Foods To Relieve Constipation
Dealing with constipation is no fun. Anyone who has gone for a few days without a bowel movement can relate to this. When things feel bound up, you will probably do just about anything to get a little relief from your constipation! Luckily, there are a number of foods to relieve constipation that also helps prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place.
Organic Fruits and Vegetables
All-natural (locally grown) fruits and vegetables are helpful in relieving constipation and in preventing constipation from occurring in the first place. At the very least, you should include five servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day.
Fruits and vegetables are beneficial in providing constipation relief for one main reason — fiber. Fiber is a material found in plants, which include fruits and vegetables. This material cannot be digested by the human gastrointestinal tract. You might think that’s a bad thing, but this “in-digestibility” is the source of fiber’s chief benefit to our diet. While in the intestine, fiber binds to water and keeps it inside the intestines. This additional water makes the stool softer, while the fiber makes it bulkier.
Other characteristics of certain fruits and vegetables are also beneficial when it comes to constipation relief. For example, the following fruits and vegetables help to lubricate your intestines, which in turn make it easier for waste to be eliminated.
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Breads and grains are examples of foods for relieving constipation. Why is that? Wheat and oat bran in particular are helpful because, like fruits and vegetables, these natural grains add extra fiber to your diet. Eating fresh wheat bread (not bleached or enriched flour) or whole grain rice can be very helpful when it comes to preventing and relieving constipation.
Some other high fiber foods include raisins, raw vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and peas are excellent choices), ground flax meal, and salads light on cheese and meats and heavy on green-and-leafy lettuce. For softening the stool a bit, try applesauce, oatmeal, legumes (dried beans) and barley or whey. Cottage cheese helps in this respect also.
Yogurt is one of the best foods for relieving constipation because it helps your colon in two ways. First, the lacto-bacteria in active-culture yogurt help repopulate your digestive system with these beneficial organisms that aid in breaking down food. Second, the acidophilus in yogurt encourages healthy bacterial growth and also helps diminish the production of bile acid, which may be a cancer-causing agent. In fact, the more acidophilus you have in your colon, the less likely you are to have problems with colon diseases in general.
Besides those benefits, yogurt is also rich in calcium, which is good for your colon. Unlike other dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt does not have a binding effect but still makes it possible for you to add more calcium to your diet. Calcium helps prevent excess growth of cells in your colon lining, which also reduces your chances of developing cancer. In fact, one study supported findings that consuming 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day can reduce your chances of developing colon cancer by 75%. Obviously, a healthy colon is not as likely to become constipated as one that is unhealthy.
Eating an abundance of probiotic foods will help encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. Not only will these probiotic foods help relieve constipation, but they will also promote optimal colon health in general.
Purified water can also be listed as one of the most healthful foods to relieve constipation. It is particularly important to increase your water intake if you are also increasing your fiber intake. This is because the water will help prevent the fiber from hardening and causing a blockage in your intestines. Drinking plenty of water can be very helpful in preventing constipation. While there is no evidence supporting the idea that drinking excessive water will bring relief from constipation, drinking enough to prevent dehydration will ensure an adequate amount remains in your intestines at all times. To drink enough to prevent dehydration, you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses (roughly 64 ounces) of water every day. If you need a stronger flavor now and then, stick to hot herbal teas and stay away from caffeinated drinks like the plague as they really aren’t good for you and can create an artificial dependency on their sugars, preservatives, and other chemicals.
By adding more fruits and vegetables, grains, yogurt, and water to your diet, you will be less likely to suffer from constipation. Each of these wonderful, nutritious foods can also help you get things moving again if you have already become constipated. Once you begin to experience the many benefits of following a diet beneficial to colon health, just continue with these culinary choices and make them a part of your regular menu.