How does your diet affect constipation?

Constipation can be a horrible feeling. It can be especially difficult when you haven’t passed any stool for several days and you begin to feel very full. Many patients who are constipated can treat their own symptoms without even coming to the office. One of the most essential ingredients in the “constipation free potion” is water – you probably knew that was coming! Water hydrates our bodies, of course! It also softens the stool and allows it to smoothly move through the colon. Furthermore, it makes bowel movements easier and less painful. Digestive Health Specialists’ Dr. William Bray suggests 8 glasses of water a day along with a high fiber diet. As he mentioned, another diet adjustment that patients with constipation can make is adding more fiber to the mix. So, how does fiber really help constipation and what foods can it be found in? Dr. Bray answered those questions perfectly:

“One way to keep things moving is by getting enough fiber in your diet, which makes stool bulkier and softer so it’s easier to pass. Gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet until you’re getting at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily.

Good fiber sources include:

• Bran and other whole grains found in cereals, breads, and brown rice
• Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and asparagus
• Fresh fruits, or dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, and prunes
• Beans

While you’re having an issue with constipation, limit foods that are high in fat and low in fiber, like cheese and other dairy products, processed foods, and meat. They can make constipation worse.”
And then there is exercising! Exercising also aids in getting those bowels moving!! Any type of aerobic exercise gets the heart rate up and the blood moving more quickly through the body. With an increased heart rate, all of the muscles in the body contract and function more efficiently. The muscles connected to the digestive system are included! The more we pump that heart, the quicker our stool travels where it needs to go – OUT!

If your constipation doesn’t improve with a diet change and increased water intake, call our office at 336.768.6211 and set up your appointment today.