Fish Constipation


By Pharmacist Anusuya Kashi

Fish constipation


Though they might not talk about it, people who suffer from constipation can undergo a lot of mental anxiety over their bowel movements.

Being able to go regularly without any pain or straining makes a big difference in both physical and emotional health.

A person’s diet is a major factor in determining the regularity and ease of bowel movements.


Fiber and constipation

Fiber in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds tends to swell with moisture when it comes into contact with gastric and intestinal fluids.

This makes stool bulkier and softer. The increased bulk stimulates peristalsis, while a moist stool is softer and easier to pass.

If a person’s diet doesn’t contain enough fiber, they are more likely to suffer from constipation.


Does Eating Fish Contribute to Constipation?

Fish is a high protein food, and protein is a necessary nutrient for the body. However, like chicken, beef and pork, fish doesn’t contain much fiber.

A stool devoid of fiber tends to be small in size, which doesn’t do much to stimulate peristalsis. Without fiber to hold onto moisture, stool also tends to dry out.

However, as long as the meal contains some foods that are high in fiber, eating fish might not result in a constipation problem at all.

But consuming a large proportion of fish without eating fiber rich foods with it is quite likely to result in constipation.


Eating protein can cause constipation

Fish contains a lot of protein. When heated, proteins break down in a process called denaturation. Many believe that denatured protein tends to cause constipation.

Another school of thought says that heating protein rich foods sets off chemical reactions that result in the formation of compounds called beta-carbolines.

These compounds have an anesthetic effect which causes a slowing down of muscular activity. As a result, the wave-like contractions of the colon that move stool along are impaired, resulting in constipation.

The main point to remember is that, although eating fish may contribute to constipation, it is possible to offset this effect by including fiber rich foods with the meal.


Preventing fish constipation with magnesium

Another effective way to avoid fish constipation is to take 200 to 400 mg. of a magnesium supplement after the meal.

This can help in a couple of ways.

  1. Magnesium aids in digestion, so that slow to digest foods aren’t held for longer period in the colon.

  2. Magnesium acts as an osmotic laxative. It pulls extra water into the colon, to keep stool from drying out.

Furthermore, since most Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their food, taking a magnesium supplement may result in numerous health benefits


Conclusion, fish constipation

Fish and other meats don’t have much fiber. Fiber is needed to form a bulky stool that stimulates peristalsis, the action of the colon to move stool along.

When heated, fish protein changes form, and can cause constipation. Including fiber rich foods (or a fiber supplement) when eating fish is the best way to avoid fish constipation.

A magnesium supplement is another tool for avoiding constipation when eating fish.

(Return from Fish Constipation to Foods that Cause Constipation)


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