Constipation? See which foods you should be avoiding
Constipation is common and will affect many of us in our lifetime. Before you turn to tablets, why not adjust your diet to see if it can help you along instead?
We have probably all experienced constipation at some point or another, and often this is caused by many different reasons. While there are a lot of things that you can do to help yourself when you are suffering from constipation, there are also certain food items that you should avoid, as they are known for worsening your symptoms.
Here are just some of the foods that you should avoid when you have constipation.
Bananas can both help treat constipation and make it worse. It is merely a matter of timing. Unripe bananas will cause constipation, while ripe bananas can help to relieve symptoms.
The reason for this is because bananas that are still green In colour contain a lot of starch which is harder for the body to digest. They also contain a lot of fibre, which in turn can make constipation worse in people who are suffering from dehydration as it will draw water away from the intestines and towards the stool.
You might not think twice before popping a piece of gum in your mouth, but if you are suffering from constipation, chewing gum can make it worse, especially if you consistently swallow gum, as it can cause a blockage. (Don’t swallow gum!)
While we are not saying that you should not chew gum, try and stick to just one or two pieces a day, and then ensure that you throw it out once you have finished with it. Do not be tempted to swallow it.
Although strictly speaking this is not a food item, caffeine can also make constipation worse for some people.
For some, it can cause diarrhoea, as it is a stimulant, that can encourage people to have more bowel movements than usual, but, again if someone is dehydrated, caffeine will only make this worse, leading to constipation.
Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, rye and barley. While it does not have to cause constipation in everyone, it can be quite nasty for those who have a sensitivity to it, or those who suffer from coeliac disease.
It is important to note though that if you believe that you might have a sensitivity to gluten; you must seek advice from your GP, who can then run tests to see what the problem can be. If you are diagnosed with Coeliac disease, it is essential that you do not consume any products that contain gluten.
Don’t be confused with all rice – just white rice can cause constipation, and this is because the fibre and nutrients, that can be found in the husk, bran and germ have been removed. Brown rice, which has all of these additional nutrients intact can actually have the opposite effect and help to relieve symptoms of constipation.
Red meat is quite well known for causing constipation in some people for a number of different reasons. It is high in fat, which means that it takes longer for the body to process it; it has tough protein fibres, that are again difficult for the stomach to digest; and it is very high in iron, which again is known for causing constipation.
If you are suffering from constipation, try and reduce your intake of red meat.
Just like rice, white and brown bread are very different, and whilst bread that contains whole grains might help to relieve constipation, white bread can actually worsen it, or even cause you to become constipated.
This is because white flour, which is used in the making of white bread has no fibre, and are incredibly high in starch, which can make you constipated. So, try and choose whole grains where possible.
In a similar way to caffeine, alcohol can also make constipation worse. This is because it is dehydrating, so If you are already a little dehydrated, you will more likely become constipated, and it can slow digestion and irritate the bowel, which will then worsen symptoms that are already present.
You should try and limit your alcohol intake, and when you do have them, try and alternate between alcoholic drinks and water.
Unfortunately, chocolate is not recommended to those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. This is because chocolate that is especially high in fat can slow down the digestion process, which can affect the speed in which food moves through the bowel.
Chocolate is considered to be one of the foods that causes constipation, so if you do suffer from IBS, it is best to try and avoid it.
If people eat a lot of dairy products, it can lead to constipation. It is more likely than not to be the lactose that is found in the dairy, which can lead to an increase in gas and bloating, which can then turn into constipation if not moved along quick enough.
Studies that have been carried out on children between the ages of 1 to 13 found that eighty percent of those who eliminated cows milk products from their diet had much more regular bowel movements compared with those who did not.
The majority of fast food is high in fat and low in fibre, which all lead to constipation. On top of this, they rarely have much nutritional value, and should be avoided, especially if you are prone to constipation.
This does not mean that you cannot enjoy the same style of food though, but just try and make burgers yourself with lean mince, or vegetables, and make sweet potato fries which are high in fibre and nutrients, and can actually help to relieve constipation.