Making a commitment to your health is an important step to take, and once you make that decision it’s very important to stick to it. This doesn’t mean that you have to always be 100% on top of your diet and exercise regime – you are allowed to take days off and enjoy a cheat meal here and there, mental health is just as important as physical health. So now that you’ve committed to a healthy diet and you’re eating right, why are you all of a sudden suffering from bloating, constipation and other gastrointestinal discomforts? Isn’t eating clean supposed to make you feel good all the time? While it may seem counterintuitive, it is not uncommon for people to experience digestive trouble when they initially change their lifestyle and diet. Whether you cut out sugar, dairy, gluten or adopted a Paleo diet, there’s a big change that your body is going through and it will take some time to adjust. It’s funny to think about side effects when talking about a healthy lifestyle, but it happens, which is why it’s important to consider eating, diet and nutrition for constipation when making any kind of lifestyle changes. Here are some common reasons why you may be experiencing digestive discomfort if you have recently changed your diet.
- Many popular and trendy diets, like Paleo, Keto and gluten free plans significantly cut out grains and even some fruits and vegetables, which means your new diet lacks soluble fiber. Diets will replace grains with alternatives like leafy greens, berries and nuts, which are high in insoluble fiber. The main difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is that soluble fiber can hold onto water, which keeps your stool bulky and soft and makes it easier to go to the bathroom. Insoluble fiber can’t really hold onto water as it passes through the digestive tract, which will slow down your bowel movements and create stool that is hard and dried out when it’s time for you to go to the bathroom. Ways to combat this issue is to include foods like zucchini, carrots, pumpkins, avocado, chia seeds or cantaloupe into your diet. Additionally a supplement like magnesium can also help to promote softer stool more often.
- If you’ve recently started following a low fat or plant-based diet you may find that you’re not going to the bathroom as often. A fun fact for you to know is that fat actually communicates with your digestive system letting it know that food is on the way and to prepare the colon so that it moves the food along once you’ve eaten. When you adopt a low-fat diet, you’ll find that your digestive system response is a little bit slower than usual. But this can easily be fixed by incorporating healthy fats into your meals – like nut butters, salmon, olive oil, hummus and avocado.
- Natural sugars, that come from foods like milk, yogurt, bananas, watermelon, dried fruits and certain veggies offer a mild laxative effect on your digestive system, which helps you maintain a regular bathroom schedule. So, if you were eating these foods before, but have now restricted your diet to stay away from these types of sugars you will see a slowdown in your digestion and could experience constipation.
Constipation is a common complaint from individuals who undergo a significant lifestyle change in an effort to be healthier and eat better. Eating certain foods can help alleviate symptoms of constipation, while still allowing you to enjoy a balanced diet and regular exercise routine – here are some eating, diet and nutrition tips for constipation:
- Drinking a lot of water can help ease or resolve symptoms of constipation.
- Many dairy products, including yogurt, contain probiotics that are known as “good bacteria” and can improve gut health and soften stools.
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas are very high in fiber, which can promote good digestion and reduce constipation.
- Clear soups and broths are easy to prepare, delicious and very easy to digest.
- Prunes and prune juice are a tried and true home remedy for constipation. Prunes have a lot of fiber; a nutrient known to ease and speed up bowel movements.
- Apples and pears are two fruits that contain fiber, sorbitol and fructose – compounds that can improve digestion and prevent constipation.
- Whole wheat bread, cereal and pasta are an excellent source of fiber that can speed up the flow of food through your intestines.
- Olive oil and flaxseed oil are known to offer a mild laxative effect, which can increase digestion and relieve constipation.
If you’re really struggling with digestive issues after changing your diet, make sure to speak with your physician. If you’re interested in more weight loss programs or guidance and information on enjoying a healthy lifestyle – then please contact us!