Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems. It is defined as having fewer than 2 bowel movements per week, and is known to be more common in women than men. When such constipation occurs, the stool becomes excessively hard, requiring excessive force during defecation, and various symptoms such as anorectal obstruction and incomplete defecation are accompanied. Constipation can be broadly divided into primary due to motor dysfunction of the colon and rectum without a clear cause, and secondary forms due to specific diseases and various environmental factors. Irregular eating habits, overwork, stress, and low activity are the main factors that make constipation worse. Therefore, if constipation symptoms are frequent when not due to primary and specific diseases, it can be seen that the current bad lifestyle and eating habits greatly affect the occurrence of constipation. In particular, the type and shape of food consumed every day can be said to be the most important factor in relieving and causing constipation. So today, let’s look at some of the foods that cause constipation.
Foods that cause constipation
1. Red meat
The habit of eating too much red meat such as pork and beef can greatly affect the occurrence of constipation. Red meat has a high content of animal fat and low dietary fiber, which may act as a cause of constipation. In addition, since it takes longer to digest than vegetables and fruits, it is said that if you continue the habit of eating a lot of red meat when you are constipated, it can make constipation worse. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce red meat intake when constipation is severe. In addition, to reduce protein intake due to reduced meat intake, increasing the intake of vegetable protein such as legumes and tofu can be a good way.
2. Dairy products
Dairy products such as milk and cheese are rich in nutrients such as calcium and various essential amino acids, but if consumed in excess, they can cause constipation. Dairy products are low in fiber compared to other nutrients, so it is recommended to improve the habit of consuming dairy products in excess. Diarrhea and stomach upset due to consumption of dairy products can be attributed to lactose intolerance caused by the inability to digest lactose. It is important to keep this in mind and control your intake, as dairy products do not relieve constipation, but rather stimulate the intestines, causing symptoms such as diarrhea.
Eggs, which are rich in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and have various beneficial effects on the body, also have a low content of dietary fiber, which directly acts to activate intestinal motility, like the aforementioned dairy products. Therefore, if you are going to eat eggs when you are constipated, eating with vegetables rich in dietary fiber such as cabbage, carrots, and spinach will help relieve symptoms of constipation, and you can consume the rich nutrients of eggs more effectively.
Consistently drinking too much alcohol can also cause constipation. When alcohol is consumed, the body concentrates on detoxification for the decomposition of alcohol, which weakens the metabolic function in the intestine and interferes with peristalsis, which should normally be done. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can cause water loss, which can lead to dehydration, which affects the occurrence of constipation. In addition, salty foods, which are often eaten as snacks while drinking alcohol, can also cause constipation because they promote a diuretic effect that expels water from the body more quickly. Therefore, if constipation continues, it is recommended to reduce the drinking habit of drinking excessively.
5. Fried food
Consistent intake of various fried foods in oil can also cause constipation and worsen symptoms. Many fried foods are high in fat and low in dietary fiber, which slows down digestion. In addition, salt added during the cooking process of various fried foods also promotes a lack of water in the body, which can also cause constipation.
6. Caffeinated beverages
Caffeine, a kind of alkaloid, activates metabolism and the sympathetic nervous system throughout the body, and has various actions such as arousal of the mind, prevention of drowsiness and fatigue, and improvement of concentration and memory. However, excessive consumption of coffee, tea, and beverages containing caffeine can also cause constipation. Caffeine is also excellent in diuretic action to help the body drain water, because this action causes a lack of water in the body and delays the passage of food through the intestines. Therefore, when constipation is severe, it is important to reduce consumption of coffee, tea, energy drinks, and carbonated drinks.
Other foods that can cause constipation
In addition to the various foods introduced above, eating habits that consume persimmons in excess can also cause constipation. Since the large amount of tannin contained in persimmon causes the intestinal mucosa to contract and at the same time slows intestinal movement, it is recommended to avoid excessive intake. In addition, while ripe yellow bananas are rich in dietary fiber, which helps to activate intestinal motility, unripe bananas contain a high content of resistant starch, which puts a burden on digestion, which can cause constipation. In addition, refined wheat flour is also low in dietary fiber and contains a large amount of gluten, an insoluble protein, which can cause constipation if consumed in excess. Eating whole grains with a high fiber content can be an effective way to prevent constipation caused by continuing to consume refined flour.