What Causes Constipation And Foods To Avoid When Constipated
Feb 07, 2023
Everyone hates the “c-word”. Utter it in any social circle and it's guaranteed to result in raised eyebrows or faces dipped with embarrassment.
But, constipation affects 20% of the population, so it’s time that we start taking it seriously and get comfortable talking about it. Constipation can be very uncomfortable and if left untreated, can cause health problems.
People experience constipation for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to speak to your doctor if you are frequently constipated. This article aims to elucidate some of the reasons that people become constipated and to give some thoughtful tips on how to combat it naturally.
If you're already taking JUVIA, you should find that you don't need to restrict your diet as your microbiome rebalances.
Please note this is not medical advice and you should not substitute speaking with your doctor. Having said that, all of the information provided here is based on natural solutions to an uncomfortable problem.
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common digestive disorder characterised by the infrequent or difficult passage of stools. In other words, it’s when you find it difficult to poo.
It is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal complaints. Constipation occurs when stool builds up in the colon and rectum due to slow movement or congestion.
Normally, if you are constipated your stools become dry and hard, which makes it difficult to pass. Constipation sometimes causes other symptoms like feeling bloated or full, abdominal pain like stomach cramps, and straining during bowel movements.
What causes constipation?
There are many causes of constipation, but assuming it is not because of an underlying medical condition or caused by medication, here are some natural causes of constipation that may be reversed with simple lifestyle changes.
Inadequate fibre intake
Fibre plays an important role in constipation as it promotes efficient digestion. Eating foods high in fibre helps your digestive system to operate regularly by adding bulk to stools and softening them for easy passage through the intestines. You can think of dietary fibre as a heavy-duty broom that sweeps through your passage system and clears everything out.
Foods that are rich in fibre include fruits (such as apples, prunes, and pears), vegetables (like broccoli and Brussels sprouts), whole grains (oats, quinoa and barley), legumes (such as beans, chickpeas and lentils), nuts, and seeds. Much of your dietary fibre can be found in the skins of produce like apples and potatoes, so sometimes it is best to leave them on.
Insufficient water intake
We all know that we should drink more water for good health, but few people consider the implications of drinking inadequate amounts of water on their digestive system. Water helps break down food particles as they move through the digestive tract to help soften stools so they can pass more easily.
Your intestines absorb water during digestion to facilitate the enzymes that break down your food, but it also uses water to move the digested food through to your colon, ready to be passed. Think of it as a lubricant. The less water there is, the dryer and more uncomfortable it is to pass. Diarrhoea, on the other hand, is the complete opposite - it’s when too much water is absorbed causing you to pass too easily. Like anything, there is an optimum amount.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle
If you are not moving enough, this too can cause constipation. That’s because physical activity stimulates gastrointestinal movements that help to move waste products through the body more efficiently.
Even simple activities that do not place much of an energy demand, like walking or yoga, can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to digest its food. More rigorous activity is also highly beneficial because it speeds up your body’s metabolism, and also leads to more water intake following exercise, which as you now know, enhances digestion and your body’s ability to pass its stools comfortably.
Foods that promote constipation
Again, assuming that there isn’t an underlying medical condition, some foods are more prone to cause or support constipated states than others. It is important to monitor your food intake to see if you are being affected by your food choices.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some food items that are generally accepted to promote constipation.
- Dairy products like milk and cheese
- Fast food, fried food, and ready-made meals
- Tender meat
- White bread or gluten
- For some people, coffee
In essence, foods that are high in protein, fat or sugar, but low in fibre have a tendency to cause roadblocks in your digestive system. This doesn’t mean that you need to give them up or drastically reduce them. Instead, increase your fibre and water intake and you will be fine. As always, balance is key.
Coffee is an interesting one because it does promote bowel movements in the short term, but it also causes over-absorption of water which can lead to constipation later. Alcohol is very much the same because it is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to urinate and you lose water in the process.
Foods that aid digestion includes fruit and dried fruit (particularly pears and prunes), lagunes, chia seeds, whole grains, chickpeas and lentils. If you include a side of vegetables with every meal, this will go a long way to improve your bowel movements.
If you want to have a life free of dietary restrictions, give JUVIA Digestive Balance Formula a try. It rebalances your gut microbiome, allowing you to eat foods that cause issues in your gut, thus giving you more freedom to live your life.
What happens if I leave constipation untreated?
When constipation is persistent it may lead to haemorrhoids and anal fissures, as well as more serious health problems such as diverticulitis and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C).
If you are experiencing constipation frequently, it is important to speak to your doctor. Laxatives can be bought over the counter, but this ought to be used only in urgency to pass your stools when necessary, not as a treatment for constipation. In other words, it is ok to use a laxative to get rid of waste in your body in the short term, but you shouldn’t rely on them frequently.
Constipation is an uncomfortable digestive complaint and it can be a real problem if you experience this frequently. For most people, it is easily resolved with a few dietary changes, but in the event that it is not, it is important that you seek professional medical support. We hope this article proves helpful for you and you never have to use the c-word again.
Happy pooping, everyone.