General Practice 2022

Foods for constipation: what to eat and what to avoid

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Foods for constipation: what to eat and what to avoid
Foods for constipation: what to eat and what to avoid

Foods that help fight constipation are those rich in fiber, such as whole grains, unpeeled fruits and raw vegetables. In addition to fiber, water is also important in the treatment of constipation because it helps in the formation of stool and facilitates the passage of stool along the intestine.

Constipation is usually caused by excessive consumption of sugars, fats and processed foods, but it can also be a consequence of lack of physical activity and prolonged use of medications such as laxatives and antidepressants.

Foods that fight constipation

The main foods that help fight constipation are:

  • Vegetables, especially raw, leafy vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, or kale;
  • Fruits with peel, as the peel is rich in fiber;
  • Whole grains such as wheat, oats and rice;
  • Beans black, white, brown, lentils and chickpeas;
  • Wheat germ and bran, oat bran;
  • Dried fruits,such as raisins;
  • Seeds such as flaxseed, chia, pumpkin and sesame;
  • Probiotics, such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut, for example, as they help regulate the intestinal microbiota.

Raw and whole foods have more fiber than cooked and refined foods and, therefore, improve intestinal transit. In addition, drinking plenty of water also helps in combating constipation, because water hydrates the fibers, making the passage of stool through the intestine easier.

See with nutritionist Tatiana Zanin some fiber-rich fruit options that fight constipation:

Foods to avoid

Foods that cause constipation and which should be avoided are:

  • Foods high in sugar such as soft drinks, cakes, sweets, filled cookies and chocolates;
  • Foods high in fat, such as fried foods, breaded and frozen ready meals;
  • Fast food and frozen foods, such as lasagna or pizza;
  • Milk and whole milk derivatives, as they are rich in fat;
  • Processed meats such as sausage, bacon, sausage and ham.

Some fruits, such as green bananas and guava, for example, can worsen constipation. In addition, lack of physical activity and frequent use of laxative, antidepressant or heartburn medications can also contribute to constipation.

How much water and fiber should you consume

Fibers are substances of plant origin that are not digested by the enzymes of the gastrointestinal tract, which causes an increase in the amount of liquid in the colon feces, intestinal microbiota, weight and frequency with which stool passes through the colon. The recommended amount of fiber for adults should be between 25 to 38 grams per day and 19 to 25 grams for children.

Water and liquids are responsible for hydrating the fibers from food in the intestine, softening the feces and facilitating their elimination. In addition, it also moisturizes the entire intestinal tract, making stools pass through more easily until they are expelled.

In general, it is recommended to consume 2 liters of water per day, however the ideal amount of water varies according to the person's weight, being 35 ml/kg/day. Thus, a person weighing 70 kg should consume 35 ml/kg x 70 kg=2450 ml of water per day.

Menu option for constipation

The following table shows an example of a 3-day menu to fight constipation:

Meal Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Breakfast 1 cup of yogurt with fruit pieces + 1 tablespoon of oatmeal + 1 tablespoon of chia + 2 prunes 1 glass of orange juice with 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds + 2 scrambled eggs with 2 wholegrain toast 1 papaya with 1 tablespoon chia + 1 whole wheat tortilla with white cheese
Morning snack 2 prunes + 10 cashews 2 slices of papaya 1 banana
Lunch/Dinner 90 grams of grilled salmon + asparagus with olive oil + 1 tablespoon of brown rice + 1 tangerine Wholegrain noodles with ground beef and natural tomato sauce + green salad with olive oil + 1/2 glass of strawberry 90 grams of grilled chicken + 4 tablespoons of quinoa + broccoli and carrot salad + 1 orange
Afternoon snack 1 glass of orange juice with papaya with 1 tablespoon of chia + 2 wholemeal toast with 1 scrambled egg 1 plain yogurt with chopped fruit + 1 handful of grapes 1 slice of wholemeal bread with 1 slice of cheese

The amounts indicated on the menu vary according to age, gender and physical activity, in addition to whether the person has any associated disease or not.Therefore, it is best to seek guidance from a nutritionist so that a complete evaluation is carried out and a nutritional plan is prepared according to your needs.

By maintaining a balanced diet and adequate water consumption, it is normal for the intestine to start working well after 7 to 10 days of diet. In addition, it is important to remember that the practice of frequent physical activity also helps to regulate intestinal transit.

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