Get regular

February 28, 2012

Constipation, Food, Health Concerns

Being aware of and limiting foods that cause constipation may also help in regulating bowel movements.

by Heather Demeritte — 

Jamie Lee Curtis is not the only one who suffers from the ill-feeling of irregularity. Anyone can suffer an occasional bout of constipation, which is often caused by a variety of factors, including a stressful and busy lifestyle, lack of exercise and diet.

We all know that consuming a high-fiber diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and drinking at least eight to 12 cups of water is beneficial in preventing constipation, but being aware of and limiting foods that cause constipation may also help in regulating bowel movements. Refer to the list below to learn five foods you should temporarily limit or eliminate from your diet.

Five foods to avoid or limit:

Bananas — Although they do have fiber, they are usually recommended by doctors to ease diarrhea because of their binding effect. Go for other high-fiber fruits and vegetables, such as prunes, figs, apples, spinach and beans.

Dairy products — Often milk and cheese, the first culprit of constipation, should be completely eliminated or strictly limited. Look at ingredient lists to make sure milk is not included.

Rice — Like bananas, rice can bind up. Reach for a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free quinoa, instead.

Tea and coffee — Excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages can dehydrate the colon. Instead, properly hydrate with purified water or warm herbal tea. Try a warm cup of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning.

Processed foods — Packaged and enriched products are usually stripped of fiber and are high in fat and sugar. This includes instant potatoes, chips, fried foods, candy bars and frozen entrees.

In addition to sufficient exercise and a balanced lifestyle, an adjustment in your diet may get things running smoothly again, although with all your new good habits, Jamie Lee Curtis might find herself out of a job in TV commercials.


Heather Demeritte is a fitness instructor and dance teacher who is certified by the American Council of Exercise with a degree in early childhood development. She is the author of Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free for the Frugal and Lazy Cook.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number  4, Aug/Sept 2009.

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