What is Constipation?Constipation considers a condition when a person passes not more than 3 stools a week. Constipation represents a difficult and painful experience. Other symptoms include feeling of flatulence, sluggishness and discomfort. Constipation is a common condition which mainly affects women and elderly. Also, it is often a complication after a surgery or a childbirth. During digestion, food moves through the colon and absorbs water, forming waste products – feces. Stool goes down to the rectum by muscle contractions of colon. When it gets to the rectum, stool becomes strong because most of the water is absorbed. Dry and hard stool occurs when colon absorbs too much water due to too slow muscle contractions of colon which causes slow stool moving to the rectum.
Diet for Constipation ReliefIt is advisable to eat some fruit before breakfast and before bedtime. Also, it is recommended to drink a glass of warm water on empty stomach in the morning after getting up. Breakfast should consist of fiber-rich foods which have laxative effect. Every person who suffers from constipation should start the day with a bowl of cereals with or without dried fruits and nuts added, yogurt with probiotics and fresh fruit which will provide appropriate daily number of fiber, and thus prevent constipation. Foods rich in fiber (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin) include: fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, lentils, peas, whole grains), and products containing them. This will provide intake of about 15-20 grams of diet fibers a day.
Acidophilus bacteria in the probiotic yogurt are excellent for stimulating the digestion. A handful of almonds, raisins, prunes or apricots should be a snack for everyone suffering from constipation. Many foods that people use in everyday's diet does not contain or contain very small amounts of dietary fiber - white bread, milk, meat, eggs, fish, oil, candies, and fast food. It is necessary to reduce the use of such foods as long as person has a problem with constipation. In order to facilitate selection the following list includes foods and their fiber content:
White Beans 25.4 g Lentils 11.7 g Cornflakes 11.0 g Wheat germ 30.0 g Wheat bran 44.0 g Brown rice 8.0 g Graham bread 8.5 g Cocoa powder 34.0 g Peas (fresh) 5.2 g Peas (frozen) 7.8 g Horseradish 8.3 g Carrot 3.2 g Medlar (fleshy part) 10.2 g Black Currant 8.7 g Prunes 16.1 g Dried figs 18.5 g Almond 14.3 g Fresh tomato juice 1.3 g Lemon juice 0.3 g Cinnamon 24.4 g
Fluid IntakeDehydration may exacerbate the constipation as well as to cause it. Precisely for this reason appropriate fluid intake is of great importance - about 8 glasses of water a day. In addition to water, fruit juices are an excellent choice for not only preventing dehydration, but also for providing enough dietary fibers. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks cause dehydration, and thus the constipation. Therefore, they should be avoided or they intake should be reduced to a minimum.