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Foods That Cause Constipation

Foods That Cause Constipation

In most cases, the main cause behind constipation is associated with a person's diet and eating habits. In this article, we discuss some common food types commonly known for triggering constipation.
Janani Rajagopal
Last Updated: Apr 25, 2018
A common, painful, and frustrating condition of the digestive system is constipation. It affects everyone at some point of time. Women, and the elderly are known to experience this condition more than others. Generally, anyone who does not have a bowel movement for more than three days, is said to be suffering from this condition. Although constipation could be caused by many underlying medical conditions, in most cases, it is because of a person's diet. Here we enlist food types which commonly cause constipation in most people.
Keep Away From ...
Dairy Products
Perhaps, the most common culprits behind constipation are dairy products. As such foods are high in fat and low in fiber, they are not digested easily and move slowly through the gastrointestinal tract. This interferes with the normal functioning of the digestive system, and one of the repercussions is constipation. Common examples of dairy foods you must avoid to prevent constipation include:
» Whole milk
» Cheese
» Butter
» Ice cream
Sweet Stuffs
Our taste buds sure love sugary foods, but the digestive system may feel otherwise. Again, such food items score low in fiber and fluid content, but high in fat. This makes such foods a complete no-no for people who are prone to constipation. Common examples include:
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Pastries
  • Crackers
  • Candy
  • Sugary soft drinks
Fast Food
Fast foods or processed foods are not only infamous for causing constipation in people, but they are also commonly associated with cardiovascular diseases. When foods undergo processing, they lose their natural fiber. So if you are someone who has frequent constipation problems, then you may have to exclude such foods from your diet or limit their intake. Common examples include:
  • Pizzas
  • Pasta
  • Fries
  • Hamburgers
  • Frozen dinners
  • Corn chips
Meat Products
Meat products are the highest sources of protein, but they have their own share of disadvantages too. The digestive system does not favor animal protein as readily as protein that is obtained from plants. So if consumed regularly, meat products, especially red meat may contribute to constipation. However, it should be noted that animal protein in itself does not cause constipation. But if it replaces most fiber-rich foods in your diet, it may slow down your digestion leading to constipation. So what most experts suggest is, meat products must be combined with foods such as vegetables and whole grains that provide ample fiber.
A Pointer
What we can infer from the above discussion is that absence of dietary fiber in the diet is a major cause of problems like constipation. But there is a catch here. If you intake fiber in excess, then you may end up having the same problem. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), if your daily calorie intake is 2000, then it is recommended that you include 28 grams of dietary fiber in your diet. And for 1000 calories, 14 grams of dietary fiber must be consumed each day. When it comes to fiber, striking a balance in the intake is important.
A Little about Constipation
Symptoms
  • Fewer bowel movements, less than three times a week
  • Strained bowel movements
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation
How to Avoid Constipation
» Include high fiber food in your diet. Some good examples are:
  • Prunes
  • Pears
  • Flaxseeds
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Dry fruits
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Peaches
  • Papaya
  • Whole grains
  • Cereal
  • Plums
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Figs
» You must diligently drink plenty of water as it has a cleansing effect. Doctors generally recommend drinking about 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
» A sedentary lifestyle is the culprit behind most illnesses, constipation being one of them. By abstaining from any form of exercise or physical activity, lethargy sets in. As you gradually indulge in exercises like walking, swimming or yoga, you strengthen your muscles. This in turn helps improve digestion.
To sum up, including sufficient amount of fiber in the diet, leading an active life, and drinking plenty of fluids are of help in preventing and treating constipation. In some cases, you may also go for fiber supplements but that, after consulting your health care provider.