indicate an underlying disease. It can occur in the event of dehydration, lack of dietary fiber, physical inactivity, or side effects of drugs.
But, no need to go to the saddle necessarily every day. We talk about constipation when we go to the saddle less than three times a week. Constipation can be caused by a diet that is not high in fiber, lack of exercise, or conditions such as hypothyroidism.
1. Who Are the People Most Affected by Constipation?
• Pregnancy predisposes to constipation. In fact, the reduction of intestinal contractions due to hormonal changes and the compression of the uterus by the colon contribute to the slowing down of the transit;
• Seniors are also frequently subject to it, sedentary lifestyle and taking certain medications are risk factors often inherent in this period of life;
• Constipation does not spare even babies, especially bottle-fed babies and children, who “hold back” to avoid going to the bathroom at school.
2. What Are the Factors Favoring Constipation?
Constipation can be:
• Occasional: in this case, it is often due to a change in daily habits (travel abroad, dietary changes, stress) or to “hold back”;
• Brutal, without any apparent cause: then consult a doctor as it may be a symptom of a more serious illness;
• Chronic: when it is due to an unhealthy lifestyle (lack of exercise, few drinks, unbalanced diet …).
• However, pregnancy and certain medications (for Parkinson’s disease, depression, high blood pressure, or heart disease) can also promote long-term constipation.
3. What Foods Should I Avoid in Case of Constipation?
No product is totally prohibited; however, some are to be consumed in moderation! Among them, high-fat or spicy dishes come first. The consumption of starchy foods and starchy foods (potatoes, rice …) must be limited.
In the case of painful bloating, avoid foods that tend to ferment such as white beans, cabbages, or lentils.
4. Foods to Help with Constipation Because They Promote Transit
Mainly high-fiber products, such as green vegetables, salad, fresh or dried fruit, cereals, or wholemeal bread, are the best foods to help with constipation. Fibers retain water, increase stool volume, and speed transit. They also stimulate the contractions of the intestine.
Tip: peel the vegetables as little as possible because it is in their skin that is the most fiber! But do not fall into the opposite extreme by increasing your fiber intake too sharply, you risk bloating and flatulence.
5. How to Prevent Constipation on a Daily Basis?
• Drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of liquid (water, tea, fruit juice) a day;
• Fight against inactivity, by promoting walking and exercises that stimulate the abdominal belt;
• Eat at regular times;
• Avoid meals on the run, take your time at the table;
• Do not neglect to go to the bathroom to limit the stress conditions and if possible go to regular schedules;
• Never hold on.
6. What Can Be the Complications of Constipation?
The most common are heaviness, bloating, and intestinal pain. Because of the high pressure in the rectum, constipation also promotes the appearance of hemorrhoids. On the other hand, very hard stools that are difficult to exonerate can lead to pain and fissures in the anus.
In some cases, especially in weakened and bedridden people, constipation can lead to true bowel obstruction.
In all cases, constipation of sudden onset or aggravation recent must lead to consulting a doctor.
7. Which Laxatives Under What Conditions?
They are delivered without prescription but their use must remain punctual. There are several kinds of it:
• Osmotic laxatives soften the faecal bowl by “drawing” water into the stool. Some laxatives used locally also have the effect of favoring the production of gas: this leads to an increase in the pressure in the rectum wall which favors the exoneration reflex of the stools;
• Laxatives emollients (paraffin oil), which soften the stool and lubricate the colic contents;
• Stimulant laxatives act on the muscles of the intestine and stimulate the secretion of water and electrolytes;
• Irritant laxatives act on the wall and increase the contractions of the digestive tract. They are therefore to be avoided.
8. Why Should Prolonged Use of Laxatives Be Avoided?
Irritant laxatives should be avoided because they can cause inflammation of the colon wall and become addictive: the gut cannot contract without them, resulting in alternating diarrhea and constipation.
The use for several years without interruption of paraffin oil could lead to malabsorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins.
In the elderly, taking it at night may cause lung infection in the event of gastroesophageal reflux (the rise of stomach contents in the esophagus) of the oil ingested.
