There are a lot of digestive issues that often bothers us, and can affect our daily lives. Constipation is one of them. This is a digestive issue that can be triggered by a number of factors, including dietary habits. We should be aware that the eating habits that may contribute to constipation are essential for promoting a healthy digestive system. Here, we explore some common culprits that could be behind this discomforting issue.
If you Are Low On Fibre Intake
“A diet which is low in fibre is a major contributor to constipation. Fibre adds bulk to stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract,” says Dr Ganesh Chaudhary, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), PHC, Darbhanga, Bihar.
“When your diet lacks sufficient fibre from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it can lead to sluggish bowel movements,” he added.
‘Proper hydration is important for maintaining regular bowel movements. When the body is dehydrated, the colon absorbs more water from the stool, making it harder and more difficult to pass,” Dr Ganesh said.
According to the European Journal of Nutrition, mineral water is high in magnesium and sodium has been shown to enhance the frequency and consistency of bowel movements in people suffering from constipation. Thus, insufficient water intake can contribute to constipation, so make sure to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
Excessive Dairy Consumption
There is an analysis of studies conducted over a 26-year period that discovered that some children with persistent constipation showed benefits when they stopped ingesting cow’s milk.
For some people, consuming too much dairy, especially if they are lactose intolerant, can lead to constipation. Dairy products like cheese and milk can be binding and slow down the digestive process in susceptible people.
Insufficient Physical Activity Can Also Trigger Constipation
A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can contribute to constipation. Exercise helps stimulate the muscles in the digestive tract, promoting regular bowel movements. Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Delaying Bathroom Breaks
Ignoring the body’s natural urge to pass stool and delaying bathroom breaks might lead to constipation. When you have the desire to go, you must act quickly to avoid the reabsorption of water from the stool, which can make it tougher and more difficult to pass.
Highly Processed Foods
A diet rich in processed foods, such as fast food, sugary snacks, and refined grains, may lack the necessary nutrients and fibre to support regular bowel movements. These foods often contain little to no fibre and can contribute to constipation when consumed in excess.
Overconsumption of Red Meat
Meat, particularly if consumed in large quantities, may slow down the digestive process. It contains less fibre compared to plant-based foods and can contribute to constipation when not balanced with a variety of fibre-rich sources.
Excessive Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
A moderate amount of caffeine can have a mild laxative effect, excessive consumption can lead to dehydration, which, in turn, contributes to constipation. Similarly, alcohol can have a dehydrating effect on the body, potentially impacting regular bowel movements.
Ignoring Dietary Preferences and Allergies
People with specific dietary preferences or allergies may inadvertently neglect crucial nutrients, leading to constipation. For instance, those following restrictive diets without adequate substitutes may lack essential fibre, contributing to digestive issues.
Ignoring the Importance of Regular Meals
Skipping meals or having irregular eating patterns might disturb the digestive system’s natural cycle. Regular meals promote constant bowel movements, whereas inconsistent eating habits might lead to constipation.
Stress and Anxiety
Emotional factors, such as stress and anxiety, can impact the digestive system. Chronic stress may lead to changes in bowel habits, including constipation. Adopting stress-reducing practices like mindfulness and relaxation techniques can positively influence digestive health.
Ignoring the Need for Healthy Fats
While excessive consumption of bad fats can lead to constipation, disregarding the requirement for beneficial fats can also play a role. Including omega-3 fatty acid sources, such as avocados and flaxseeds, in your diet can help maintain a healthy digestive system.
Constipation is generally caused by a mix of causes, and taking a comprehensive approach to lifestyle and dietary habits can help avoid and manage it. Addressing these eating patterns and making positive changes will help you maintain a healthy and regular digestive system. If constipation persists or becomes a chronic problem, speak with a healthcare expert for specific advice and help.