11 Foods That Can Make You Constipated & Mess Up Your Regularity
Feeling backed up is the worst. When you can't go to the bathroom regularly, it can really mess with your mood, body, and performance, and it can make you feel uncomfortable and unlike yourself. Certain foods can make us constipated, so it's important to know which offenders to watch out for and how to make better choices in order to boost regularity and proper digestion, as explained by nutrition experts in interview with Prevention.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on getting enough nutrients in their diets and finding time for exercise to maintain healthy bowel movements and excellent digestion. Having poor digestion can make you feel weighed down, due to bloating, cramps, and insecurities, as I have seen in both my own experiences and in those of the people I work with. Going to the bathroom on a frequent basis is a great way to maintain health and wellbeing. Plus, if you have to go, you should go right away. Holding it in can backfire, as it can lead to getting contipated. If you notice you're unable to go to the bathroom, consider fixing the diet a bit to help remedy the situation. Here are 11 foods that can make you constipated and that should be avoided.
"Sweeteners can cause digestive issues," says Sharon Brown, founder of Bonafide Provisions & Certified GAPS Practitioner, over email with Bustle. "This includes sugar, agave, honey, maple syrup and stevia. If you're experiencing digestive issues, these items will feed the candida, causing your symptoms to worsen," Brown explains. Limit sweeteners, and stick to natural ones, like those found in fruit.
If you notice that it's a struggle to go the bathroom regularly and that you might be suffering from constipation, dairy might be to blame, said Mark Spielmann, RD, nutrition manager at La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago, over interview with Everyday Health. Spielmann said that the full-fat content and lack of fiber found in milk products can cause this problem.
3. Red Meat
Spielmann also recommended limiting red meat, not necessarily due to the meat itself, but rather the large amount of protein of the meal and the lack of fiber that could have been found in other foods. Spielmann suggested limiting portion sizes and adding in fibrous foods, such as a baked potato or a salad to complement the rich source of protein.
4. Unripe Bananas
Over interview with Huffington Post, registered nurse and nutrition expert Abigail Keeso of Toronto-based That Clean Life said that unripe bananas can be an offender for constipation and uncomfortable digestive issues. They have a high content of starch, which can cause you to become backed up and not have enough fiber to get things moving.
5. Fried Foods
Keeso also recommended limiting fried foods, such as French fries and chicken wings, due to their high fat content. Keeso explained that foods high in fats, (poor fats are worse, such as trans fats), are harder to digest and can lead to constipation without adequate fiber to counteract the effects. Besides, these fried foods aren't very healthy, anyway, Keeso noted.
According to a study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, chocolate has been shown to be a trigger for constipation, so it's best to consume dark chocolate in moderation to prevent such tummy troubles and bloating. Chocolate is still allowed. Just being more mindful as to quantity, as well as your current bowel conditions.
Jan Patenaude, a registered dietician who specializes in adverse food/chemical reactions told Medical Daily in an email that bread can seriously back you up due to a lack of fiber and increase in bacteria in the stomach. Such bacteria can mess with digestion, Patenaude explained, and this can happen in all sorts of bread, not just white bread.
8. Potato Chips
Rene Ficek, a registered dietician in Chicago, and lead expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, told Medical Daily in an email that potato chips can cause constipation, as they are high in both fat and sodium, and low in fiber. Without adequate fiber, it's hard to go to the bathroom. Plus, chips can be addicting, and this can lead to overeating, Ficek explained.
As noted by a study published in November 2013 in the Journal of the Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, and again in Livestrong, eggs lack fiber and can lead to constipation due to the high amount of protein without enough fibrous foods to balance it out, especially when paired with a typical breakfast dish, meat, or bread (which makes for a double-or-triple whammy).
10. Processed Foods
Experts at Medline Plus said that eating processed foods, as in foods that are packaged and often found in grocery store, ready-made containers, as opposed to whole foods, such as fresh fruits and produce, can lead to constipation, as a great amount of nutrition and fiber is lost through the processing system. So, sticking with whole foods in their natural states would help prevent constipation.
Candy lacks nutritional value and is high in sugar and fat, which can lead to digestive woes, as explained by experts at WebMD. Thus, due to these higher fat and sugar counts, the body can become inflamed and encounter tummy distress that can hinder regular, functional, bowel movements. Limit candy as snacks and opt for fresh fruit or veggies instead.
If you notice your bowels acting up, try avoiding these triggers that can cause constipation and digestive woes until you start to feel more comfortable and find yourself having regular, smooth bowels that can be maintained over time. Having regularity is great for health and wellbeing, so take it seriously.
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