Constipation is a common disorder of bowel motion whereby it may get difficult to pass faeces. Doctors define it as having less than 3 episodes of defaecation in a week. A constipated person may have flatulence, abdominal pain and bouts of diarrhoea alternating with constipation.
What foods should I avoid?
Constipation is relatively less common in developing countries where people eat foods that have high fibre content more common in developed countries where people eat a lot of processed food.
Apart from fibre content, some foods naturally take a long time to pass through the digestive system and may cause constipation.
Here are some foods you should avoid when you are constipated.
Unripe bananas Bananas are like a double-edged sword. If you are constipated and you eat ripe bananas, things get better and the constipation is relieved. However, green unripe bananas cause constipation due to their high starch content. The body finds it hard to digest this resistant starch. If you are constipated, avoid unripe bananas.
White rice White rice is rice that has been polished to make it look whiter. This process removes the fibre and most of the nutrients in the rice. Low fibre content in foods will lead to constipation. If you are constipated, consider eating brown rice instead, it contains a lot of fibre and proteins too!
Gluten People who have coeliac disease have trouble eating foods that contain gluten because they are allergic to it. It makes their bowel to get inflammed. Gluten is a proten found in barley, rye and wheat that are used in making bread, pastries, pasta, etc. If you are constipated and you have celiac disease, you must avoid gluten containing foods.
Alcohol Alcohol causes dehydration, slows digestions and irritates the digestive tract. All these can cause constipation.
Red meat Red meat contains a high fat content and this prolongs its passage through the digestive tract. It also has a lot of iron in it, which causes constipation.
Fast food Fast foods have little nutritional value and low fibre content. If you are constipated, it is better to eat potatoes and vegetables at home than to snack on fries or burgers.
Chocolate Chocolate is sweet to your taste, but you should really avoid it if you have problems with constipation. It has a high fat content and slows the passage of food through the digestive tract. It makes your intestines lazy and they forget to push the food along.
What should I eat?
To prevent constipation, you need a diet that is nutrititous and high in fibre content. Try brown rice, beans, whole grain bread, fruits and vegetables. You must also drink adequate amounts of water, about 8 to 10 glasses every day.
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