Kiss Constipation Goodbye with These Food Choices!
Even though running is a sport that can potentially be hard on the guts — what, with all the pounding — some runners still battle with issues related to constipation. Many runners report that running helps keep them “regular,” with predictable bowel movements, but for those of us who aren’t so lucky, dealing with constipation can throw a real wrench in our running (and our lives).
Fortunately, aside from trekking to the pharmacy for some powerful over-the-counter medicines, one way we can ameliorate our constipation lies in our daily food choices. This isn’t to say that differing our diet will altogether eliminate our constipation woes; however, varying our diet can help to lessen our constipation frequency.
Below, I’ll offer a handful of food suggestions that may help you kiss constipation goodbye. It goes without saying, though, that your medical practitioner’s advice supersedes anything that you read online, so when in doubt, ask a qualified, real-life medical professional.
Consider consuming the following food to help you lessen your constipation:
Prunes. If you’re a parent, you already know that prunes are magic. Prunes in their many forms have been used by parents the world over to help their babies have bowel movements. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to consume baby food-style prunes in order to reap their benefits. You can have them dried, in salads, whole, in baked goods, in smoothies, and more. Prunes are laden with fiber, which we all know can play a huge role in relieving constipation.
Pears. Again, parents already know the magic of “P” foods in helping to ameliorate their young children’s constipation. Pears are delicious in and of themselves, and of course, just like prunes, you have the option of tossing them into a salad, throwing them into some sort of baked good deliciousness, or mixing them in up a smoothie.
Peaches. I told you that “P” foods were magical when it comes to constipation relief! As is the case with pears, peaches are wonderful to consume by themselves, but if for some reason you can’t stomach the flavor (what is wrong with you!? kidding…), toss those bad boys into a smoothie or baked good or even over some oatmeal. Pears, peaches, and prunes are all great fiber sources, and since constipation is often caused by a lack of fiber in one’s diet, it makes sense that this trio can be instrumental to bringing relief.
Water. Though it’s not a “food,” per se, regularly drinking water can help relieve constipation. For many people, they suffer from constipation due to not drinking enough water. If you can’t stand the taste of water, liven yours up a bit by including some lemon or lime into it (or rosemary, or ginger, or apple, or anything else that sounds good to you)!
Figs. Figs are a wonderful source of fiber, just like the aforementioned fruits, and thus can be a great way to relieve or prevent constipation. Similarly, figs are delicious to consume by themselves or can be added to other sweet or savory dishes.
Greens, including spinach, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. It might not be your first instinct to associate eating greens, like spinach, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts, with relieving constipation, but as it turns out, these nutritional powerhouses are good for more than just making you buff. These greens can add “bulk” and “weight” to bowel movements, which in turn makes passing them much more easily. And guess what? Just like all the other foods we’ve discussed thus far into this post, these greens are super versatile. You needn’t consume an enormous bowl of spinach or Brussel sprouts (unless you want to, of course)! Instead, you can pretty effortlessly add any of these to salads, smoothies, or baked goods and can still reap their benefits. Consider these greens as a two-for-one, in that not only are you conferring tons of nutritional benefits to yourself, but you’re also doing your bowels a solid (no pun intended!) and helping to move things along.
Pulses, which includes beans, peas, and lentils. Arguably the most underdog of healthy foods out there are the wee pulses, which refers to a category of foods that spans beans, peas, and lentils. Typically, in the grocery store these guys are among the most inexpensive things you can buy — and particularly from the bulk bins — but holy smokes, they pack a punch! If you’re plant-based, you already know that beans, peas, and lentils are wonderful protein sources, but even if you’re not, you’ve got something to gain from eating the lowly pulses. When it comes to fiber, pulses are where it’s at. We all have grown up singing the “beans beans, the musical fruit; the more you eat, the more you toot!; the more you toot, the better you feel!; so why not have beans for every meal?!” song, and there really is something to it. Beans help keep you regular, if not a little gassy, and we all feel better when we’re going if you catch my drift. There is so much variety in the pulse category — you can probably name five different types of beans without thinking too hard about it — and consequently, practically endless number of ways to prepare them. Experiment with this category in particular, and I can bet that your gut will thank you.
With some trial and error, you may find that these food choices can help you to kiss constipation goodbye. Sometimes constipation occurs because of a dietary deficiency — such as when we don’t drink enough water or when we don’t eat enough fiber — and that can be easily rectifiable. Other times, however, we can suffer from constipation as an unwanted side effect from medicines. If you are experiencing constipation due to your medicines, consider chatting with your doctor about your concerns.
It bears mentioning, too, that sometimes eating a fiber-rich diet can backfire, and you may find yourself going a lot more than you bargained for. Particularly if you’re running or exercising vigorously, be mindful of how much fiber you’re consuming, and when you’re consuming it, in relation to when you exercise so as to avoid having a mid-workout “oops” moment.
Constipation can be extremely uncomfortable and even painful, but dietary modifications may be all that you need to do to get yourself feeling back to normal again. Give it a whirl, and your gut may be glad that you did.