Every once in a while people experience problems with their digestive system. The most common problem however is hard bowel movement or constipation.
This experience is often apparent when there’s so much straining during defecation and one might even develop hemorrhoids (swelling in the anus) as a result. When this happens, one is always advised to drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits to ease the digestion.
Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where an individual has hard feces that are difficult to expel. It affects people of all ages and it can mean that one is not passing stools regularly or utterly unable to completely empty their bowel. This is not only that stools are hard and lumpy, but also tend to be unusually large or small.
According to Constantine Makumbi, a nutritionist at Mukono Health Center in Mukono, ‘’if one consumes a lot of foods made with white flour, hard boiled eggs, meat, biscuits, rice, and bread, chances are high that one may suffer from constipation.’’ – The combination should be telling here.
- Eating hard foods that aren’t rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, or roughages may cause or worsen constipation, Makumbi says.
- This can also result from inadequate intake of fluids, especially “water is the most essential ingredient in anybody’s diet. It is the medium through which food is transported in the blood for use throughout the body “
- Ingestion of meat in large quantities can also set off constipation. “meat inhibits bowel movements because it does not have dietary fibre. In addition, mixing animal proteins, for example meat, with foods such as bread, beans, peas and cereals is wrong. Proteins are best digested when eaten with fresh vegetables and fruits,” adds Makumbi.
- Taking long to go the toilet. Because of the tight work schedules people run, there’s a certain tendency to postpone going to the ease themselves for the long call. However, this is quite dangerous. For the more time stool sits in the colon or rectum, the more water will be absorbed and the harder stool will become.
- Constipation can also be attributed to a weakness in the abdominal muscles due to a sedentary lifestyle.
- Stress too can cause or make constipation worse.
Someone who is constipated may complain of bloating, less frequent defecation and lumpy or hard stool.
“Secondary signs may include dark circles under the eyes, nausea, constant fullness in the stomach, loss of appetite, dizziness and varicose veins,“ caution the nutritionists.
- Makumbi says when constipation occurs frequently, it may require one to change one’s eating habits and lifestyle. “Choose foods rich with roughage and fiber, such as whole grain cereals, water melon, pawpaw as well as other fruits and vegetables. Dietary fiber aids normal functioning of the digestive tract,” he adds.
When these foods rich in fiber are incorporated in one’s diet, they improve stool frequency thereby preventing constipation” Makumbi emphases.
Increasing dietary fiber can help to avert constipation. Sufficient fiber promotes more frequent bowel movements and aids normal functioning of the digestive tracts.
Dietary fiber, Makumbi says, can be found unrefined foods such as whole grain cereals, legumes, pawpaw, brown rice fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits, like mangoes, grapefruits, guavas and oranges may also come in handy. However, dietary fiber alone may not fight off constipation.
One can add fruit and vegetable salad to a low fiber meal to soften the stool. Makumbi says, adding that that sufficient intake of water can deter constipation. Five to eight glasses of water everyday can help ease digestion and dissolving of food nutrients,“ the nutrition expert says.
- It is important to chew food slowly and properly for at least 15 times, he farther notes.
“One should avoid eating hurriedly and eating at odd times such as late at night, especially foods such as white flour, rice, bread, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, white sugar and hard-boiled eggs.”
All fruits, except bananas and jackfruit are rich in fiber, which softens stool. Adults suffering from constipation should consume plenty of fruits. In addition, drinking lukewarm water with half a teaspoon of salt can also help to alleviate constipation.
Apples are likewise a good addition to one’s daily diet if one is really serious about keeping the doctor away. Makumbi says, apples are high in fiber, which stimulates the digestive system, thus holding off constipation.