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It’s no secret that a proper diet is key to leading a healthy life. Good gut health is part of that. Most people know that a diet rich in fiber helps treat constipation (between 15 and 20 grams per day is recommended) but there are other steps we can take and other foods (like oatmeal and chia seeds) that we can include in our diet to help us even more. Let’s take a look!
The importance of drinking water: I know that this seems obvious and you’ve definitely heard this before but, are you giving it the importance it deserves? Really ask yourself, and be honest- because without this step, doing the others is useless. Water helps to move the stool through the intestine, and if we are dehydrated, the body takes the water from the stool, leaving it dry and making it difficult to pass through our body. Ideally, we should drink between 3 and 5 glasses of water a day to prevent us from backing up.
“It’s pointless to follow any of the other steps if you don’t drink enough water”
Nuts: rich in fiber, and delicious. Almonds particularly stand out as they have 3.4 grams of fiber per 25 grams of nuts. You could eat a handful of almonds a day or better yet take a spoonful of Almond spread and drizzle it over some of your favorite dishes. I put mine on salad! Yes, that’s right salad. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it!
Oatmeal- a superfood for fighting constipation
Test it out for yourself- if you’ve been having trouble going to the bathroom, eat oatmeal every day for a week at breakfast. Just by doing this, you will notice an improvement. Oatmeal is a cereal rich in soluble fiber that besides having a laxative effect, also helps lower cholesterol levels.
Still not sure how to make this dish or how to include it more in your meals? I recommend buying some Oatmeal powder in either (Vanilla or Chocolate) and experimenting with some recipes that you can find here in this post.
An apple between meals
Raw and with the skin, apples are one of the best ways to combat constipation. They also help clean our teeth and tongue.
Other fruits that also help move our digestive system along are: pineapple, plums, prunes, raisins, and peaches.
“I recommend eating fruit between meals or at least one hour after a meal”
Bananas- but not just any banana
Bananas have always been touted as good for the opposite problem- diarrhea but, there are a lot of types to differentiate. As we saw in this post, the benefits and nutritional properties of bananas vary greatly depending on their ripeness.
When a plantain is green it causes constipation. But when a plantain is ripe- when the skin is yellow or semi-bruised it becomes a mild laxative.
Probiotics: sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, tamari sauce, or miso are very beneficial for microbiota health.
Flax seeds, but are you eating them correctly: there are people who have been consuming flax seeds wrong for years. Because of their size and slippery texture, they are difficult to chew, so the best way to get all their nutritional properties is to grind them. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to your yogurt, vegetable creams, sauces, and sweet or savory bowls every day. And, if you want to know more about seeds, do not miss this special post.
Cucumber- the skin has the power here. It hydrates, fights stress, is good for the skin, and reduces cholesterol… but it also helps a lot in a constipation-free diet. For both its high water and fiber content. It’s a superfood that helps stimulate bowel movement (motility, peristalsis, cleansing).
Magnesium: an interesting mineral that we overlook, but studies show that it aids in fighting constipation. Foods such as avocado, salmon, almonds, and green leafy vegetables have the ability to increase water content in the intestines, and therefore promote movement and soften the stool.
What you should eat for dinner, to guarantee a productive morning
Foods rich in fat are great if you have constipation problems. Why? Because fat lubricates stool and facilitates its expulsion from the body. Don’t choose just any fat though, the best for this time of the day are sardines, salmon, and avocado.
The perfect dessert is pudding. Soaked chia seeds, swell and also create a kind of gel around them called “mucilage” which, once reaching the intestine, has a dragging effect that helps to expel unwanted waste. This Chia seed pudding is the perfect dessert to finish off an amazing dinner and guarantee an “active” morning.
Ghee anti-constipation tip: have one or two teaspoons of ghee (clarified butter) just before going to bed. You can eat it on its own or in a cup of warm milk. Its fatty quality helps moisturize the bowel and has a lubricating effect that eases going to the bathroom the next morning.
Foods to avoid
- Salads: in this case cold salads- astringent and raw foods, aggravate constipation due to their dry and light nature. If you usually suffer from constipation, I recommend having roasted or warm vegetables instead.
- Cold drinks: lower the body’s digestional power. Better to opt for hot or warm drinks.
- Legumes: because of their high carbohydrate content, they can be difficult to digest for many people. In general, they cause gas, reflux, and heartburn…
- White sugar and sweeteners: particularly for children. We learn more and more about their constant negative effects.
- Processed foods: are one of the worst things we can eat. They’ve been proven to alter the microbiota and increase the growth of bacteria that can be harmful to our health plus cause gas and slow digestion.
- White flour
- Poor quality oils
- Frozen pizza
Coffee isn’t as good as you think it is!
Drinking coffee with milk is a widely used trick in order to go to the bathroom, however, even if it works at first, it’s not the best solution. The reason for this is that it irritates the intestinal walls, overloads the liver… and in the long run, can be counterproductive.