Chronic constipation is a disorder that impacts between 15 and 20% of people in the United States. It is the most common digestive disorder responsible for about 25 million doctor visits per year.
Frustratingly, there is no one known cause of chronic constipation but the symptoms reported by most of those suffering from it are:
- Uncomfortable bloating around the abdomen
The disorder is described as infrequent bowel movements for weeks at a time. When constipation sufferers do finally have a bowel movement, the stool is small and hard formed.
There are prescription medications and dozens of over the counter laxatives and remedies, but one of the best ways to remedy chronic constipation is in the produce aisle.
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The Diet Digestion Connection
The old saying “you are what you eat,” is trite but true. It’s no secret that your diet definitely affects your gastrointestinal tract (GI). Eating foods rich in fiber with high water content can help relieve the symptoms of constipation and keep it from becoming long-term or chronic constipation.
The Fab 5
Most people have been told by their grandmother or read in magazines that eating more prune and less cheese will help you avoid constipation. Beans and broccoli are also known to be high in fiber, but you don’t have to limit yourself to a few foods. There are some very healthy and delicious vegetables that are high in fiber, and very hydrating.
High fiber foods and being properly hydrated helps relieve chronic constipation and supplies your body with essential vitamins and nutrients. As an added bonus, this fab five in the produce aisle delivers almost as much water as glass from the tap.
- Cucumber – this mild tasting but refreshing salad topper has about 115 grams of water per cup (sliced with the peel) but only 16 calories. It’s also loaded with other nutrients like electrolytes, vitamins K and A, calcium, and even iron, just to name a few.
- Iceberg Lettuce – this leaf has gotten an undeserved reputation for being low in nutritional value. That’s simply not the case. It’s loaded with water. Two cups of iceberg lettuce supplies you with 1.8 grams of fiber, some vitamin K and vitamin A, too.
- Celery – also maligned as nutritionally devoid, the crunchy stalks actually offer up a healthy dose of H2O and a lot of other nutrients. The fiber content will help relieve constipation while the many antioxidants, like the vitamins C and A, offer important health benefits too.
- Zucchini - similar looking to a cucumber, this summer squash has a lot to offer. If you are a constipation sufferer, adding it to your diet not only means more refreshing hydration, but also a significant amount of fiber (with the peel on). Zucchini is a good source of potassium and the vitamins C and A.
- Radishes - this crunchy, spicy root vegetable boasts 95.3 grams of water in a 100 mg serving. Not only is it a thirst buster, it is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. The radish even has a bit of hard-to-get-in-a-veggie Omega-3 fatty acids.
If you haven’t been keeping a regular schedule in the bathroom, try whipping up a big salad with these five vegetables and get things moving in the right direction.