health & wellness

Nine Foods That Cause Constipation

Sheena Joseph | Jul 13 2019
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If your digestive system is prone to constipation, certain foods can increase the chances while some ease the condition. This unpleasant condition is more common than popular belief. Most people experience constipation at some point in their life. But with some changes in diet, this problem can easily be solved. Some people experience constipation due to an allergy or sensitivity to certain foods. You can identify them by monitoring your own diet. Some people are allergic to gluten. In that case, switching to a gluten-free diet will solve the issue. Constipation could be the result of lactose intolerance too. Avoiding all dairy products including cheese, sour cream, and milk should do the trick. However, there are foods that cause constipation in most people. Here are nine foods that cause constipation.

1. White Bread

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It is one of the most unhealthy foods out there. White bread is made of all-purpose flour as known as maida. It has no nutritional value because it has been refined and bleached. There is no bran or fibre in maida. The lack of fibre contributes to constipation. Fibre is highly important for smooth bowel movements. Eating white bread will increase the risk of inflammation in the body too. Other foods that fall into the same category as white bread are bagels, cake, cookies, doughnuts, and pizza. If you are a fan of sandwiches and toast, you can replace these items with their healthy versions.

2. Unripe Banana

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Ripe bananas are great for a bowel movement. But on the contrary, unripe bananas can cause constipation. Unripe bananas have resistant starch, which is hard for the body to digest. This compound will be converted to natural sugar during the ripening process. Unripe bananas contain a high amount of tannins too. This compound can reduce the speed at which food passes through the gut. Bananas will be completely yellow in colour with some brown spots when it is perfectly ripe. They will be easy to peel too.

3. Fried Foods

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It is no secret that junk food is bad for general health. But fried, greasy food can cause constipation because they are high in fat and low in fibre. The high amount of salt in fast food can also increase the chance of constipation. When the salt content in the body increases, water from the intestines will be absorbed to balance the ratio of salt and water. This will lower the water content in the stool. The dry stool will have more difficulty in moving through the intestine. If you have been experiencing constipation, do not eat french fries, barbecued ribs, hamburgers, fried chicken, or buffalo wings. In case you consume these fried foods, be sure to drink a lot more water than usual. 

4. Caffeine

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Caffeine is not a food that causes constipation, but it increases the chances of it. Caffeinated beverages are diuretic. They will make you urinate more. This will lower water content in the body, and increase the chances of constipation. Coffee is not the only source of caffeine. Chocolate bars, ice cream, coke, soda, hot chocolate, and candy bars are also sources of caffeine. Even decaf coffee is not free of caffeine. Most decaf drinks have up to three percent caffeine, but that is enough. If you cannot get through the day without coffee, make sure that you are drinking enough water to compensate.

5. Alcohol

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If you wake up hungover and constipated, alcohol is your culprit. Alcohol can dehydrate the body and make the stool dry. Alcohol causes the reduced secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which signals the body to retain water. This will lead to increased urination and dehydration. High doses of alcohol are known to slow gastric emptying and bowel motility too. If your drink has higher alcohol content than 15%, it will affect gastrointestinal motility. Some time alcohol consumption causes an overgrowth of gut microbes too. This can also lead to constipation.

6. Red Meat

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Red meat one of the worst foods to consume if your body is prone to constipation. It considerably reduces the fibre intake in two ways. Red meat is a filling item which will prevent you from eating other fibre rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. And, red meat itself contains little fibre. This will slow down the stool. Red meat takes longer than other proteins to digest too. It contains more fat than poultry and fish. If you are craving bacon, bologna, hot dogs, or sausage, limit it to lunch and up the intake of fibre-rich foods at breakfast and dinner.

7.White Rice

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White rice has a similar effect to white bread on your body. It has been stripped off of husk, bran and germ. Basically, white rice has no fibre or nutrients. Replace white rice with brown rice. One cup of brown rice contains 3.5-gram fibre and 5 grams of protein. The lack of fibre in white rice will contribute not only to constipation but weight gain too. The lightness of it will prompt you to eat more. And you will end up consuming more starch than you need.

8. Frozen Food

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Frozen food doesn’t cause constipation. But they can increase the chances of it. Frozen dinner will slow down the digestive system, and they have low water content too. They are also high in fat, sodium, and preservatives. And they are unsurprisingly low in fibre and nutritional value. This makes pushing down frozen food through the gastrointestinal tract difficult for the digestive system.

9. Chocolates

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It is one of the top favourite foods of most people. There aren’t many people who hate chocolate. Though it is great for lifting your mood, your love for chocolate may get you into trouble. Like many other desserts, most chocolate bars in the market is full of sugar and fat. The lack of sugar and a high amount of fat will slow down the digestion. However, unless you have experienced severe constipation after eating a moderate amount of chocolate, you don’t have to quit on them entirely. Overeating chocolates will lead to constipation. One or two bars will do no harm.