Constipation is one of the most common health issues which several individuals experience some or other time. It makes you suffer from infrequent or hard stools which may often be accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating, an unsatisfactory feeling after passing stools, and other such discomforts. There are several causes of constipation such as a result of dehydration, lack of dietary fiber, low physical activity, or as a side-effect of certain medications. And, chronic constipation may often lead to piles or anal fissures.
Constipation is something that everyone experiences once in a while. However, by avoiding the intake of certain foods, you can prevent or treat constipation effectively. Here is a list of foods that cause constipation or can lead to cause constipation. So, you need to avoid the intake of these foods to promote better digestion.
Here are 10 Foods To Avoid Constipation:
1. Unripe Bananas:
While ripe bananas are known to relieve constipation, unripe bananas can cause constipation as they contain a starch resistant compound which is difficult for your body to digest. It also comprises tannins which reduce the speed at which the food passes through the gut.
Now, here’s a tip on how to differentiate between a banana ready to eat and unripe banana: Ripe bananas are completely yellow in color with signs of brown spotting and they are easy to peel. So, choose to eat ripe bananas and avoid eating unripe bananas.
Caffeine is present in coffee & cold drinks. Caffeine acts as a stimulant which may cause diarrhea, but excess intake of caffeine can cause dehydration which can lead to constipation. So, if constipated or dehydrated, skip the coffee, as it can make the condition worse.
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and plain flour. It may not cause constipation in all, but those with celiac disease who have sensitivity towards gluten or are allergic to it may have a problem by consuming wheat and products made of wheat.
Also, people who have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or have Irritable Bowel Syndrome may suffer constipation after the consumption of gluten.
4. Milk & Dairy Products:
Cheese and milk can cause constipation in certain individuals. The high fat and low fiber content in these products may cause constipation in some people. However, there is no scientific evidence or study to support it. However, some individuals have been observed for being relieved of constipation if they limit the consumption of milk and dairy products. This could also be as a result of the sensitivity to the protein found in the cow’s milk. You don’t need not give up on dairy completely, try yogurt which is a probiotic, as is good for the digestive system and may relieve you of constipation too.
5. Red Meat:
Red meat often takes the place of fiber-rich options when consumed regularly. It is high in protein & fat but low in fiber. Foods with high-fat content take a longer time to digest. Also, it has tough protein fibers which may be difficult for your body to digest. Low fiber too can lead to constipation. So, it is advisable to replace red meat in the diet with protein and fiber-rich alternatives, such as beans, lentils, and peas.
6. Fried Food:
Fried foods comprise high amounts of fats and a lot of salt content. High intake of fat slows down the digestive process, thereby resulting in constipation. When there is too much salt in the food, body sucks up the water from the intestines to help compensate the extra salt in the body. This can reduce the water content in the stools, thereby drying it up and making difficult for it to pass through eventually causing constipation.
7. Fast Food/Processed Food:
Fast and processed foods contain low fiber content and a lot of salt. As explained earlier, low fiber content does not provide the bulk to the food and slows down the process of digestion. And, high salt content in the food makes the stools dry, thereby making it difficult for them to pass through which leads to constipation. So, avoid eating fast food and processed foods.
8. White Bread:
White bread is made-up of plain flour which is formed from the processed wheat. As mentioned above, gluten in some people can lead to constipation. Plain flour is low in fiber and hence can cause constipation. Replace the white bread with whole wheat bread or multigrain bread, which has enough fiber.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol can increase the volume of fluids lost through urine, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can further lead to constipation and in the worst case, it can also cause kidney stone. So, stay away from alcohol intake.
A large amount of fat in the chocolate can slow down the digestion process. Chocolates may more often affect people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So, limit the intake of chocolates.
Besides the list of foods mentioned above, cooking food in aluminium vessels can also lead to constipation. Hence cooking in such vessels should be avoided.
Foods rich in iron, such as spinach, may also worsen constipation. Iron and calcium supplements may often cause hard stools in a few individuals.
Constipation can lead to an unpleasant feeling throughout the day. This condition is relatively common. One can get rid of constipation or smoothen the digestion process by opting for healthier options in the diet and by keeping away above mentioned foods to avoid constipation.
Also Read: Homeopathy For Constipation
You can definitely start by avoiding the foods causing constipation that are mentioned above.
If constipation still persists, one can opt for homeopathy as it offers effective remedies with amazing results which can relieve you of constipation in a short span of time with no side-effects.
Written by Dr. Chetali, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah