Strategy to prevent constipation
Constipation can be prevented by eating fiber rich foods, drinking plenty of fluids, and exercise.
1. Eat about 25 to 30 grams of fiber, and ½ gallon of water every day. The fiber is found only in plant foods such as grains, vegetables, beans, and fruits. There is no fiber in meats, eggs, dairy products, and oils.
2 . Exercise walk 20 to 30 minutes after meals.
3. Eat small meals and chew foods well.
4. Follow each meal with a cup of water
5. Drink 2 cups of warm to hot cup of water in the morning. This will distend the stomach and stimulate the bowels. You may flavor water with Honey, salt, lime juice or any combinations there of. Coffee or tea latte are not appropriate substitutes.
6. Reduce stress and rest.
7. Reduce or eliminate iron supplements (in excess of 30 mg/day).
1. Use Whole grain flours (Atta made with whole wheat, Bajra, Corn) to make Roti/Chapati. You may consider adding 1 tablespoon of Flax seeds to each cup of Atta to make Roti.
2. To make Dosa/ Idli, reduce the ratio of rice to Urad to 1:1. Also use brown rice instead of white Idli rice. This will increase the fiber. You may consider adding Flax seed to the batter before making the Dosa or Idli.
3. Reduce the amount of rice. If you must, use brown Basmati, or brown long grain rice.
4. In United States, Popcorn, and whole wheat crackers, shredded wheat cereals are a good source of fiber.
5. Don't use products made with refined flours such as Maida, All purpose flour. Avoid products made from refined flours such as Poori, Samosa, Mathri, Cake.
1. Eat fruits with skin. Examples: Apples, Apricots, Peaches. Pears, Plums (Aloobukhara), Pears, Guava, and grapes.
2. Eat fruits with high water content: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Papaya
3. Eat dried fruits: Raisins, Apricots, Prunes, figs.
4. Bananas act as lubricant for the intestines.
5. Avoid fruit juices, except for apple juice, pear and prune juice. Most of the juices have little or no fiber.
1. All vegetables are good to prevent constipation. Raw vegetables help with constipation more than cooked vegetables.
2. Okra, cooked/raw cauliflower, cooked/raw spinach help lubricate intestines.
3. Band Gobi (Cabbage), peas, sweet potatoes help relieve constipation.
4. Avoid vegetable juices. They have little or no fiber.
Dairy products have no fiber, and the fats in dairy products (Paneer, whole milk, Butter, or Ghee) may cause constipation. Low fat milk is acceptable. Cultured milk products (Dahi, Chach) are preferred as they are more easily digestible.
Meats (Lamb, beef, chicken, fish)
Meats have no fiber, and the saturated fats in meats may cause constipation.
1. Don't eat meats with visible high fats, including marbling in the steaks
2. Don't eat chicken with skin on.
3. Omega 3 fatty acids in fish acts as a lubricant for the colon.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts rich in Omega 3 fatty acids with DHA and EPA (sunflower seeds, peanuts, flax seeds, walnuts, black sesame seeds) help keep colon lubricated. The Flax seeds are also high in fiber.
Dried beans (Dal)
Dried beans such as Cholay, Rajma, Toor Dal have both soluble and insoluble fiber and should a part of all diets to prevent constipation.