PT Health Life

Diet for people with constipation

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PT Health Life – One of the common causes of constipation is improper lifestyle and nutrition. Therefore, when suffering from constipation, the important thing the patient should do is to adjust their diet.

1. The importance of diet for people with constipation

The importance of diet for people with constipation

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases, occurring in many people from young children to the elderly.

People with constipation will have difficulty defecating, only going once a day, and having to strain a lot each time they defecate. Not only does it cause fatigue and affect daily activities, constipation is also an important cause of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse, and even rectal cancer.

According to MSc.BS. Nguyen Ngoc Dan, specialist in the Department of Gastroenterology, Saint Paul General Hospital, among the common causes of constipation are: constipation due to narrowing of the colon lumen, constipation due to slow colon circulation, distal constipation, functional constipation Functional constipation is the most common form of constipation, accounting for about 50% of constipation cases.

The main cause of functional constipation is an unreasonable diet (lack of water, lack of fiber …), lack of exercise, loss of defecation reflex (due to frequent defecation), psychological stress…

Regarding treatment principles, constipation needs to be clearly diagnosed before treatment. Therefore, when there are symptoms of constipation, patients need to see a specialist to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause and effective treatment.

For functional constipation, patients need to have a suitable, balanced diet and provide enough water. Exercise regularly. In addition, it is necessary to practice the habit of defecating every day at a certain time frame, while eliminating foods, medications, psychological factors… that cause constipation.

Diet plays an extremely important role in preventing and treating constipation. A reasonable, scientific diet can help improve constipation effectively, while also bringing many benefits to overall health.

Here are some reasons why diet is important for people with constipation:

  • Fiber supplements: Fiber plays an important role in promoting bowel movements, softening stools, making defecation easier.
  • Drink enough water: Water helps soften stools and lubricates the digestive system, helping food move through the intestines more easily. People with constipation should drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
  • Supplement probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive system, helping to support food digestion and enhance intestinal health.
  • Limit foods that cause constipation: Some foods can aggravate constipation including red meat, processed foods, greasy foods, alcohol, coffee…

2. Essential nutrients for the body of people with constipation

2.1 Fiber

Lack of fiber in the diet is one of the common causes of constipation. Fiber is found in plant-based foods. There are two types of fiber: water-soluble and water-insoluble.

Water-soluble fiber absorbs moisture, making stools softer and easier to pass. Fiber that does not dissolve in water absorbs water, increasing the volume of waste, making the process of eliminating waste faster. Insoluble fiber does not absorb moisture but speeds food movement through the intestines.

Therefore, by increasing fiber-rich foods in the diet, it will help prevent and improve constipation effectively. The recommended fiber requirement for Vietnamese people is at least 20-25g/person/day. In your daily diet, you should eat a variety of foods that have both types of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Foods rich in fiber include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, etc. The leaves, stems, roots, and peels of vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber. The best fiber-rich vegetables and fruits include: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin…; berries, peaches, apricots, plums, raisins, strawberries…

Whole grains rich in fiber include: oats, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, barley…

Some nuts are great sources of fiber such as walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds …

Beans such as green beans, soybeans, lentils, kidney beans… are rich sources of fiber.

2.2 Water

Every cell in our body needs water to function at its best. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will become dehydrated and dehydrated. Lack of water and dehydration will lead to hard stools, causing constipation.

Along with other fluids, gastric juices and enzymes, water aids in the digestive process so the body absorbs nutrients. To meet the body’s water needs, adults should drink about 2 liters of water per day.

When increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods, you must drink plenty of water. Water helps the body digest fiber and reduces constipation by increasing stool bulk. Therefore, patients need to drink enough water otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and cause constipation.

3. Suggest some good foods for people with constipation

3.1 Vegetable spinach

Malabar spinach is a refreshing vegetable, rich in nutrients, easy to digest, and a good laxative for people with constipation. The laxative effect of spinach is thanks to the mucus in the vegetable that softens stools and stimulates intestinal motility, helping to effectively prevent and treat constipation.

3.2 Jute vegetables

Jute vegetables contain a lot of iron, fiber, calcium… Jute vegetables also contain a lot of water and mucus, which have the effect of lubricating, softening stool, increasing intestinal circulation, helping to push stool out easily, so it is very good for people with poor appetite, anorexia, indigestion, constipation…

People with constipation can eat plain jute soup or cook jute vegetables with field crabs to help ease digestion, prevent constipation, and provide more calcium for the body.

3.3 Spinach

There are many types of amaranth such as rice amaranth, spiny amaranth, white amaranth… all are easy to eat and have nutritional value, especially red amaranth cooks quickly and is delicious in soup. In addition to cooling the liver and clearing heat, amaranth also contains high fiber content to help prevent and effectively improve constipation.

People with constipation should eat boiled red amaranth mixed with sesame oil or black sesame powder, served with rice. Or using red amaranth to cook soup is also very good.

3.4 Sweet potato

In addition to providing nutritional content such as vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6 and essential minerals, sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber and are good for people with constipation because it can promote the digestion process. Digest.

Fiber in sweet potatoes helps regulate intestinal motility, promoting the elimination of waste from the digestive tract. It also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, supporting a healthy digestive system.

3.5 Pear

An average pear contains about 5.5g of fiber. The fiber in pears includes both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. The fiber in pear skins is insoluble in water and helps move stool along the intestines. Soluble fiber is found in the flesh of pears, which when combined with water forms a gel that swells in the stool.

Not only rich in fiber, eating pears also has a good laxative effect due to the higher fructose content and the presence of sorbitol, which helps promote increased intestinal motility, making stools soft and easy to defecate.

3.6 Apple

Like pears, apples get significant amounts of fiber from the apple peel, a type of insoluble fiber, and pectin, a form of soluble fiber found in the fruit’s flesh.

An average apple has about 4g of fiber. Research shows that pectin can reduce symptoms of constipation by reducing stool transit time and increasing the rate of stool elimination.

3.7 Grapefruit, orange

One grapefruit and one orange contain about 4g of fiber. Like apples, citrus fruits have soluble fiber in the form of pectin, which helps relieve constipation. In addition, citrus fruits also contain the flavonoid naringenin, which has a laxative effect.

3.8 Chia seeds

Despite their very small size, chia seeds are very nutritious and contain lots of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other micronutrients.

The effects of chia seeds on gut health have been studied in animals and laboratories. Some studies show that chia seeds can improve intestinal tissue health, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, change the absorption of certain dietary ingredients and reduce constipation.

Gut friendly bacteria and other microorganisms play an important role in digestion as well as overall health. The fiber in chia seeds is said to slow down the digestive process, giving the body more time to absorb nutrients from food.

Because the nature of chia seeds is that they are hydrated and expand when soaked in water, make sure to measure the appropriate serving size. The minimum soaking time for chia seeds is 10-15 minutes and the recommended seed-to-liquid ratio is 1:9.

Do not eat too many chia seeds, only use about 1-2 spoons per day. For new users, you should start with a small amount, about half a spoonful of chia seeds, to test the adaptation of your digestive system, then you can gradually increase it.

When eating chia seeds, you should drink more water to avoid gastrointestinal side effects such as discomfort, bloating…

In addition to building a reasonable diet, people with constipation also need to pay attention to a number of other healthy living habits such as:

  • Exercise regularly: Exercise helps increase bowel movements and promote digestion.
  • Create a regular bowel habit: You should defecate at a fixed time each day, preferably after breakfast.
  • Avoid holding in when you want to defecate: Holding in can cause stools to become dry and hard and more difficult to pass.
  • If your constipation does not improve after applying the above measures, you should see a doctor for appropriate advice and treatment
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