Many common foods consumed by Americans may lead to constipation. The main key in foods that can cause constipation is lack of fiber. Fiber diet is very important in helping avoid it. The American Dietetic Association recommends people to consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day from both insoluble and soluble fiber. But the majority of Americans get just half of that.
If you suffer from constipation, replace the following foods with choices high in fiber to find relief.
1. Dairy Products
Foods such as ice cream, cheese, and other dairy products are known to be “binding” which can lead to constipation. This reputation is well deserved due to low-fiber and high-fat content of most of these products. Dairy products based on milk may lead to constipation in many individuals, especially toddlers. To avoid this, instead try fruit sherbets.
2. Red Meat
By itself, red meat doesn’t cause constipation. The issue lies when red meat replaces fiber-rich foods on our menu when we regularly consume it. Consuming red meat a few times per week can create a backed-up feeling. Rather than adding additional foods that cause constipation, ensure you eat your steaks with plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as a large salad or baked potato (with the skin).
Potato chips, which are a popular snack option, make the list of foods to avoid largely because they commonly substitute a side dish or snack that is richer in fiber. But on top of this, there is another issue with them. Potato chips are high-fat foods which induce a delayed digestion, which creates the feeling of being, that mirrors constipation. For better constipation relief, try reduced-fat snacks which contain grains to raise your fiber intake.
4. Frozen Dinners
Today, people have much busier schedules than those of older generations. This forces many to turn to frozen dinners for their convenience. But they don’t have nearly the amount of nutritional value when compared to a home-cooked meal.
It’s best to avoid them since they are almost always low in fiber and commonly high in fat. Another drawback to them is their high levels of sodium. This holds up our water to dilute the salt, preventing it from pushing waste through our body.
Cookies and other sources of refined carbohydrates such as cakes, pastries, and many crackers have three strikes going for them with talking about constipation. They are high in fat, low in fiber, and low in fluid. It’s best to replace these foods that cause constipation for higher-fiber snack choices or desserts like fresh fruits, which are very good at providing constipation relief.
The interesting thing about bananas is that they can be both a cause of constipation or provide relief, depending on their level of ripeness. Green, unripe bananas can lead to constipation. However, ripe bananas are a good source of soluble fiber, which can aid in pushing waste through the bowels. So for additional constipation relief, make sure you buy bananas that are fully ripe.
7. Fried Foods
Greasy, fried foods like doughnuts, french fries, onion rings, and even heavily breaded good foods such as fish, slow down movements in your digestive tract. They can bind you up and lead to constipation. Similar to potato chips, deep-fried foods are greasy and take longer to digest. Instead, use cooking methods like broiling or steaming for additional constipation relief.
Constipation can be caused by many factors, but the most common one is simply poor eating habits. Eating a high-fiber diet is a good way to provide relief. If after making changes to your diet, your constipation is still not going away, you may have a form of chronic constipation. This could be caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If your constipation is accompanied by abdominal pain, it’s advised to talk to your doctor about it.