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How Do We Get over Constipation When We Say No More Pills?

How Do We Get over Constipation When We Say No More Pills?

Nobody likes to talk about constipation, but it’s actually a huge issue, affecting over 42 million people in the US, according to research. [1]

If this is such a big issue, what’s causing it?

Well, there are some common eating habits which contribute towards poor digestive health, and we’ve listed them below.

Any of these ring a bell?

Not eating enough fibre

Fibre is material that your body can’t digest, and getting enough of it helps prevent constipation, by providing material for a stool to form around. Fibre is found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. You can also take fibre supplements, although incorporating fibre into your diet naturally is normally a better option.

A sudden change in eating habits

Do you regularly experiment with new diets, or dramatically change your what you eat on a daily basis?

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A sudden change in eating habits can contribute to digestive problems as your body struggles to adjust. Avoid this by making any diet changes slowly and gradually, instead of making a big change all at once. This is true even if you’re switching to a healthier diet – even changing to a high-protein or high-fibre diet can cause problems if it happens too fast. [2]

Not drinking enough water

When did you last drink a glass of water?

Are you thirsty right now?

It’s easy to become dehydrated without realising, and this can contribute towards digestive problems. Drinking plenty of fluids ensures that stools stay soft, reducing the risk of constipation.

Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink water throughout the day, or keep a large water bottle handy at all times.

Being underweight or overweight

If you’re not at a healthy weight, that could be contributing to your digestive problems. Weight problems also indicate that there may be a problem with your diet. Seeing a dietician to discuss the issues you’re having and come up with a personalised diet plan is a good idea.

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Fibre is a help to relieve constipation

The most important thing to look for is fibre.

There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble, and it’s important to get a good balance of both.

Insoluble fibre makes your stool bulkier, which helps it to pass through your system. Soluble fibre attracts water, which makes stools softer and easier to pass.

It’s really important to introduce fibre to your diet gradually, and drink plenty of fluids at all times. If you don’t do this, you could risk making the problem even worse.

Foods that you should eat to avoid constipation

Ready to change your diet and improve your digestion?

Have you ever tried any of these foods that help you poop? Try adding them – you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel.

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Strawberries

Strawberries have edible seeds, which makes them high in fibre and great for digestion. They’re also really tasty, and easy to add to a dessert or enjoy as a sweet snack.

Black beans

Black beans contain plenty of soluble fibre, which makes them a great choice if you need more fibre but aren’t keen on eating loads of fruit and veg. Add black beans to a chilli, or use them to make delicious meat-free tacos.

Prunes

Has your gran ever recommended these to you?

She knows what she’s talking about.

Prunes are high in fibre, and also contain sorbitol, a natural laxative. You can eat prunes whole, add to a smoothie, or drink prune juice. This food is often recommended by doctors – a good indication that it works.

Broccoli

Broccoli includes lots of insoluble fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion. Add it to soups and stews, or steam as an easy side dish. Try to incorporate plenty of vegetables in every meal to keep things running smoothly.

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High-fibre cereal

Next time you go down the cereal aisle, look out for boxes that say ‘high in fibre’ – usually bran flakes or muesli. These cereals are a great way to kickstart your digestive system and set you up for the day.

Oatmeal

Oats contain soluble fibre that will help your digestion, and they also make a super-filling breakfast. Try adding fruit for an extra boost of fibre in the morning.

Constipation is a huge problem for many people, but it doesn’t have to be.

A few simple changes your diet can make a massive change to your digestive health – try it today.

Reference

More by this author

Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

Face Adversity with a Smile

Face Adversity with a Smile

I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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  1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
  2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
  3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
  4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
  5. Smile and get cracking.

The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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