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