Can Certain Foods Cause Constipation?

Constipation is a common problem that affects up to 27% of adults, causing symptoms such as bloating and gas. While certain foods can contribute to constipation, there are also many foods that can help relieve it. You can get constipated if you don't eat enough high-fiber foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eating lots of meats, dairy products and eggs, candies, or processed foods that are high in fat can cause constipation.

Alcohol is frequently mentioned as a likely cause of constipation, but no studies have been found on the direct relationship between alcohol consumption and constipation. Poor hydration, whether due to not drinking enough water or losing too much of it through the urine, is often related to a higher risk of constipation. Processed grains and their products, such as white bread, white rice and white pasta, are lower in fiber and may cause more constipation than whole grains. Many studies have linked higher fiber intake to a lower risk of constipation.

In some cases, however, excess fiber can make constipation worse rather than relieving it. Red meat can make constipation worse for three main reasons: it is generally high in fat and low in fiber; it replaces fiber-rich foods in the diet; and it takes longer for the body to digest high-fat foods. Interestingly, many people believe that chocolate is a major cause of constipation. Fried foods and fast foods often contain large amounts of salt, which can reduce the water content of stools, dry them out and hinder their circulation through the body.

Astringent persimmons contain a large amount of tannins, a compound believed to reduce intestinal secretions and contractions, thus slowing bowel movements. Fortunately, there are many foods that can help ease constipation and keep you regular. These include both types of fiber such as potatoes and apples; plant-based proteins like beans, lentils and peas; and plant-based milks like almond milk or oat milk. Drinking lots of water can also help with constipation.

However, milk only stops its progress and can even cause constipation in some people because it's harder to digest. Ripe bananas contain high amounts of fiber that can help get things moving while green bananas that are still full of starch have the opposite effect. Cheese is another food that should be avoided if you're experiencing constipation as it can slow digestion. Fried foods are also known to cause constipation due to their high fat content.

Finally, chocolate is also on the list as sweets are known to cause constipation.

Norma Hoofard
Norma Hoofard

Hey, I'm Norma, and as a mom who has dealt with constipation in my own kids, I know how tough it can be. That's why I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge and tips for improving gut health and finding relief. It's not always an easy topic to discuss, but I believe it's important to bring attention to this issue and help others who may be struggling. Join me on this journey towards a happier, healthier gut - let's beat constipation together!