Looking to keep constipation at bay? Here are a few tips that may help you
Fill up on fibre
You may hear this all the time, but that's because it's so important! Fibre adds bulk and roughage to your stools, which helps to move it along your bowel. The average adult should try to eat 18 to 30 grams of fibre every day. It’s essential to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre on a regular basis. This is more beneficial than overloading on fibre-rich foods all at once, as this can bloat you out.
Get enough fluids
If you don’t drink enough it can make your stools harder and more difficult to pass. Try to drink as much water, juices or herbal beverages as possible.
Cut down on packaged and processed foods
We all have the occasional takeaway or ready meal, which is no big deal but if you suffer from constipation cook from scratch as often as you can. Although refined foods are convenient they often have the fibre stripped out.
Don’t drink too much tea and coffee
A little of either can give you some of your fluids but if you overdo the caffeine it can lead to dehydration which can cause constipation or make it worse.
This is especially important for people on a diet – try to eat breakfast to get your system moving and if you can, eat at regular times because going a long time without eating can slow down the time food and waste takes to pass through your system.
Keep an eye on your medications
If you are taking medication which is leaving you constipated speak to a pharmacist or your doctor, but, don’t change the dosage or stop taking it without medical advice first.
Don’t get stressed
Stress affects our bowels in different ways, and some people find that being stressed out gives them constipation. Our advice is not to stress over the constipation, as you'll end up in a vicious cycle. Exercise is a good stressbuster, or you could try yoga, meditation, even just a warm bath.
Yes, just another reason why you should move about a bit. You don't have to become a dedicated gym-bunny; just a brisk walk or a kick-about with the kids in the park is enough to get your heart rate up and hopefully your bowels moving too.
Go at the same time everyday
Try to eat regularly and get your bowels into a routine too. If you’ve got time in the morning why not see if you can go to the toilet? Changes in your daily routine can mess with your bowel habits – holidays, new jobs, that sort of thing, so getting back into a routine as soon as you can might prevent constipation from setting in.
Factor in your hormones
Hormones can be disruptive in women, this means pregnancy, going through and leading up to the menopause and monthly periods can have an added effect – constipation. It happens to the best of us, so just keep an eye on your hormones and be prepared with the lifestyle tips when you're hormonal.