Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Constipation and Dieting

Constipation Can Be A "Stuck" Issue When Dieting

Constipation is known to be an issue when you're dieting.  If you're like I used to be, you were dieting by calorie restriction, thus food restriction.  This leads to poor choices, a slow metabolism and constipation!

You don't have to be dieting to experience constipation either, if you took the time to ask the question, I'm sure most of your friends have experienced an episode of being 'backed up'!  

So, how do you deal with constipation?

Here are 5 easy steps to changing your lifestyle and diet to get things moving, even if you're not dieting!!

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at
  1. Eat more dietary fibre

    This one is an easy fix, but I hear you ask, what type of fibre can I eat.  Well, you need to improve your intake of fruit, veges, whole grains, beans and legumes. Most people don't get enough fibre, some sources quote that Americans get on average only 15 grams of fibre a day. You need approximately 25 - 35 grams of fibre (soluble and insoluble) a day.  The soluble fibre supports that 'feeling full' sensation, while the insoluble fibre will push waste along in the digestive tract, acting like a broom, cleaning the bowel out!

    Sources of soluble fibre include: oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.

    Sources of insoluble fibre include: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

    Tip:  increase your fibre intake gradually, and remember to also increase your water intake
    Swap your white break for wholegrain bread
    Snack on raw vegetables
    Add legumes, nuts and/or seeds to your salads, stews or soups
    Eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice

  2. Move your body more

    Introduce little 10 minute walks into your day.  This improves movement within your gut.
    Try walking for 10 minutes after a meal to reduce discomfort

  3. Drink more water

    Try to drink at least 8 - 10 glasses of water a day.  When your digestive tract is dehydrated, things slow down, harden up and dry out - what you want is a smoother passage for your waste, water moves things!

    coffee and alcohol do not count as water, as they also dehydrate your body

  4. Get magnesium into your diet

    Not only is magnesium good for your heart and the function of your muscles, but it has also been shown to relax your digestive tract muscles and draw in more water.

    Tip: you can source magnesium from your foods, e.g., dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach, or nuts, such as almonds and cashews (just don't have the salted versions!!)

  5. Good gut bacteria

    Using good probiotics to support your healthy gut bacteria is good for your ability to absorb nutrition from your foods and promote good digestion, also helping things to move along.

    Tip: kefir and yoghurt are good sources of probiotics.  Remember also to have prebiotics (these support your good bacteria, and can be sourced in your fibre!)

    Remember: if you have chronic constipation, please see a medical practitioner.

    Eat dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach, or snack on nuts such as almonds and cashews for great sources of magnesium. - See more at:

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