Have You Been Eating These 7 Foods? They Can Cause Constipation

There are certain foods that may cause constipation when eaten in excess or at the wrong time. Have a look.

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: November 03, 2017 16:51 IST

Have You Been Eating These 7 Foods? They Can Cause Constipation
  • Lack of fiber, dehydration or a lack of exercise causes constipation
  • Too much caffeine can cause constipation
  • White bread is high on starch and can lead to delayed digestion
Constipation is an uncomfortable situation that puts your gut in trouble. Being constipated simply means that your bowel movements are tough or irregular as they happen less often than normal. Going any longer than three days may pose a problem as the stool tends to become harder and difficult to pass. The most obvious causes of constipation are lack of fiber in your diet, not drinking enough water or a lack of exercise but there are some other possible causes of constipation that you may have not considered up until now.

According to Delhi-based Nutritionist Dr. Tapasya Mundhra, "Taking supplements for calcium and iron can also cause constipation in some people. Therefore, always make sure that you add a lot of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet if you're taking these supplements to avoid constipation." Besides this, there are certain foods that may cause constipation when eaten in excess or at the wrong time. Have a look.

1. Unripe bananas

You may have heard that bananas are full of fiber and help in relieving constipation, but we are talking about unripe bananas here. According to Dr. Tapasya Mundhra, "Unripe bananas with the green skin can cause constipation as they are high in starch which makes your body work harder to digest then and therefore, they move sluggishly through the digestive tract."

unripe bananasUnripe banana takes more time to digest, thus leading to constipation.
2. Caffeine

Can't get through your day without too many cups of tea and coffee? It's time to make a few changes. Too much caffeine can cause constipation. "Caffeine stimulates your colon but too much of it can also cause dehydration which can leave you constipated," explains Dr. Tapasya Mundhra.

(Also read: Why You Shouldn't Start Your Day With a Cup of Tea)

caffeineToo much Caffeine can cause dehydration.

3. White bread

"White bread has a high content of starch and can lead to delayed digestion. This may slower your bowel movements and cause constipation. Opt for multi-grain or whole wheat bread if you want to. Also, instead of consuming plain buttered toast, make a sandwich with fresh veggies to add fiber to your meal," suggests Delhi-based Dietitian Dr. Simran Saini.

white breadHigh content of starch in white bread can lower your bowel movements.

4. Refined flours and grains

Refined ingredients like white flour or maida, white rice and food items made with it such as cookies and pasta have little fiber and can contribute to constipation. Fiber-less refined flour basically acts like glue in your intestine which can hamper digestion and delay your bowel movements. "Limit your intake and when you have them try combing them with fiber-rich foods like pasta with sauteed vegetables or a vegetable pulao. You can even switch to brown rice." advises Dr. Ritika Sammadar, Nutritionist at Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi.

riceRefined flour, which has little fiber, can cause constipation.

5. Foods that contain gluten

One of the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance may be constipation. Even if you are slightly averse to gluten, consuming foods that contain it may slow down your digestion which can ultimately lead to constipation, shares Dr. Tapasaya Mundhra. So, if you've been feeling constipated quite often, pay attention to all that you have been eating on a daily basis and a consult a doctor if you feel you could be gluten intolerant.

(Also read: 10 Unknown Signs and Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance)

Gluten intolerance can lead to high constipation.

6. Eating apples at night

Apples are full or fiber and are great to relieve constipation when eaten early morning. However, when consumed at night, the same pectin fiber it contains interferes with your intestinal digestive functions and leaves you constipated in the morning, explains Dr. Simran Saini. Eating too much soluble fiber can also cause constipation because it dissolves in water before being excreted. So, if you don't drink enough water you may end up being constipated even after having a fiber-rich diet. Apple peels contain insoluble fiber while the flesh is full of soluble fiber. Therefore, there's a higher chance of being constipated if you eat peeled apples at night.

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(Also read: 5 Yoga Poses That Can Relieve Constipation)

applesEating too much soluble fibers at night can lead to constipation.

7. Chocolate

You may be a chocolate lover, but anything in excess can affect your health. Chocolate is high on fat and contains almost no fiber. It can slow down your digestion process and the passage of food through the colon. If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it can even aggravate your symptoms.

Chocolates have fat and almost no fiber, hence chances of constipation due to chocolates are always high.

CommentsYou should also avoid consuming too many processed foods as they contain high amounts of sodium, fats and sugars that take much longer to digest, can put an extra load on your kidneys (that eliminates wastes) and lead to constipation.

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