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What Causes Constipation?

Constipation is caused by hard, dry stools that are moving at a slower than normal speed through the large intestine. While most people agree that dietary intake is the most significant contributing factor to constipation, other issues such as being on several medications, consuming too little fluids, and even a lack of physical activity can all contribute to constipation. Learning what foods to eat for constipation can go a long way toward combating this uncomfortable condition.

Choose Foods High in Fiber

For years, fiber has been touted as the best way to cure constipation. Fiber is a very porous nutrient, meaning that is stores a lot of water. This helps to make the stool less hard, and helps relieve constipation. The good news about fiber is that it is found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products–therefore, you will not only be getting constipation relief, but may also be eating a healthier diet in general. Choose fresh fruits with the skin still on (such as apples, berries, peaches, prunes, or apricots) and leafy green vegetables like kale, okra and cabbage. For those who aren’t able to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables, or simply don’t like the taste, don’t fret. You can still obtain a high amount of fiber in your diet. Today, most cereals, breads, and even some pastas are fortified with fiber. In addition, oats, beans, and even barley are all high sources of fiber.

Add Some Lubrication

While we are hearing more and more about the dangers of fats in our diet, it appears that when eaten in moderation, dietary fats may actually be effective in the treatment of constipation. However, it is crucial that you choose the correct type of fat–mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods such as salmon, nuts, and avocado can help to “grease the wheels,” so to speak. In addition to these healthy fats, olive or canola oil can also alleviate constipation, and are much healthier than saturated fats which are typically found in baked goods and fried foods. The next time you cook, try using olive oil in place of traditional vegetable oil–your symptoms of constipation will lessen, and you may even like the taste!

When All Else Fails…

If you are still having problems with constipation, you may want to try some hollistic remedies in addition to your foods to eat for constipation. Many of us know that dandelions can be used to make wine–but did you also know that they may be able to ease your constipation? For centuries, these backyard pests have been touted as a very effective laxative, and can help to increase bile flow to the large intestine, decreasing constipation. Passionflower, another common plant has been found to increase relaxation, thereby relieving muscle tension and preventing constipation. Other herbs and plants such as milk thistle and flax seed may be able to provide some relief. Finally, if you are suffereing from chronic constipation, be sure to increase your fluid intake–this can be extremely effective in the treatment of constipation.


Foods that Cause Constipation: Foods That Help With Constipation