5 things you consume that can cause constipation

The cause of your constipation may be found in your diet.
The cause of your constipation may be found in your diet.

Constipation is an uncomfortable condition that millions of people deal with every day. It is described as missing bowel movements over the course of several days. 

Because it’s not seen as life-threatening, many people don’t take the condition seriously. You can usually treat it at home but once constipation becomes chronic (i.e. it lasts for several weeks), you may need to seek medical help.

We take a look at five things you consume that may cause or aggravate your constipation. 

1. Alcohol 

While enjoying a glass of wine or two now and then may be harmless, heavy drinking wreaks havoc on your body. Alcohol negatively affects most of your body’s organs. Your colon is one of them.

Consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to dehydration over time. A dehydrated colon means that stool cannot pass as easily, leading to constipation. 

2. Processed food

Processed food contains very little dietary fibre and has a high salt and fat content. These foods are no good for your body, especially your colon.

Salt is known to retain the body’s fluid intake. This fluid is absorbed from the colon, making stool hard and difficult to move through the digestive tract. Water retention can cause bloating and abdominal pain. 


3. Refined food 

Refined foods like white bread, white rice and white sugar have all been stripped of their fibre. White sugar can be found in foods like cake and sweet treats. Due to lack of dietary fibre, these foods can aggravate constipation. 


4. Red meat

Red meat has constipating properties. Due to its high fat content, it is more difficult to digest than white meat. It lacks dietary fibre and therefore tends to move through the digestive tract a lot slower than foods rich in fibre. 

5. Unripe bananas 

Bananas are high in soluble fibre. People are often recommended bananas when constipated. But those are ripe bananas.

Unripe bananas, however, are packed with resistant starch, which is difficult to digest and can cause constipation. When a banana ripens, this starch turns into natural sugars. 


Image credit: iStock

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