Constipation is one of those problems that can make life quite uneasy. It may not be termed as a serious problem but if it persists for long, it can lead to serious and aggravated health problems such as piles and weak digestion. If you are one of those, who have suffered from this problem, you know then it can be quite discomforting and frustrating if it continues for long.
Constipation is characterized by a disorder of bowel function. When you have irregular bowel movements say just once or twice a week, then it is termed as constipation. Some of the symptoms include swollen abdomen, vomiting, abdominal pain and difficulty having bowel movements.
Causes that lead to constipation
Three factors that majorly contribute to this problem are:
1. Diet that low in fiber
2. Lack of exercise and
3. Insufficient water consumption.
Other factors that are responsible for constipation include:
1. Stress or depression
3. Large consumption of dairy products
4. Generally while traveling, many people experience constipation
5. Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
6. Taking anti-depressants or strong pain medicines such as narcotics
7. During pregnancy, women can experience constipation.
Generally people don’t require any medication to cure constipation. By making a few changes in your diet and drinking lots of water can help you overcome this problem.
However, if constipation persists for around two weeks, then it is a case of serious medical concern and it is advisable to see a doctor.
What foods can prevent and cure constipation:
High fiber diet
Eat heart healthy diet with lots of fiber. Fruits and vegetables are rich source of fiber. Dump the junk food. Steer clear of chips, fried products and your bowel system will thank you for this.
Instead, opt for high-fiber foods such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, beans, cereals such as bran, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Non-vegetarians can have small amount of animal protein such as fish or skinless poultry.
It may seem difficult in the beginning, considering most of Americans are short on fiber and are mostly bent on fried products. But incorporating fiber rich foods in your daily diet is not that difficult as you may think!
1. For breakfast, have fruits or oatmeal. When you are hungry, instead of munching on chips or any other junk items, pick some healthy nuts such as walnuts, peanuts or almonds or have fresh fruits to curb the hunger.
2. For lunch, include vegetables, beans and whole grain bread.
3. You can end the day with a high fiber yet delicious dinner that includes salad, whole grains or fish.
You can try out various Mediterranean recipes that mostly include fresh vegetables and extra virgin oil.
Increase water intake
When you increase your fiber intake, consequently you need to boost your fluid intake as well. Else the high fiber diet can backfire and you may feel even more constipated.
Drink copious amounts of water. Have 8 glasses of water every day. Exclude coffee, tea and soft drinks from this list as these products contain caffeine that can dehydrate the body further.
If dairy products such as milk affect your bowel system, you need to avoid them as well.
Exercise regularly. Even if you take a high fiber, heart healthy diet and drinks loads of water, all your efforts are incomplete if you don’t exercise. Regular exercising enhances the rate of blood flow to the body organs.
It leads to higher supply of blood to gastrointestinal tract resulting in the release of more digestive enzymes and stronger intestinal contractions. Secretion of more enzymes and strong intestinal contractions facilitate the quick and easy removal of wastes from the body.
Exercise doesn’t only mean doing crunches, push-ups or rigorous work-outs. Even going for a walk or doing moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day can work wonders for you.