That ‘gut’ feeling called constipation
Does the bowel movement leave you with eerghh…gah! gah! grunt? Well,constipation is indeed an uncomfortable situation. Constipation affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. As per a gut health survey, constipation affects more than 22% of adult Indian population. So, you’re not alone if you’re having stomach problems. With a few simple adjustments you can help your digestive system get back on track.
When you have three or fewer bowel motions in a week, you are said to be constipated. It can also refer to a condition in which you are unable to fully discharge your bowels. Constipation affects everyone from time to time, but it can become a problem if it occurs on a regular basis.When stool sits in the large intestine or colon for an extended period of time, it becomes hard and dry, making it more difficult to move.
A low-fiber or high-fat diet, a lack of exercise, and not drinking enough water are all factors that contribute to the condition. Constipation can also be caused by taking certain drugs, not going when you feel the urge.
However, the good news is that making wise eating choices and developing good habits can help.Dietician Gurleen Kaur has some tips for you.
Must-have superfoods to fix constipation
Eat your greens: every day, consume 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of veggies. Make roasted vegetable sandwiches, replace fries with a salad, buy pre-cut vegetables to nibble on with low-fat dip, keep the fruit bowl stocked for a quick and healthy snack, and add chopped, dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal.
Eat whole grains wholeheartedly: Whole-grain bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice should be substituted for white bread, white rice, and standard pasta. Choose low-fat and low-sugar options while eating whole oats, multigrain cereals, and whole wheat crackers. Instead of chips, eat air-popped popcorn. When shopping for cereal, look for options with at least 5 grams of fibre per serving.
Go bananas on beans: Replace meat with a bean or legume meal at least once a week. Cooked beans can be added to salads, while bean soups and stews can be served as main meals.
Add fiber to your diet: Changes should be made gradually over the course of a week or so; if you increase fiber too rapidly, you may feel bloated and gassy. Be patient; your body may need time to adjust.
Good sources of fiber are
- Whole grains: whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, and bran flake cereals
- Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas
- Fruits: berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, and pears
- Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard greens
- Nuts: almonds, peanuts, and pecans
Choose a fibre supplement: A supplement may be beneficial if you are having difficulties getting enough fibre in your diet. They’re also known as “bulk-forming laxatives” and are generally safe. Just make sure to consult your doctor before using them, as they may interfere with the effectiveness of some medications.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated: If you increase your fibre intake through food or supplements, you should also increase your hydration intake. Low- or no-calorie beverages are preferable to sugary sodas and fruit drinks, which will add calories you don’t need.
Sip a hot beverage: Drinking hot liquids, especially caffeinated ones like coffee or ordinary tea, might help relieve constipation quickly as the temperature of the beverage might speed up digestive motility, and caffeine stimulates the bowels as well.
Say cheese? No, please!
Constipation can be caused by high-fat foods such as oil, butter, and grease.Overeating fried meals, processed meats, professionally baked pastries, and other high-fat foods may be the cause of persistent constipation. Fats are difficult to digest and take a long time to break down in the body. In addition, most high-fat diets are poor in fibre, which slows down motility.
Make a move!
Staying active will help you maintain a regular bowel movement. Constipation is more likely to occur in people who do not engage in regular physical activity. After each meal, do a 10- to 15-minute stroll to keep your bowels moving properly.
If constipation persists, visit a doctor
Constipation can cause bloating and cause you to lose your appetite.Most of the time, making appropriate dietary and exercise modifications will resolve any digestive issues. However, if you’ve followed these techniques for three weeks and haven’t seen any improvement, consult your doctor. Ask your doctor if an over-the-counter laxative or stool softener would be beneficial to you.
Request a referral to a licenced dietitian nutritionist if your healthcare practitioner believes your constipation is caused by your dietary habits. An RDN can assist you in identifying strategies to boost your fibre consumption as well as developing a food plan that is tailored to your specific needs.