Our frequent outings, likeness towards fast foods, sitting jobs and being inactive through out the day made us more prone to constipation. Almost everyone go through constipation sooner or later in their life. Its not very serious condition and in most cases it can be managed by simple diet and lifestyle modifications. People who are obese or overweight often complain constipation. Many people wonder if these two are related. The answer is yes and no. I will explain why.
Constipation and Weight Gain
Constipation means less frequent bowel movements associated with bloating and hard stools. In this condition, you may not be able to completely clear the faeces from the rectum.Technically, it can increase your body weight. For example, if 200 g of stools accumulate each day, you will gain 1kg of weight in 5 days. That is a sudden weight gain.
However, the increase in your body weight is temporary, not permanent. You can’t continue gaining weight like this for a long term. To be clear, you may have some short term weight gain due to severe constipation. However, it doesn’t mean that you are getting fatter. This is not a fat accumulation. It is just a faecal weight.
However, constipation and weight gain can coexist.
The most common situation is you are eating lots of junk food – These unhealthy foods have lots of calories. They are usually loaded with fat or refined sugar. Eating these fast foods will make you put on weight. In addition, these foods don’t normally have enough fibre. So, you will be constipated. Furthermore, the majority of fast food meals comes with a soft drink or coffee. They will make you dehydrated. That will make the constipation even worse.
The other scenario is not enough physical activity. Lack of exercise makes you fat. In addition, it makes your bowels lazy. Slow bowel movements make the stools hard and difficult to pass. If you are a physically active person, there is less chance of getting constipated. Let’s see some of the foods which help in relieving constipation.
Foods which help in relieving Constipation
Fiber Rich foods:
Soluble fiber allows more water to remain in your stool, making waste softer, larger, and thus, easier to pass through your intestines. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your fecal material, which hastens its passage through your gut and prevents that constipated feeling.
- Cereals: Whole wheat, oats, jowar, bajra, ragi , brown rice, bran , popcorn etc.
- Legumes,beans, sprouts.
- Dry fruits and oil seeds like prunes, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds etc.
- Fruits and vegetables: Papaya, Pear, apple and green leafy vegetables, broccoli, etc.
Some Habits which help relieve constipation
- Drink plenty of fluids.Getting the recommended eight glasses of water a day helps to soften your stool, making elimination easier. Drinking the right amount of fluids may also help stool leave the colon.
- Don’t eat in hurry– Eating in hurry and not chewing food properly creates gas in body and ultimately you feel constipated.
- Give proper time to your toilet habits : we are usually short on time early in morning as a result we don’t give proper time to our toilet habits, its know as one of the major reason contributing to constipation.
- Eat fresh and dried fruit. Fruit, especially dried fruit, is loaded with fiber and is one of the foods that help relieve constipation. Along with water, fiber helps give stool the right consistency to pass easily. Good fruit choices for a constipation diet are raisins, prunes, figs, bananas, apples, and applesauce.
- Load your plate with vegetables. Vegetables are also high in fiber and can help prevent constipation. Pinto beans, legumes, salads, and raw vegetables are all high in fiber, making them great choices for constipation relief and prevention.
- Fill up on whole grains for fiber. Look for whole-grain bread, oatmeal, ground flax seed, barley, and wheat bran cereal. Your goal should be to get up to 35 grams of fiber a day, and just one ounce of wheat bran cereal gives you 10 grams.
Some Home Remedies for constipation
- Triphala tablet/churan : Have one tablet every night before going to bed.
- Isabgol : Isabgol has natural laxative properties. It is full of fiber. It expands in the digestive tract.Its gelatin base helps in natural bowel movement.
- Drinking warm water half an hour before meals also helps in getting rid of constipation.
- Lemon juice : All you need to do is mix one teaspoon of lemon juice in a glass of warm water, Add a pinch of salt to the solution, Drink this juice on an empty stomach to relieve constipation.
- Jeera/ Saunf water: boil jeera or saunf in glass of water for 15 mins, strain it and drink by adding tsp. of lemon juice.
- Spinach : You can have about 100 ml of spinach juice mixed with an equal quantity of water twice daily.
- Seed mixtures : 2-3 sunflower seeds, a few flaxseeds, til or sesame seeds and almonds ground together to a fine powder can help relieve constipation. Have one tablespoon of this mixture every day, for a week. You can add it to your salad or cereal every morning.
Constipation can cause weight gain to a small extent. Most of the time, it is an association rather than a causation. So, don’t try to lose weight by taking laxatives. Follow healthy lifestyle by following above tips
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