Constipation is a very common problem today , so the use of laxatives and visits to the dietitian become more and more frequent. But there is something you can do to alleviate it: a better diet .
What we eat affects, for better or worse, our bowel habits. For this reason, below we will describe the foods that you should keep in mind in your diet to combat constipation .
What is constipation?
Constipation is a pathology of intestinal transit , characterized by problems when going to the bathroom (hard stools, changes in evacuation habits, pain and irritation of the rectum). It is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases, with a worldwide prevalence of up to 24% . (1)
You should know: Its causes are multifactorial : low fiber nutrition , genetic predisposition, sex (women are more prone), stress, etc. Therefore, changes in your life such as a better diet, more exercise and sufficient hydration are essential.
What to eat in case of constipation?
A diet for chronic constipation is the fundamental treatment to improve your quality of life. Next, we bring you the best foods to combat constipation:
Prunes are fruits known to be laxatives . In fact, 100 grams of plums contain 1.4 grams of insoluble fiber, 9.9 g of sugars, and 9.5 mg of vitamin C. You can wash them, cut them into pieces and eat them directly or prepare smoothies with other fruits.
Important: As its name implies, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in gastrointestinal fluids . Through osmosis it draws water into the feces, decreasing its hardness.
To highlight: There are papaya-based preparations, such as Caricol® . In this sense, a study published in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters showed that its intake is favorable for patients with IBS . (two)
It should be noted that to consume the papaya , it is enough to cut the outer rind and chop it into slices or small cubes . You can also prepare it in fruit salads with melon , for example. Alternatively, prepare juices.
You can add fiber to your diet thanks to it, since oats are both a laxative and a prebiotic. Oat flakes increase the volume of stool, increase evacuation periods and are a food for the colonic microbiota .
In this sense, a healthy intestinal microbiota favors gastrointestinal well-being. Other whole grains are also important for adults, in fact you can add oats with other seeds and create delicious combinations.
Tip: Oats are extremely versatile. You can prepare homemade granola with it, prepare pancakes with oats, cook it with non-dairy milk, and have delicious and nutritious mixes.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil is not absorbed for the most part by the intestine, so it softens the fecal content . In addition, its fat content is long-chain fatty acids, which have been proven to increase intestinal transit , thanks to their interactions with intestinal bacteria. (3)
Sauerkraut is a dish that consists of fermenting vegetables, such as cabbage . During the fermentation period, lactic acid-producing bacteria (the ones we need in our intestines) grow by acidifying the medium.
In this way, sauerkraut acts as a probiotic , restoring the normality of the intestinal microbiota, which, in many cases, presents alterations. In addition, it is rich in vitamin C, K , calcium and magnesium .
Note: Other fermented foods, such as kefir , produce similar effects.
Its digestive enzymes , such as bromelain, provide benefits to intestinal health. This enzyme favors the digestion of food , allowing greater absorption and degradation of proteins, reducing constipation, meteorism and excess gas.
Tip: You can prepare a delicious fruit salad , where you can include pineapple or another previously mentioned nutritious fruit.
Therefore, by adding it to your diet, you add pectin, soluble and non-fermentable fiber . In fact, previous studies have corroborated its effect by increasing intestinal transit and relieving associated symptoms. (4)
To highlight: We recommend trying to eat it in the most natural way possible , avoiding pasteurized juices, since they are generally overloaded with sugar .
A single kiwi contains 2.3 g of fiber . Of this, one third is soluble fiber (pectin) and insoluble and non-fermentable fiber, such as cellulose and hemicellulose.
Diets rich in flaxseed (or other grains) are abundant in fiber, with just 28 g containing 9.8 g of fiber , most of which is insoluble. At the intestinal level, it forms a gelatinous mass which. It attracts more water and increases the volume of your evacuations , as well as the number of times with which we evacuate.
Tip: Flaxseed can be prepared in smoothies , as a topping in mixtures of other cereals, in pancakes, muffins or other desserts, to add a natural touch.
Note: In addition to helping constipation, nuts are perfect for your cardiovascular and metabolic health, as they help lower LDL cholesterol levels .
- Constipation is a functional and/or structural alteration of the intestinal transit of people.
- The causes of constipation are multiple and may not be specific to something.
- Among the best foods for constipation, we have kiwi, pineapple, papaya, oats , flaxseed, and plums.
- The use of natural probiotics , such as sauerkraut are recommended. Like whole grains, seeds and nuts, such as flaxseed and walnuts.
- Among other recommendations, we have to exercise more, consume more liquids , add these foods to your diet and cut harmful habits (alcohol and tobacco).