Did you know that the gut is your second brain? Yes, it’s true. A clean and toxic-free gut has many benefits. Today, we are going to discuss how to achieve a healthy clean gut with the best 10 foods to avoid constipation. Before we go ahead with it, let us give you a sneak peek at the causes, symptoms, and preventive solutions to constipation.
What is constipation?
Constipation is one of the common gut health issues which causes discomfort and difficulty to pass motions. It is characterized by infrequent bowel movements with fewer or three motions per week. It is a bowel dysfunction where you are unable to completely evacuate the stools. This is mainly due to dryness of gastrointestinal passages or less peristaltic movement, causing slower metabolism and difficulty to digest the foods.
Wondering what causes constipation? Let us explore this in the next part of the article.
What are the causes of constipation?
There are many causes of constipation which are as follows:
- An unhealthy diet with junk food.
- Lack of fibre in the diet.
- Reduced water intake.
- Abuse of laxatives or being laxative-dependent over time.
- Sedentary lifestyle, or no exercise.
- Changes in routine with different sleep and food pattern while travelling
- Stress and anxiety
- Resisting the urge to pass motions.
- Eating hastily and not masticating food properly.
- Long-term medications like antacids, antidepressants, anti-allergic, painkillers, or iron medications.
- Digestive issues like indigestion, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Endocrine problems like Underactive Thyroid.
- Neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis.
- Intestinal obstruction or defect in the outlet of GIT.
- Associated auto-immune disorders such as lupus, SLE, or scleroderma.
Yes, constipation is a symptom as well for many diseases before it is diagnosed. Let us check out how to detect whether you are suffering from constipation.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
The symptoms of constipation are as follows:
- Fewer than three bowel movements a week
- Excessive straining to pass motions
- Dry, hard, and lumpy stool
- Pain during/after passing stools
- Cramping in the lower abdomen
- The feeling of incomplete evacuation
Let us discover the top 10 foods to avoid constipation.
Here are 10 Foods To Avoid During Constipation:
1. Unripe Bananas:
While ripe bananas are known to relieve constipation, unripe bananas can cause constipation as they contain a starch-resistant compound that is difficult for your body to digest. It also comprises tannins which reduce the speed at which the food passes through the gut.
Now, here’s a tip on how to differentiate between a banana ready to eat and an unripe banana: Ripe bananas are completely yellow in color with signs of brown spotting and they are easy to peel. So, choose to eat ripe bananas and avoid eating unripe bananas.
Caffeine is present in coffee & cold drinks. Caffeine acts as a stimulant which may cause diarrhoea, but excess intake of caffeine can cause dehydration which can lead to constipation. So, if constipated or dehydrated, skip the coffee, as it can make the condition worse.
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and plain flour. It may not cause constipation in all, but those with celiac disease who have sensitivity towards gluten or are allergic to it may have a problem by consuming wheat and products made of wheat.
Also, people who have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or have Irritable Bowel Syndrome may suffer constipation after the consumption of gluten.
4. Milk & Dairy Products:
Cheese and milk can cause constipation in certain individuals. The high fat and low fiber content in these products may cause constipation in some people. However, there is no scientific evidence or study to support it. However, some individuals have been observed for being relieved of constipation if they limit the consumption of milk and dairy products. This could also be a result of the sensitivity to the protein found in the cow’s milk. You don’t need not give up on dairy completely, try yoghurt which is a probiotic, as is good for the digestive system and may relieve you of constipation too.
5. Red Meat:
Red meat often takes the place of fibre-rich options when consumed regularly. It is high in protein & fat but low in fibre. Foods with high-fat content take a longer time to digest. Also, it has tough protein fibers which may be difficult for your body to digest. Low fiber too can lead to constipation. So, it is advisable to replace red meat in the diet with protein and fibre-rich alternatives, such as beans, lentils, and peas.
6. Fried Food:
Fried foods comprise high amounts of fats and a lot of salt content. High intake of fat slows down the digestive process, thereby resulting in constipation. When there is too much salt in the food, the body sucks up the water from the intestines to help compensate for the extra salt in the body. This can reduce the water content in the stools, thereby drying it up and making it difficult for it to pass through eventually causing constipation.
7. Fast Food/Processed Food:
Fast and processed foods contain low fiber content and a lot of salt. As explained earlier, low fiber content does not provide the bulk to the food and slows down the process of digestion. And, high salt content in the food makes the stools dry, thereby making it difficult for them to pass through which leads to constipation. So, avoid eating fast food and processed foods.
8. White Bread:
White bread is made up of plain flour which is formed from processed wheat. As mentioned above, gluten in some people can lead to constipation. Plain flour is low in fibre and hence can cause constipation. Replace the white bread with whole wheat bread or multigrain bread, which has enough fibre.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase the volume of fluids lost through urine, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can further lead to constipation and in the worst case, it can also cause kidney stones. So, stay away from alcohol intake.
A large amount of fat in the chocolate can slow down the digestion process. Chocolates may more often affect people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So, limit the intake of chocolates.
Besides the list of foods mentioned above, cooking food in aluminium vessels can also lead to constipation. Hence cooking in such vessels should be avoided.
Foods rich in iron, such as spinach, may also worsen constipation. Iron and calcium supplements may often cause hard stools in a few individuals.
Constipation can lead to an unpleasant feeling throughout the day. This condition is relatively common. One can get rid of constipation or smoothen the digestion process by opting for healthier options in the diet and by keeping away above mentioned foods to avoid constipation.
Also Read: Homeopathy For Constipation
You can definitely start by avoiding the foods causing constipation that are mentioned above.
If constipation still persists, one can opt for homeopathy as it offers effective remedies with amazing results which can relieve you of constipation in a short span of time with no side effects.
Written by Dr Chetali, Associate doctor to Dr Rajesh Shah