Foods for Constipation
Both Good and Bad

By Stephanie

It’s not hard to choose foods for constipation prevention and relief once you know how different foods affect the formation and passing of a stool.

This page is your gateway to some great information on the following 5 points.

1. Foods that may constipate

2. Foods that alleviate constipation

3. A diet to help alleviate constipation 

4. Getting too little or too much fiber

5. Cultured foods to the rescue


I believe you are reading this page because you want to know how certain foods affect bowel movements.

You've probably already noticed that when you eat certain foods you tend to get constipated, and when you eat other foods for constipation relief it tends to loosen up your bowels, or even cause diarrhea.

On this page we will examine not only how various foods affect the movement of the bowels, but why they do. Of course, every person is different, so this information is more of a guide to help you find the foods that can help to keep your bowels moving normally.


1. Foods that May Constipate

Below is a quick list of foods for constipation, foods that can increase constipation.

Click here for an article giving the details. 

  • Most pastas, since they are made with white flour

  • Baked goods from white flour, since the bran has been removed

  • Most bread products, since the bran and germ have been removed


  • Overloading with meat can slow down the transit time

  • High protein foods can also have a slow transit time through the colon

  • White rice. The germ and bran have been removed


  • Processed foods, where most of the bran has been processed out.  Snack foods|

  • Pasteurized dairy products are hard to digest, and slow transit times

  • Sugar and sweeteners wreck havoc on the digestive system

  • Caffeinated beverages, which function as diuretics, which can lead to dehydration.


2. Foods that Alleviate Constipation

There are numerous foods for constipation relief. Click here for the detailed article.

Healthy oils

Olive oil or flax seed oil are helpful. However, since olive oil goes rancid at a comparatively low temperature, we use coconut oil or almond oil for cooking.

Oils like Castor oil coat the lining of the intestines and hinders the absorption of both water and nutrients.

Healthy fats

Fats found in nuts, butter and avocado are good, as they stimulate the gallbladder to release bile.

Fiber

This is the biggie. Here is a list of foods with good amounts of fiber.

  • Most legumes, such as beans and peas

  • Whole grain breads and pastas

  • Oatmeal and bran cereals

  • Flax seed and Chia seed

  • Most fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking water instead of caffeinated drinks or sugary juices

  • Magnesium supplements, (magnesium supplement page) which helps introduce more water into the stool

  • Probiotics, as contained in cultured foods and drinks, or in supplement form


3. A Diet Containing Foods for Constipation Relief

As noted above, certain foods tend to cause constipation, and there are certain foods for constipation relief. Click here for a detailed article about a diet for getting rid of constipation.

Fruits and vegetables tend to be high in fiber, and are a wonderful part of this diet.

Carbohydrates

Try to eat carbs that still have their bran, germ or fiber. This means:

  • Brown rice instead of white

  • Sweet potatoes, which have more fiber (and nutrients!) than white potatoes

  • Whole grain bread products, like whole wheat pancakes, pastas, pizza crust, breads.

  • Beans, peas and other legumes

  • Oatmeal and high fiber, low sugar cereals

Meat in moderation

Meat is harder to digest, so loading down with meat can cause longer transit times in the intestines.

Dairy

Dairy products are OK when taken with some raw milk. The enzymes needed for digestion are killed by pasteurization.

But when you drink a little raw milk with your ice cream, milk shakes and cheese, you then have the enzymes needed to digest them.

Sweets

Sweets are OK if Stevia or even Xylitol are used as the sweetener. Sugars wreck havoc on the digestive system.


Oils

Include oils like olive oil, flax seed oil and coconut oil, as they are beneficial to digestion.

Probiotics

Cultured vegetables, Kombucha, Kefir, and yogurt if it contains at least 5 probiotics. Or take a probiotic supplement.

Beverages

Drink water as much as possible. Many other beverages can actually promote dehydration.

Magnesium

Finally, for years I have taken a sea mineral supplement high in magnesium every day and it really keeps the bowels moving. The magnesium offers other health benefits, too.


4. Getting Too Little or Too Much Fiber

Fiber is a key player in healthy bowels and regular bowel movements. Eat 4 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and you will likely have the fiber you need.

Click here to read the full article on this topic.

Too little fiber

When you don’t consume enough fiber, it deprives beneficial bacteria in the gut of food. These bacteria make the stool less dense and easier to pass.

Plus, fiber holds five times it’s weight in water. This is a key point, since stools should be at least 75% water, or they become hard, heavy, and difficult to pass.

Too little fiber

However, even a normal amount of fiber (20 to 35 grams), it may actually give you constipation, if you have wiped out your gut flora with a course of antibiotics or other medications and haven’t replenished it.

Fiber not digested by beneficial bacteria can bulk up your stool, slowing it’s transit time and making it difficult to pass.

Second, if you are dehydrated, the body may not spare the water your colon needs. If fiber doesn't have moisture, even a normal amount of fiber can be too much fiber.


5. Cultured Foods to the Rescue

As we saw in the last section, beneficial bacteria play an important role in digestion and proper bowel movements. Click here to read the full article on this topic.

Until the advent of refrigeration, people cultured foods to preserve them. Milk, vegetables, even breads were cultured. These days we have gone to the other side of the pendulum, with fast foods and processed foods that destroy the flora in the gut and give way for yeasts, including Candida, to take over.

The value of probiotics

Fortunately our society is relearning the value of probiotics. Ads on TV push probiotic supplements and yogurt commercials speak of the benefits of the strains of bacteria in their yogurt, including a stronger immune system.

Probiotics bring much needed balance back to the digestive system. They feed on soluble and insoluble fiber, producing the B complex of vitamins. They make feces more porous and moist. They help to soften the stool, aiding with elimination.

A few years back I started my wife and I on a probiotic. It was my desire to help her get rid of her frequent yeast infectionsLater, we abandoned the probiotic supplement in favor of Kombucha, milk Kefir and sour kraut. The good strains of bacteria have now replaced the yeast, and yeast infections are gone for good.

Probiotics are therefore one of the foods for constipation relief.

(Return from Foods for Constipation to Stephanie's Index Page)

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