When you’re constipated, waste builds up in your bowels. Constipation can leave you feeling bloated, heavy, low in energy, irritable, and without a healthy appetite.
Finding relief from constipation can be a real challenge! In order to avoid constipation, you might need to make some changes in your diet, including avoiding foods that trigger bowel obstruction, as well as consuming more foods that keep your gut functioning smoothly and healthily.
Dr. Ulin Sargeant addresses constipation problems through her primary care and urgent care services at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care in Duarte, California. Dr. Sargeant specializes in internal medicine, and can advise you on the right way to handle current constipation and how to avoid future episodes of bowel obstruction.
If you want to adjust your diet to help keep constipation at bay, here’s what you need to know about foods to avoid and the best foods to choose to keep your bowels healthy.
Watch out for obstructors
Some foods increase your risk of constipation. Individual responses to foods may vary, but if you’re frustrated about frequent constipation, it makes sense to experiment with eliminating or reducing some common constipation trigger foods.
Foods that contain little or no dietary fiber fill you up but can leave you with dry, compacted stools that are difficult to pass. Snack foods like chips, fast foods, and highly processed prepared foods like hot dogs can leave you struggling with constipation.
White bread, white rice, and pasta made from refined flour are a lot harder on your gut than whole-wheat equivalents.
Dairy also contributes to constipation for many. Reducing dairy or cutting it out of your diet may help you stay regular.
Get plenty of fiber
Fiber is a part of many foods, and it helps keep bowel activity smooth, regular, and on track. If you have concerns about constipation, your priority should be getting more fiber into your diet. It’s important to add fiber gradually, letting your body adjust to the increase.
You can find fiber in many foods, so you have lots of options! Fiber-rich foods include:
- Whole grains, including whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, bran cereal, and oatmeal
- Beans and legumes like black beans, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, and chickpeas
- Nuts including peanuts, almonds, and walnuts
- Fruits and vegetables such as berries, whole apples, carrots, and leafy greens
The US government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average adult should aim for around 22-34 grams of fiber intake every day.
Support for when you struggle with constipation
When you need professional advice about your gut health, turn to Dr. Sargeant and the team at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care. We offer walk-in and telemedicine services, so your consultation with a doctor can happen with a minimum amount of hassle or disruption.
If you’ve been feeling backed up, or if constipation is a regular side effect of your diet, lifestyle, or medications, get in touch with Dr. Sargeant. Call ahead or visit our virtual office to make an appointment, or walk-in during our open hours.