Constipation is a condition where there is a decreased amount or frequency of bowel movements. It is generally described as evacuating your bowels fewer than 3 or 4 times a week or having a noticeable decrease in the amount of poop you let out every time you go to the toilet.
Foods That Cause Constipation
A lot of food can actually cause changes in your digestive tract, resulting in constipation. Most of the time, this is associated with the chemicals found in these food items, as well as the mechanical effect of their texture and composition to the transit of food in the intestines. Here are some of the notorious food items that can keep you hanging out in the bathroom longer.
1. Milk and dairy products
Can milk cause constipation? Products from milk-producing creatures can actually cause constipation by virtue of many of their components. Although milk and cheeses can be a good source of calcium, protein, and other minerals needed for health, too much can actually reduce the transit time of the digested food in your intestinal tract.
In part, this is caused by the unique proteins in milk that alter intestinal motility, as well as the ability of your intestine to absorb water from the digested food products. Although it is not advisable to avoid milk altogether, you can start by drinking not more than 2 glasses per day, just to keep those trips to the toilet short and quick.
2. Unripe bananas
When it comes to bananas and preventing the occurrence of constipation, timing is key. A banana that is perfectly ripe is actually good for your digestive tract, as it helps in creating bulk in the stool. A banana or two a day could in fact help you in preventing constipation.
However, a banana that is still green or has a weird feel in your mouth when eaten is famous in causing your poop to firm up, making it difficult to pass out. This is because as a banana ripens, it develops more pectins that, when present in your stool, can draw in water, making it easier to pass. Unripe bananas lack this carbohydrate, so you have to steer clear from this.
3. Processed foods
Foods to avoid when constipated include processed food. Items such as corned beef, canned meatloafs, sausages, and hotdogs contain a small amount of nitrates and other preservatives that are known to slow down food transit down your intestines.
These chemicals achieve this by hampering the nerve impulses needed for your intestines to function. Aside from this, you may have already read about the many toxic effects of processed meats to your other body systems. With that, it is best to just avoid processed meats altogether.
4. Greasy and fatty food
How fast your food travels from your system to your toilet is actually affected by the amount of oils and fats you take in as part of your diet. Lipids in the food we eat hamper intestinal motility by promoting the production of hormones in the intestinal tract that cause slow bowel movements. You would notice that you feel full longer than usual if you just had a big fat lunch.
Foods to Eat When Constipated
If you are still constipated, you can opt for the natural way and include foods that promote optimal digestive health in your diet. The following food items promote intestinal efficacy by means of their chemical and physical structures and components. Here are some of the healthy options that you can enjoy to prevent spending too much time pooping.
Prunes promote intestinal motility because of the skin that covers the fruit. Aside from essentially being made up of fiber that increases the bulk of the stool, it contains tannins and other healthy plant compounds that aid in restoring the cells in your intestinal tract. With this, water and nutrient absorption in your intestines is well regulated, keeping your large intestines from producing too little or too much poop.
2. Beans, peas, and lentils
Instead of banking solely on heavy meats for your daily protein source, you can choose to have legumes such as beans and pod seeds for building up or maintaining muscle. However, remember that eliminating meats entirely can also have implications for your health. Bottom line - you can alternate between beans and meats for your daily protein source.
3. Whole grains
Aside from containing a lot of fiber, grains that have not undergone the whole process of complete polishing still have a lot of bran intact. This humble component in grains is responsible in keeping your stool's bulk, making them easier to pass out. Not only does it prevent constipation, it an also promote cardiovascular health.
4. Leafy vegetables
High fiber food such as leafy vegetables and some select fruit contribute in keeping a healthy amount of poop formation down your intestinal tract and in regulating the water transfer between your intestinal walls and your poop. If you are already writing down foods to avoid when dealing with constipation, do not forget to create a list for the healthy foods and make vegetables your top priority.