8 foods and 4 habits that cause constipation
Which Foods and Habits Cause Constipation?
Constipation is a severe problem for a lot of people, only in the US are affect around 25% of Americans.
It is classified by less than three bowel movements per week and is much worse when the person in question is not aware, and illness becomes CIC (chronic idiopathic constipation), and it is specified in the infrequency, or/and incomplete bowel movements.
Note: Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown.
While some doctors are telling “bowel movement, it should not be less than three times per week” Ayurveda tells us that ``it should be at least one time per day.``
For a person with a healthy diet, free of processed or refined foods, the average transit is about 30 hours.
According to Ayurveda, the ideal transit time is 18 to 24 hours.
The proper stool should be like a peeled ripe banana, in size, shape, color, and includes the concept of transit time (from mouth until the foodstuff expelled) and regularity.
Constipation is caused by many imbalances, such as foods, drinks, lifestyle choices, medication, disease, meal and bathroom habits.
According to Ayurveda the first thing that leads to constipation is the excess of Vata which has as a cause the dry colon.
The second is a sedentary lifestyle characteristic of Kapha.
The third is caused by meat and acid foods which are related to Pitta.
Dehydration and lack of vegetables and fruits in the diet also cause constipation.
Constipation is not only physical but also mental, thoughts and uncomfortable feelings with inability ``to let go`` lead to physical strain.
It becomes like a vicious circle, as long as you are physically constipated, mentally and emotionally become unbalanced and vice versa.
Now that you know what constipation is, it’s important to understand your body-mind and that there are some other different causes.
1. Airy foods
Related to air, the airy foods are light, fast-moving, rough, and dry; promotes lightness and movement and are ideal for weight loss.
Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower) and raw are considered airy in Ayurveda because they promote lightness and movement in the body and in excess cause bloat.
Beans are also airy, has high airy energy which you know, causes gas.
*Salty, higher in sugar foods or drinks, pasta also cause constipation. Do you like shakes, sodas, muffins, homemade cookies, bread, pasta? How much do you eat per day?
Dried fruits are suitable, but also are very high in sugar.
Popcorn is not traditionally recognized by Ayurveda, but in small amounts and being organic is acceptable.
Chips, crackers, fast foods do not contain any nutritional value, are considered dry and light and provoke ama(toxicity in the body).
Alcohol is full of sugar, dehydrating, acidic, while you enjoy a glass of wine maybe harmless, heavy drinks damage your body.
Alcohol negatively affects most of your body’s organs and the colon is one of them.
Consuming large amounts of alcohol lead you to dehydration over time. A dehydrated and dry colon means that stool cannot pass as quickly as it should, leading to constipation.
Pay attention to your Dosha(your physical and mental characteristics), and be sure that the alcohol helps you to be in balance.
3. Processed food
With a high amount of sugar, salt, fats, and chemicals processed foods is a mix of different animal organs (God knows what's in there) and especially targets your colon.
Salt retains body fluid intake, which is absorbed from the colon and makes the stool hard and challenging to move through the digestive tract.
Naturally, the bran contains fiber which helps the stool to move along but is removed during processing, also is less nutritious and may be more constipating than whole grains.
Some people experience the opposite effect, the extra fiber may worsen constipation, rather than relieve it.
So, pay attention to your symptoms, trying to gradually reduce your daily amount of fiber and see the effects.
4. Sweets and Refined/foods
Refined foods like white flour, and sugar (especially the white one) they are so processed that they have lost their fiber.
A protein found in wheat, gluten, gives bread strength and elasticity, allowing it to form air pockets and rise.
Whole grain flours contain less gluten than refined white flour, which is why whole grain bread a lot heavier and denser.
Some people may experience constipation when they eat foods that contain gluten or merely the body does not accept gluten (celiac disease-ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine).
Sugar and refined foods negatively affect many of the body's systems and functions; the nerves can't do their job correctly, and food waste begins to build up into the intestines.
These foods lead to constipation and aggravate the symptom.
5. Animal products-especially red meat
As with sugar, refined and processed foods, Ayurveda does not recommend eating meat unless it is a necessity in sustaining life.
Animal proteins contain few fibers, do not include the necessary enzymes to facilitate digestion, and more than that, it is cumbersome, increases toxicity (ama) which spreads out the body causing imbalance and sits in the gastrointestinal tract undigested.
6. Dairy Products
Possibly due to a sensitivity to the proteins found in cow's milk, dairy products appear to be another common cause of constipation, at least for some people.
Studies had shown that some children with chronic constipation experienced improvements when they stopped consuming cow’s milk.
The cow's milk can be replaced by soy or coconut milk which also Ayurveda recommends, but be sure to be organic: No added sugar or additives.
7. Unripe bananas
Bananas are high in soluble fiber and are often recommended in constipation, but these are unripe bananas which have an amount of resistant starch, makes it difficult to digest and can cause constipation.
When a banana ripens, this starch turns into natural sugars.
Persimmons categorized as either sweet or astringent, are popular and a favorite fruit from Eastern Asia.
The unripe persimmons have a high tannin amount, which makes the fruit astringent and bitter and tannin levels are reduced to mature fruit.
Tannins compound reduce gut secretions and contractions, slowing down the bowel movements.
Habits of incompatible foods combination
As we only eat and the next day we go to the bathroom hoping to get out something big digestion becomes an unknown process for us.
There are different stages of digestion which turn the food in our brain, nose, liver, etc., it becomes you. Isn't incredible what our body makes for us and for our well-being?
But an undigested food causes just toxicity(ama) and lead to constipation.
1. Smoothie-The King of Kings Combination of Ice-Cold Banana and Milk and/or frozen berries.
Don`t do it yourself:
a)Ice cold smoothie
Frozen foods or drinks, are freezing the whole body and the intestines, make them unable to work.
The best way for the body to drink your drinks is at room temperature, but if you can not drink if it`s not cold, before drink put 2-4 min in the refrigerator.
Keep your smoothie no more than three ingredients because your stomach will have a lot of work to do with too many blenders.
c) Bananas and milk??? Oh, no.
Both are mucus forming, and together create too much mucus for the stomach to digest, will be there an extra glue in your stomach.
2) Keep your meals simple
As in case of drinks, Ayurveda teaches us to eat just one kind of food until the finish, and after that the next and so one(ex: the all carrots from soup, after that zucchini and so on).
The best for your body and health but at the same time is a complicated way, so try to have your meals as simple as possible and be fresh.
Over 5000 years Ayurveda tells us to add oil to our cooking (organic and avoid canola), putting on our skin or use as a mask.
Sneha, the Sanskrit word for oil, means love and being saturated with oil is also believed to have a similar effect as being filled with love.
Adding oil to your food makes it easier to digest and allow the food to process better, especially the difficult ones like mung beans, lettuce, zucchini.
Oil is also the best for hydration, the cells can not absorb water without oil.
Bad bathroom habits
On busy days at work, even at home, you have to go to the toilet, but leave it later, or even worse, until you can not help yourself?
In this way, the muscles become confused in the rectum and anal sphincter, the stool remains in the colon, will absorbs water which will make it even more difficult to pass when you want to.
Note: anal sphincter is group of muscles (one internal and one external)at the end of the rectum that surrounds the anus and controls the release of stool.
As long as our days are getting busier, it is a bit difficult to take a minute and to to the toilet, but do not try to make a habit of doing so with the thought of resisting, the effects will be entirely unpleasant.
Maybe, in this case, laxatives will be the answer for you, but if you start to depend on them, the function of your body will do so, and can actually make the constipation worse and very hard to live without them.