Constantly Constipated? Incorporate these foods that improve digestion and you will be feeling better in no time
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, which approximately 12 to 19 percent of people struggle with. In addition to causing stomach aches and bloating, chronic constipation can cause even more serious health problems, such as hemorrhoids, colonic conditions, urologic disorders and more. Treating it is a $235 million a year business, but studies show that the best way to combat constipation is to make lifestyle and dietary changes. By eating foods that improve digestion, you can overcome constipation once and for all.
Causes of constipation
If you’ve been putting up with chronic constipation there’s some good news. By understanding what is causing it, you can best put an end to it.
Our digestive system relies upon plenty of fiber and water to push foods through the intestinal tract. However, the vast majority of Americans are dehydrated and get less than half the daily amount of fiber dieticians recommend. When our diets don’t contain enough of either, our GI system struggles to run smoothly.
Some other causes of constipation include:
- Eating lots of dairy products
- Not getting enough exercise or movement throughout the day
- Problems with the nerves and muscles in your digestive system
- Other medical conditions, such as an underactive thyroid, irritable bowel syndrome or pregnancy.
When you combine one or more of these causes, it’s a recipe for hard times on the toilet.
Here are 7 foods that improve digestion that you can incorporate today to get things moving:
7 foods that improve digestion
The trick to getting things moving quickly is to eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of liquids. By improving your fiber intake and your hydration you can get your GI tract back on track. If you’ve already tried – and tired – of the same old constipation cures, like oatmeal, don’t worry. Here are 7 foods that improve digestion to incorporate in your diet.
Aloe Vera Juice
In addition to making your skin soft and your sunburn go away, aloe vera juice is a natural remedy for constipation. When ingested, its fluid is drawn into your stool, making it softer. Additionally, small doses of aloe juice can help your body digest protein. A potent and effective laxative, you should take aloe with caution. Don’t take it for more than two consecutive weeks, as it can result in a loss of electrolytes.
Put some in your smoothie in the morning to help things move smoothly throughout the day.
One cup of red lentils contains a whopping 16 grams of fiber. In addition to helping alleviate constipation, lentils are a great source of protein, can stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
Make a red lentil soup that will not only pump you with fiber but also hydrate you. This red lentil soup with lemon recipe takes only minutes to make and will keep you full and hydrated. Too hot for soup? Try this red lentil dip.
Artichokes contain more fiber per serving than any other vegetable. Don’t let their prickly leaves fool you – they are simple to cook and fun to eat.
Okra is a staple in the south and arguably one of the most underappreciated vegetables. There is almost a third of the daily recommended amount of fiber in a one cup serving. It’s also a great source of protein and is packed with nutrients.
If you can’t find fresh okra near you, check the frozen section of your supermarket.
Okra is delicious roasted. Toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
There is no better time of year to enjoy sweet, split peas. One cup of split peas contains 16 grams of fiber, and blended in a pureed soup, is easy on your stomach.
If you have a stomach ache and are hungry but having trouble eating anything, try this easy split pea soup.
Okay, it can’t technically be considered one of the foods that improve digestion because it is a liquid. But without it, none of these other foods will help much.
The average adult needs 64 ounces of clean, pure water each day in order to stay hydrated.
Here are some tips on how to stay hydrated throughout the day, as well as some science-backed benefits of drinking lemon water early in the morning. Also, if you are struggling with any of these things, you may want to really consider increasing your water intake significantly.
Move over quinoa: there is a new ancient grain in town. Farro contains more fiber than most other grains, including quinoa and rice. A half cup contains 8 grams of both fiber and protein, almost three times as much as quinoa. It only takes 10 minutes to make, and is one of the most nutrient-dense whole grains you could be including in your diet.
Make a farro Israeli salad by combining chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion with a cup of farro, some olive oil and salt and pepper. You’ll love the chewy texture and nutty taste – and the way it satiates you and helps your belly.
Other natural ways to alleviate constipation
- Avoid processed and sugary foods
- Drink warm liquids throughout the day
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Use a hot water bottle
- Incorporate more movement throughout your day.
Drink more water – #takeitwithu!
The hardest part about drinking more water is having it nearby so you remember to drink it.
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Have other favorite foods that improve digestion?
Have you overcome constipation by eating more foods that improve digestion? Let us know any tips you have in the comments section below.