Many foods have been found to aggravate or precipitate constipation. Regularity can be encouraged by altering your diet and consuming fewer of these meals.
Constipation, which is typically understood to mean having fewer than three bowel motions per week, is a common issue. In reality, it affects up to 27% of adults and is accompanied by symptoms including bloating and gas. It is more likely to affect you as you age or become less physically active.
While some meals can worsen constipation, others can help ease it or lessen the risk of it.
Can foods cause constipation?
A single, particular food will rarely directly induce constipation in healthy individuals. Yet, some diets can exacerbate it. Certain meals may have an effect on a person’s symptoms if they have persistent constipation.
Most people will experience occasional constipation at some point in their lives. However, chronic constipation, which is persistent, affects 2-27 percent of the population.
People are more prone to develop constipation, per the National Health Service (NHS), if they:
- are expecting
- regularly taking laxatives
- consume a fiber-free diet
- not enough fluids are consumed
- suffer anxiety, despair, or stress
- typically not active
Constipation can also be brought on by a variety of intestinal problems, including:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
- an increase of microorganisms in the small intestine
- inflammation of the colon (IBD)
In addition, some drugs and supplements, such as opioids, antacids, and iron supplements, might have constipation as a side effect.
Foods that may cause or worsen constipation
Several foods that may worsen or cause constipation will be covered in the sections that follow.
Constipation is frequently cited as possibly being caused by alcohol. This is due to the fact that excessive alcohol consumption can increase the amount of fluids lost through urine, leading to dehydration.
Constipation is frequently associated with inadequate hydration, which can result from either not drinking enough water or losing too much of it through urine.
The direct connection between drinking alcohol and constipation could, sadly, not be proven by investigations. In addition, after a night of drinking, some people claim to experience diarrhoea rather than constipation.
It’s likely that different people experience different affects. Try to follow up each serving of alcohol with a glass of water or another non-alcoholic beverage to counteract the potential drying and constipating effects of alcohol.
Grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale contain the protein gluten. After consuming gluten-containing meals, some people may become constipated. Moreover, some persons are gluten intolerant. This is a disorder known as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Gluten causes the immune system of a person with celiac disease to attack their intestines, seriously damaging it. Because to this, those who have this condition must eat a gluten-free diet.
An estimated 0.5–1% of people worldwide are thought to have celiac disease, however many may be unaware of it. One of the common symptoms is chronic constipation. Eliminating gluten can help the gut feel better and mend.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) are two more conditions in which a person’s gut may react to wheat. Despite not being gluten intolerant, people with several medical disorders seem to be sensitive to wheat and other grains.
Before eliminating gluten from your diet if you believe it is the cause of your constipation, be careful to consult a medical practitioner to rule out celiac disease.
White bread, white rice, and white pasta are examples of processed grains and goods that are lower in fibre and may cause greater constipation than whole grains.
This is due to the removal of the grain’s bran and germ during processing. In particular, fibre, a nutrient that gives stool volume and promotes movement, is present in bran.
A higher fibre intake has been associated with a lower incidence of constipation in numerous studies. In fact, a recent study found that for every additional gramme of fibre ingested daily, constipation risk decreased by 1.8%.
Consequently, gradually reducing their intake of processed grains and substituting them with whole grains may be beneficial for persons who experience constipation.
Milk and other dairy goods
At least for some people, dairy appears to be another frequently occurring cause of constipation. Children and young adults seem to be at the greatest risk, probably because of a sensitivity to the proteins in cow’s milk.
According to a review of studies published over a 26-year period, some kids with persistent constipation got better when they stopped drinking cow’s milk.
Children with persistent constipation, ages 1 to 12, were given cow’s milk to drink for a while in a recent study. Soy milk was then used in place of cow’s milk for a while after that.
When soy milk was substituted for cow’s milk in the study’s group of 13 kids, nine of them got relief from constipation.
For three primary reasons, eating red meat may make constipation worse. First off, it doesn’t have much fibre, which gives stools bulk and aids in movement.
Second, by substituting for higher-fiber foods in the diet, red meat may indirectly lower a person’s total daily fibre intake. This is particularly true if you overindulge in meat at a meal, which limits how much fiber-rich produce, beans, and whole grains you may have at the same time.
As a result of this scenario, daily fibre intake would be generally lower, thereby raising the risk of constipation. In addition, red meat often has higher fat content than other meats like poultry and fish, and high-fat diets take longer for the body to digest. It’s possible that doing this will make constipation even more likely in some circumstances.
Fast or fried food
Constipation risk may also be boosted by eating a lot of or frequently fried or fast food.
For the same reason that red meat might inhibit digestion, these foods frequently have high fat content and low fibre content. A person’s diet may also substitute fast food snacks like chips, cookies, chocolate, and ice cream for more fiber-rich options like fruits and vegetables.
By lowering the total quantity of fibre ingested each day, this can further raise the risk of constipation. It’s interesting how many people think chocolate is one of the main reasons they get constipated.
Additionally, the high salt concentration of fried and fast foods can reduce the water content of the stool, drying it out, and making it more difficult to pass through the body.
This occurs as a result of consuming excessive amounts of salt because your body absorbs water from your intestines to help balance out the excess salt in your bloodstream.
Popular fruits from Eastern Asia called persimmons might cause constipation in certain people.
There are many types, but the most fall into one of two categories: sweet or astringent. In instance, tannins, a substance known to lessen stomach secretions and contractions and inhibit bowel motions, are abundant in astringent persimmons.
Hence, excessive persimmon consumption, especially of astringent types, should be avoided by those who have constipation.
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