9. Constipation: When to Consult?
Constipation may be, in rare cases, the symptom of an organic or endocrine disease: it is secondary constipation, as opposed to functional or primitive constipation. It will be suspected if:
• Constipation persists;
• You have other symptoms (fever, weight loss, blood in the stool, vomiting, anal or abdominal pain …);
• You have other health problems (history of intestinal problems, hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney or liver disease …)
In these cases, consult your doctor. He will perform examinations such as a colonoscopy or a radiological examination, which will make it possible to define more precisely the nature of the problem. The treatment will be that of the disease that causes constipation.
II – Causes of Constipation
The leading causes of constipation are poor eating habits and inadequate hydration, the consequences of which can be increased by a lack of physical activity, stress, and anxiety. Occasionally, a change in lifestyle, a trip, a prolonged bed rest, can also cause episodes of constipation.
1. Constipation: What Is Its Origin?
The mechanisms involved in the occurrence of constipation are varied:
• Some constipation results from slowing down the progression of food along the colon (large intestine);
• In others, there are difficulties with bowel evacuation in the rectum (terminal part of the colon) and the anus (“terminal constipation”);
• Sometimes, finally, both types are associated.
Constipation may be occasional or chronic (when observed for more than six months).
2. Hygiene of Life and Intestinal Transit
Most often, constipation is due to the lifestyle:
• prolonged bed rest;
• Too little drinks;
• An unbalanced or insufficiently rich fiber diet provided by cereals, vegetables, and fruits;
• Inadequate chewing during meals
• Remember to go to the bathroom when the urge is felt.
By adopting a healthier lifestyle, consuming a little bran if you tolerate it, and drinking heavily, you can easily get rid of this problem.
Some constipation is due to the development of a digestive tumor or an inflammatory disease that hinders the passage of food in the digestive tract. This is why you should be wary if this disorder is recent if you have lost weight or blood in your stool.
3. Travel and Medications Can Be the Cause of Constipation
Certain circumstances particularly favor the appearance of this disorder, such as trips abroad (at least before the appearance of a possible “Turista”!).
At this level, both the lack of activity and the changes in the diet caused by life in another country is involved. Remember to drink to protect yourself against this problem.
Some medications can also contribute to the development of constipation, such as those used to fight Parkinson’s disease, depression, hypertension, heart disease, or pain (morphine).
If you are taking treatment, remember to look at the instructions for use of the drug and do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
In addition, do not abuse laxatives. Your gut might become lazy and not contract anymore. You would then develop obstinate constipation.
4. Irritable Bowel, Stress, and Constipation
Constipation is also associated with an “irritable bowel”, subject to bloating and stomach pain. In this case, it is not uncommon for constipation to alternate with diarrhea. This syndrome is particularly observed in anxious people and it is more common in case of stress, and after consumption of fat, cabbage … It is treated with relaxation and antispasmodic drugs.
Far more rarely, constipation is a complication of infantile malformations, thyroid diseases, diabetes, or accompanies a neurological or general condition.
5. Constipation in Pregnant Women
Pregnancy predisposes to constipation. Indeed, the reduction of intestinal contractions caused by hormonal changes and compression of the colon by the uterus combine to slow down the transit and make it more difficult to transmit feces. The principles of prevention are, in pregnant women, identical to those that other women must respect and are also based on the consumption of drinks, fruits, and vegetables as well as on the market.
• Raw vegetables, cereals, rice, and fruits are the best foods to help with constipation…
Plants are all transit allies because they contain fibers that increase the volume of stool by a ballast effect. We should eat 25 to 30 g / day as at the beginning of the century, instead of 15 to 20 g only today. This without forgetting to drink at least 1.5 liters of liquids a day. The goal? That the fibers can swell and act on the transit.
There are two types of dietary fiber, to be consumed in approximately equal amounts:
– the soluble fibers (pectin, gum, and mucilage) whose degradation produces a sort of gel that absorbs water and gives volume, which facilitates the transit by the effect of ballast in the intestine (they also participate in the control of the rate of sugar and cholesterol by imprisoning them). They are found in good quantities in some fruits: apples, pears, peaches, and berries, but also in fleshy vegetables. Their laxative action is gentle and they are well tolerated by people with irritable intestines. Because of these qualities, food with soluble fibers is the best food to help with constipation.
