Avoid These When Constipated or Bloated
The causes of constipation and, consequently bloating range from poor dieting – especially low fiber diets – to an unhealthy lifestyle. Other reasons include the side effects of some medications or supplements, the symptom of a medical condition, and dehydration.
That being said, there are certain foods, vitamins, or supplements that can cause constipation or make the condition worse. Hence, it becomes important and necessary for one to know these foods and to avoid them.
Foods to avoid when constipated
While there are some foods and herbs that can be eaten to stop constipation, there are a few others which can aggravate the problem. The following are some of the foods to avoid when suffering from constipation.
- Dairy products
Dairy foods like yogurt, ice cream, and cheese are constipation activators as well as promoters. This is because of their low fiber and high-fat content. So, in the best interest of your health, you need to stay away from dairy products if you have constipation.
By meat here, we mean red meat. While red meat is not particularly responsible for the constipation, it still affects you as it replaces the fiber you should have eaten. Moreover, red meat contains excess iron that can contribute to constipation.
- Potato chips
Potato chips and other similar snacks contain excess fats which are not good for the digestive system as they inhibit proper digestion. Instead of consuming potato chips, you can go for whole grains.
- Fried foods
Just like potato chips, other fried foods and chips such as French fries should be avoided by people suffering from constipation. This is because of their high fat and protein content which helps in stimulating the release of chemical substances that slow down digestion.
Although some people may not be affected by the consumption of chocolate during constipation, some studies have shown that it may cause constipation or aggravate the problem in other people. For such people, it is a good idea to stay away from chocolate, at least for the constipation period.
Similarly to dairy foods, eggs have high-fat and low-fiber contents that delays digestion. And as you may already know, lack of fiber is one of the causes of indigestion and constipation.
This is a two-edged or two-sided thing. Bananas are known to help in relieving constipation and can also cause constipation. The reason is this: ripe bananas which have high-fiber content promote digestion and hence, can be used for treating constipation. On the contrary, unripe bananas can cause constipation and should be avoided.
- Refined carbohydrates like cakes and cookies
Such foods as pastries, cakes, and cookies have low fiber content and are rich in fat – a no-no for constipation sufferers. These foods and similar ones need to be avoided or eaten moderately as they can cause constipation.
Multivitamins/supplements that can cause constipation
Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help in preventing many problems as the body will be able to get enough of the required vitamins and minerals needed for healthy living. Thus, supplements should not be the first port of call when there is a deficiency, but the last – after changing your diet.
While the intake of supplements or multivitamins can help in solving deficiencies in the body, taking more than necessary may not be good for the body. Thus, excessive dosage of supplements can also cause constipation. The following are some of the multivitamins that can cause constipation when taken in high doses.
- Calcium supplements
Calcium is essential for the formation of strong bones and teeth and is a common supplement. Excess calcium in the digestive tract causes the muscles to contract which is bad for peristaltic movement as there is an imbalance between contraction and relaxing of muscles. As a rule of thumb, it is advised that an equal dosage of magnesium – which causes the muscles to relax – should be taken with the calcium supplement.
- Vitamin D
The major purpose of vitamin D in the body is to assist the body to readily absorb calcium. The sedentary lifestyle is on the rise as more and more people rarely get a good dose of sunlight – which is rich in vitamin D, hence, causing a lack of this vital vitamin in many persons. So, instead of getting high doses of vitamin D supplements, why not get more sun time and receive free, natural vitamin D.
- Iron supplements
Synthetic iron consumption can lead to constipation due to the fact the mineral is not quickly absorbed in the body unlike the organic types. This leads to the accumulation of iron in the blood resulting in constipation. Examples of synthetic forms of iron are Ferrous citrate and Carbonyl iron. Also, t is recommended that liquid iron supplements are taken in place of tablets. While the consumption of iron-only supplements is a good way of treating iron deficiency, taking too much of it is a good way of getting constipation.
- Probiotic yeast
Proper digestion and a good gastrointestinal flora are dependent on several factors. One of those factors is the presence of probiotics – micro-organisms that aid digestion. While the adequate amounts of these micro-organisms in the body are beneficial, a deficiency or excess [in this case] caused by large consumption of probiotic yeast can cause constipation. An example of this yeast is Saccharomyces boulardii.
Other supplements that may cause constipation are diuretic herbs – that promote urine production, and hence, loss of water from the body, weight-loss supplements, chromium supplements and chitosan.
Multivitamins/supplements that won’t cause constipation
Besides the multivitamins already discussed, every other supplement taken appropriately will not cause constipation. That is the consumption of vitamin supplements that are lacking calcium, iron, or vitamin D will not cause constipation.
Can one-a-day vitamins cause constipation?
The simple answer to this question is yes, taking one-a-day multivitamins can lead to constipation.
One-a-day vitamins are supplements usually taken by women to cater for a deficiency in their body. These multivitamins are consumed one dose each day, hence, the name. Examples of these supplements are iron supplements used during the menstrual cycle to offset the deficiency of the mineral; folic acid which is taken during pregnancy, and calcium.
Can vitamins cause constipation in toddlers?
The answer to the above question is yes. As much as vitamins and supplements can cause constipation in adults, they can equally cause constipation in toddlers.
Foods to eat when constipated and bloated
As much as some foods can cause constipation, others can help to relieve it and its symptoms including bloating. The following foods are some of the very many that can be eaten when feeling constipated and bloated:
Nuts contain magnesium and fiber in good amounts. This makes them a good choice for people battling with constipation. Almonds and walnuts are examples of nuts that can be eaten for constipation relief.
Apples are rich in fiber and can help constipation sufferers in relieving the symptoms.
- Whole grains
Whole grains such as barley, brown rice, and oats have high-fiber content that can help to relieve constipation and bloating.
- Caffeinated coffee
Drinking caffeinated coffee is a two-way thing for constipation. This is due to the fact that while too much caffeine in the body can interrupt proper digestion, and leading to constipation, moderate consumption of the drink helps to promote digestion and constipation relief. Moreover, caffeinated coffee contains little amounts of soluble fiber which is essential for digestion.
- Other fresh fruits
Consuming fresh fruits like grapes, berries, and oranges is a good remedy for constipation. These fruits have enough water content to quench dehydration as well as have fiber for improved digestion. Also, eating these fruits will go a long way in softening your stools.
- Foods with probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria inside the digestive tract that are necessary for the digestion process. When there are not enough of these bacteria, it is easy for constipation to occur. Foods with high probiotic content include yogurt and kimchi.
- Ripe bananas
Ripe bananas are rich in soluble fiber that assists in balancing digestive flora. Adding ripe – not unripe – bananas to your diet, or eating them as a snack, is a good way to get rid of constipation.
- Potassium-rich foods
Eating potassium-rich foods like spinach helps in maintaining metallic balance in the body.
Rhubarbs contain chemical compounds with laxative properties. For example, the same compounds found in senna leaves are also found in rhubarbs.
- Sweet potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes (with the skin) contain fiber that can help in treating and preventing constipation.
While there are various causes of constipation, wrong dieting remains the major culprit. Hence, a change in diet and the avoidance of certain foods are remedies for this condition. However, if you have an intolerance for a particular food or food allergy, it is best to consult a dietitian or your doctor before including or excluding any food in/from your diet.