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Digestive Health

Constipation – Foods to Help Prevent It

Constipation has several causes but three of the main ones are: lack of fiber, lack of water and side effects from medication.

Constipation has several causes but three of the main ones are: lack of fiber, lack of water and side effects from medication.

One of the key elements in improving constipation is water. Drink at least one liter of water a day as an absolute minimum. More will be required if you are in a heated or air-conditioned building, if you are exercising or if you do a lot of physical labor. It must be water – not coffee or tea or juice.

Eating fresh vegetables helps constipation. Include at least three serving of fresh vegetables or salad greens daily in your diet. Select produce that contains a high percentage of water: lettuce, peppers, radishes, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, corn, cabbage, celery. These foods have a high water to fiber ratio

Vegetables add liquid and fiber to your diet. This improves moisture in your colon. Fruit does the same thing however fruit contains large quantities of fructose. You’ll need to limit your fruit intake to one or two servings a day unless you are very active and can burn off the extra calories.

Not all vegetables are equal when it comes to improving the diet. Root vegetables: beets, parsnips, turnips and potatoes have a low water to fiber ratio. Use them more sparingly.

Unpolished whole grains, the various types of brans and unprocessed millet or oats all assist in adding fiber to your diet. Make sure you really do purchase whole grains. Unpolished rice takes up to forty-five minutes to cook as the tough outer shell – which is the fiber you so dearly need – is what makes the grain take longer to prepare.

Avoid highly refined foods. Whole-grain bread is far superior to snow white bread as the process used to turn out the white loaf removes the fiber completely. A bowl of molasses bran with a little yoghurt and organic milk go a far way to improving the mobility of your colon.

If your chronic medication lists constipation as a side effect you may need more servings of vegetables and water as is suggested above.

To re-cap the points mentioned. Increase the amount of water-laden fresh vegetables. Drink a minimum of one liter of pure water a day. Include whole grains regularly and avoid highly refined foods. Whenever you undertake to alter your eating habits, do so on a gradient. It does take a few days for the digestive system to cope with change.

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