Every now and then we encounter problems in our digestive system that leads to constipation. We experience abdominal and rectal pain as we find it difficult to expel our hardened stools that get stuck in our colon. There are many causes of constipation and it mostly has to do with the lack of balanced diet and pre-existing medical conditions.
Causes of Constipation
- One of the causes of constipation is the lack of fiber in our diet. Fruits, vegetables and yogurt are just some of the foods that relieve constipation and they should be included in our daily diet.
- Dehydration is another cause of constipation. Liquids ease the digestion of food and facilitate the excretion of bowel from our colon.
- Lack of exercise also leads to constipation. It is advisable that we stay active to maintain our metabolism and support the normal functioning of our digestive system.
- Existing problems like irritable bowel syndrome, colon diseases and stroke also contribute to constipation.
- Regular intake of laxatives disrupts our bowel’s natural movement and it could cause mild to serious colon diseases.
- Pregnancy raises the level of progesterone in a woman’s body. It relaxes the smooth muscles in the digestive tract which slows down the passage of food in the intestine. The increase in the size of the uterus also disrupts the normal functions of the rectum.
Foods that Relieve Constipation
Below is a list of foods that you need to incorporate in your diet for better digestion and bowel movement. Many of these are affordable and can be easily bought from any grocery store. Consume these foods in moderation to prevent the negative side effects of having too much fiber.
1. Green, leafy vegetables
Vegetables are one of the best sources of fiber. Most of the greens that we consume have fibers that are not naturally absorbed or digested by our bodies, which increases our stool’s bulk. Also these fibers facilitate the absorption of fluids in the stool making it softer and easier to excrete. Of course we all know that vegetables not only help with bowel movement. It is also a good source of daily nutrition and antioxidants. It is advisable to eat cooked veggies rather than eat them raw to avoid further irritation in your digestive system.
2. Wheat and whole grains
Just like vegetables, oatmeal and wheat bread are very good sources of fiber. They are some of foods that relieve constipation because they are unprocessed and polished like other commercial bread or grain. Make sure that you drink lots of liquids when eating too much wheat and whole grains because the fiber will add a lot of bulk to your stool. Without these liquids, your constipation may only get worse due to you inability to get rid of your fecal matter. Oatmeal and whole grains also help in the absorption of bad cholesterol in your body so make sure you eat a healthy serving every day.
Papaya, berries, jackfruit and apple are just some of the foods the relieve constipation. A half-medium sized papaya consumed during breakfast works as an efficient laxative for the rest of the day. Bael fruits on the other hand, tones and thoroughly cleanse our intestines while the oranges prevent food residue in accumulating. For chronic constipation, consume grapes since it has cellulose and organic acid that can facilitate bowel movement.
4. Fruit Juices
For a healthy digestive system, you do not only have to rely on solid foods. Relieve constipation by drinking a lot of water and fruit juices. Fruit juices are better than water because they contain vitamins and fiber that cleanse our intestines. Just make sure that you regulate your intake because fruit juices contain a lot of natural sugars which may be harmful when consumed in large quantities.
Yogurt is another food that relieves constipation. It is essentially fermented milk which means it contains lactobacillus, streptococcus thermophilus and other probiotics. These microorganisms help breakdown food thus reducing the incidence of constipation. Yogurt also contains calcium which is essential for the reduction of cancerous growth in our colon.
6. Flax oil
Flax oil is good laxative and helps absorb the vitamins in the intestine. It comes from flax seed and is considered a better alternative to mineral oil because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
Too much fiber consumption is not good for the body. Aside from exacerbating constipation, fiber can also lead to cramps, intestinal blockage and diarrhea. It also induces gas buildup in our intestines that leads to abdominal pain.