Some important Dietary tips for Constipation can greatly help control the problem and get relief.
- Increase Fiber intake: The general principles are to include more fiber (30g/day) like whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and less processed and refined food. A balanced mix of insoluble fibers (whole grains, wheat bran, brown rice, prunes, figs) and soluble fibers (oat bran, beans, lentils, peas, and flaxseeds, vegetables and fruit pulps) should be incorporated in the diet. Vegetables and fruits are good sources of both insoluble and soluble fibers.
- Other useful foods – Yogurt is very beneficial for constipation as well as to maintain gut bacteria (probiotics). Olive oil has a mild laxative effect so is a good option to use for cooking for constipated people.
- Increase Water Intake: At least 1.5 to 2 liters/day of water is the recommended norm (this does not include beverages/other drinks). Beverages/alcohol/aerated and carbonated drinks – these should be kept to a minimum).
- Control Beverages and Drinks: Alcoholic, sugary, aerated and carbonated drinks should be avoided/restricted as they increase the tendency to constipation. A morning warm/hot milk, coffee or tea works well to stimulate bowel movement, but it is advisable to restrict them later in the day or evening as they are likely to constipate the next day. Fruit juices work well for people with a tendency to constipation.
- Avoid Constipating food items – These include meats, cheese, butter, fried foods, frozen foods, ice creams, processed grains and foods, high salt foods, and sweetened sugary food items (cookies, cakes, pastries etc). Unripe bananas tend to constipate so go for ripe bananas which has a good amount of soluble fibers.
Include half-hour of exercise (5 days/week) in your lifestyle – swimming, brisk walking, cycling, jogging, yoga, or aerobics. For the elderly, regular walking indoor/outdoor for half-hour in the morning and evening is advisable. If sitting for prolonged periods of time, take a short walk and do some stretching every 2 hours. Squatting exercises help to build abdominal muscle strength and aid in managing constipation. Physical activity is an important component to make the dietary tips for constipation effective.
Use laxative medicines only in accordance with medically recommended dose and duration. Irregular, inappropriate or overuse of laxatives can actually worsen the symptoms or condition in many people.
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