What to Eat When Constipated: Diet Plan and Recommendations
General Nutrition • • minute to read • By INFS, INFS Faculty
Constipation can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but there are several things you can do to help prevent and manage it. One of the most important factors in preventing constipation is your diet. By eating the right foods and staying hydrated, you can promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is a condition characterised by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. It can cause discomfort, bloating, and abdominal pain. While there are several factors that can contribute to constipation, including stress and medication side effects, diet plays a significant role in preventing and managing this condition.
Importance of Fibre for Constipation
What Is Fibre?
Fibre is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. There are two main types of fibre: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.
Types of Fibre
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This type of fibre helps to slow down digestion, which can promote feelings of fullness and reduce the risk of overeating. Soluble fibre can also help to lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and helps to add bulk to stool. This type of fibre can help to prevent constipation by promoting regular bowel movements and reducing the risk of hard, dry stools.
Why Is Fibre Important?
Fibre is important for constipation because it helps to add bulk to stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract. When there is not enough fibre in the diet, stools can become hard and dry, which can lead to constipation.
Some good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It’s important to gradually increase your fibre intake to prevent digestive discomfort, and to drink plenty of water throughout the day to help move fibre through the digestive tract.
If you’re struggling with constipation, increasing your fibre intake can be a simple and effective way to promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Importance of a Balanced Diet
A diet that is high in fibre and water can promote healthy digestion and help prevent constipation. Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body, but instead passes through the digestive system, promoting the formation of soft, bulky stools. Examples of high-fibre foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. To increase your fibre intake, try incorporating these foods into your diet in creative ways.
Foods to Avoid
While there are many foods that can promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements, some foods can make constipation worse. Processed foods, red meat, and dairy products are all common culprits. Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods that are high in fibre and nutrients.
In addition to eating a balanced diet, staying active and reducing stress can also promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation. Exercise helps to stimulate the digestive system and keep things moving, while stress can contribute to digestive issues like constipation. Try incorporating low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, or cycling into your routine, and practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation or deep breathing.
Constipation Diet Plan
If you’re struggling with constipation and wondering what to eat when you are constipated,, it can be helpful to make some changes to your diet. Here’s an example of a meal plan that incorporates high-fibre, hydrating foods to promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Sample Diet Chart for Constipation Relief
- Warm water (optional: a squeeze of lemon juice)
- 1 bowl of oatmeal with sliced banana and a few walnuts
- 1 cup of green tea
- 1 cup of buttermilk (chaas) with roasted cumin seeds
- 1 bowl of mixed vegetable salad with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice
- 2 rotis made of whole wheat flour
- 1 bowl of dal (lentils)
- 1 cup of steamed brown rice
- 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt (curd)
- 1 cup of fresh papaya with a sprinkle of chaat masala
- 1 bowl of mixed vegetable soup
- 2 rotis made of whole wheat flour
- 1 bowl of palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese curry)
- 1 cup of steamed brown rice
- 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt (curd)
- 1 cup of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric and honey
It’s important to note that this diet chart is just a suggestion, and may need to be modified to meet your individual dietary needs and preferences. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if you have any concerns about your diet or are experiencing persistent constipation. Additionally, it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day and engage in regular physical activity to help promote healthy digestion and bowel movements.
Supplemental Strategies for Constipation
If you’re still struggling with constipation, there are some supplemental strategies that can help.
What is Psyllium Husk? How does one take it?
Psyllium husk is a natural fibre supplement that can help promote healthy bowel movements and relieve constipation. It comes from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant, and is available in powder, capsule, or tablet form.
To take psyllium husk, you can mix a small amount (usually around 1 teaspoon) with water, juice, or another liquid. It’s important to drink plenty of water when taking psyllium husk, as it absorbs water and can cause choking or blockages if not consumed with enough fluids. Start with a small dose and gradually increase as needed, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and usage.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics and Prebiotics Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are types of fibre that help feed the good bacteria in your gut. Yogurt and other fermented foods are good sources of probiotics, while bananas, onions, and garlic are high in prebiotics. Elaborate this section
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial for your gut health. They can be found naturally in some foods or can be taken as supplements. Probiotics work by colonising your gut with beneficial bacteria, which can help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system.
Some common sources of probiotics include yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh. When choosing these foods, it’s important to look for products that contain live, active cultures of beneficial bacteria.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are types of fibre that act as food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. These fibres cannot be digested by the body, but instead pass through the digestive system and provide nourishment for the good bacteria.
Some common sources of prebiotics include bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes. These foods are high in a type of fibre called inulin, which acts as a prebiotic and can help promote healthy gut bacteria.
It’s important to note that while probiotics and prebiotics can be beneficial for gut health and digestion, they may not be effective for everyone. It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or making significant changes to your diet.
Importance of Hydration for Constipation
Hydration is another important factor in preventing and managing constipation. When you are dehydrated, your body will absorb more water from the colon, which can lead to hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. It helps to soften stool and promote regularity by keeping the digestive system running smoothly.
The amount of water you need to drink each day can vary depending on factors like age, gender, and activity level, but a good general guideline is to aim for at least 2-3 litres of water per day.
In addition to water, you can also hydrate with other fluids like herbal tea, coconut water, and fresh juices. Be mindful of sugary drinks and caffeine, which can have a dehydrating effect on the body and exacerbate constipation.
If you’re struggling with constipation, make sure you’re drinking enough water and other fluids throughout the day to keep your digestive system hydrated and functioning properly. This, combined with a diet high in fibre, can help to promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Can eating too much protein cause constipation?
Yes, consuming too much protein and not enough fibre can contribute to constipation.
Can certain medications cause constipation?
Yes, medications like opioids, certain antidepressants, and some blood pressure medications can cause constipation as a side effect.
Is it possible to get enough fibre from supplements alone?
While fibre supplements like psyllium husk can be helpful in managing constipation, it’s generally recommended to get fibre from whole foods whenever possible.
Can drinking too much coffee cause constipation?
While coffee can have a mild laxative effect for some people, drinking too much caffeine can dehydrate the body and contribute to constipation.
Are there any foods that can make constipation worse?
Yes, processed and fried foods, dairy products, and foods high in fat or sugar can all contribute to constipation.
How long should it take for fibre to relieve constipation?
It can take a few days for increased fibre intake to have an effect on bowel movements. It’s important to gradually increase fibre intake and stay hydrated to avoid digestive discomfort.
Can exercise help with constipation?
Yes, regular exercise can help promote healthy digestion and bowel movements.
Is it normal to experience occasional constipation?
Yes, occasional constipation is common and usually not a cause for concern. However, if you experience persistent constipation or other digestive symptoms, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying health issues.
The plan that has transformed 300,000+ lives and counting!
- Customized diet & workout plans
- Access to a full suite of smart tracking tools
- Join the world’s largest online fitness community
- Customer Satisfaction score of 95.5%
- Coaching in your local language for clear guidance
Get results or get your money back!