Foods That Get Rid Of Constipation
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN & Amy Coates, RHN, BSc.
If you are having problems with constipation, you are not alone. Most North Americans suffer some form of constipation, and very few experience the regular bowel movements they should. The biggest two factors for constipation are dehydration caused by too much caffeine, not enough water, and too little fiber. If you drink a lot of coffee and soda and eat a diet low in fresh raw vegetables and leafy greens, you are setting yourself up for constipation. Dairy causes the bowels to become sticky and can contribute to the problem and too much meat will make for a diet lacking in other nutrients essential for a proper bowel movement.
To reverse the effects of a poor diet and restore regularity, eating habits must change. Lettuces of all kinds, broccoli, squash and papaya are excellent, natural foods that promote bowel movements. Lettuce, a watery vegetable, also provides roughage, which sweeps the bowels on its way out, helping to flush fecal matter. Papaya has laxative properties and is an excellent, hydrating fruit with lots of vitamins. Cantaloupe is another excellent fruit with properties similar to that of papaya. Any raw vegetable is naturally rich in essential nutrients and fibers that promote healthy, regular bowel movements, but some are a little better than others. For instance, when constipated, choosing fibrous lettuce over a starchy potato will do more to encourage bowel movements.
Vegetables aren’t the only way to get rid of constipation, other sources of fiber are: nuts, seeds, popcorn and dried fruits. Though they should be limited in the diet, whole grains, lentils and beans are also great fiber choices. These foods are difficult for the body to break down in large quantities, and some people are allergic to them, especially to common grains, like wheat. Obviously, any thing that causes you allergies or discomfort should be eliminated from your diet, and other grains, beans, and lentils should make up a very small percentage of your weekly food intake. Balance means everything when it comes to being rid of constipation.
Finally, drinking a glass of warm water or herbal tea in the morning and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day will keep the body hydrated and provide lubrication for the bowels. Some juices, like grape, prune and apricot juice, can aid in and promote bowel movements, but also contain sugar, so should be used sparingly.
The most important thing to do is to limit intake of refined foods, meats, fats, dairy, sugars and caffeine. All of these foods cause clogging and irregularity and lead to a number of other health problems. A natural raw diet dominated by fruits veggies and natural whole grains, beans and lentils will promote regular bowel movements and keep the colon healthy.
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