RETROFLEXIONS: A high-fiber diet, and other natural ways to beat constipation
No one likes to talk about it, but everyone deals with constipation at one time or another. The good news is that there are a few simple changes that you can make to help your digestive system run smoothly.
In order to help prevent constipation, it’s important to understand what exactly happens in your digestive tract. When we eat food, it passes through our digestive tract and the water from the food we eat is absorbed; what is left forms into stool. Your muscles then work to move the stool through your colon and rectum. Sometimes, this movement can slow down and your colon can draw out too much water, leading to a stool that is dry and hard to pass.
If your constipation symptoms are severe and constant, it’s important to check with your doctor. But in most cases, constipation is just a sign that your diet needs more fiber. Below are a few tips to help keep you regular:
Incorporate more fruits & vegetables:
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women ages 31-50 are advised to eat at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men in the same age range are advised to eat about 31 grams of fiber daily. Try to choose fruits and vegetables with peels or skins on them, as this carries the most fiber. Whole fruits such as plums, pears, and apples make a filling snack and are packed with pectin, a naturally occurring fiber.
Choose whole grains:
Whole grains are complex carbohydrates packed with dietary fiber. Always look for the word “whole,” as certain breads may just be made from enriched flour and not necessarily whole grains. You can fit fiber into every meal of the day. For example, rye bread, oats, and bran make delicious breakfast options. For lunch, try experimenting with ancient grains such as barley, farro, and quinoa...
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