– Insoluble fibers (cellulose, lignin …) are destined to be eliminated by the body. They stimulate the contractions of the intestine.
These two types of fibers are found in variable proportions in all plants, provided that they eat the fruits with their skin (it is better to favor the “organic” fruits) for the supply of insoluble fiber. But also by eating dried fruits: figs, apricots …
• Cooked Vegetables.
They are a favorite source of dietary fiber. “More than cereals elsewhere,” notes Dr. Laurent Chevallier. “Beware, the sound of cereals, in other words, the bark of cereal seeds, present or added in biscuits, various breakfast cereals, even if it improves the intestinal motricity, has the disadvantage of being irritating to the mucous membrane. It can be poorly supported by some people. No need to consume too much. “.
– Cabbages and dried vegetables. They are also excellent sources of fiber but people who suffer from bloating will not eat too much, because these plants are conducive to fermentation and therefore to flatulence.
– Juices and soups. Apple, kiwi, melon, and prune juices, which provide both moisture and fruit fiber, are all-natural laxatives. Same effect side vegetables, when they are prepared in broths, soups, and soups. For those who struggle to drink enough water in the day and pay for constipation, soups and juices are a great solution.
IV – Tips for Ending with Constipation
Unless its origin is a real medical problem, constipation is most often related to bad habits. Some simple lifestyle tips will help you improve your intestinal transit. Discover the good remedies.
1. Drink Water to Prevent Constipation
We know that you need to drink between 1.5 to 2 liters of fluid every day to be fit. A habit is all the more important if one tends to be constipated because the absorption of liquids in sufficient quantity promotes the softening of the stool and contributes to their better evacuation. Consume water, fruit juice, and soups at will, but do not force too much on coffee and tea.
2. Anti-Constipation Advice: Drink a Fresh Juicy Citrus Juice on an Empty Stomach
Citrus juices (orange, grapefruit …) are excellent natural laxatives. Their action on your intestinal transit will be even better, if you make the habit of consuming every morning fasting a large glass of one of those fruit juices that will help you, moreover to fill up with vitamins … For to be fit all day.
3. Anti-Constipation Diet: Eat More Fiber
Today, our diet is rather poor in natural fibers. However, these dietary fibers help your gut eliminate the waste of your body. So eat more fresh, dry fruits and vegetables, prefer whole grain cereals (rice, pasta, bread …) to too refined cereals that are noticeably lacking in these precious fibers.
4. Eat Prunes to Fight Constipation
A grandmother’s remedy that has proven itself. Prunes, juices, and jams from these fruits are natural and effective laxatives.
5. Sport Against Constipation
Sedentary life promotes constipation. By firming up your abdominal muscles, regular exercise also helps evacuate the stool more frequently. Simple exercises will help you strengthen your lap belt.
6. Constipation: To Massage the Belly
To activate a lazy gut, gently massage your stomach regularly. Better: ask your partner this little care that will marry the useful to the pleasant.
7. Take Your Time to Go to the Bathroom
Stress and lack of time in the bathroom are conducive to constipation. Normal evacuation of the stools involves different muscles that need to be relaxed to function better. Grab a book or magazine and sit comfortably on the toilet seat to help you relax.
8. Go to the Bathroom at Regular Times
Appointment every day at the same time in the toilet, you will educate your gut and your muscles to do their work regularly. Once again, take your time and do not be anxious if “it does not come”. Good habits are sometimes long to take!
9. Do Not Hold Back to Avoid Constipation
For many reasons, some people hold back, refusing to meet the demands of their organization. We must not want to postpone the time to go to the saddle under penalty of not going there at all.
10. Constipation: Pay Attention to Laxatives
In the long run, the abuse of laxatives leads to a dependency on the intestine which does not know how to function normally and naturally. Before using, try natural solutions. If that does not help, talk to your doctor.