Our dietitian shares the foods to focus on for a happier, healthier gut.
Are you feeling stuffy? You’re not alone.
Reportedly, one in seven Australians suffers from constipation, which doesn’t make for a good time in the bathroom.
While there are a lot of things that can contribute to a sluggish gut (think: inactivity or medication), diet is a BIG factor … so I’m here to help you eat to beat constipation.
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Fiber: your ticket to saying goodbye to constipation
You probably already know that fiber is important for a healthy gut, but what might surprise you is that there are many different types of fiber in different types of food, and they don’t all work the same. manner.
The main types of fiber to have on your radar are:
- Insoluble fibers: which absorbs water and adds bulk to your stool. Also known as a ‘brush’, this is the type of fiber you want to focus on to get things done (if you know what I mean …).
- Soluble fiber: which dissolves in water and forms a gel in your gut. This type of fiber keeps you feeling full, promotes a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol levels, and even helps manage blood sugar.
- Resistant starch: which ferments in the large intestine and produces beneficial compounds that work to keep your gut lining healthy.
Foods that help beat constipation
All Fiber types are important in a healthy diet, but when it comes to preventing or treating constipation, insoluble fiber is your best friend. To help you increase your intake of this special type of fiber, here are seven foods I would recommend adding to your shopping list.
1. Wheat bran is the outer layer of whole grain wheat. It’s a perfect addition to the top of your breakfast bowl, but can also be used in homemade baked goodies or to thicken a soup. The best part? It’s as cheap as potato chips – you can get your hands on half a pound for under $ 2.
2. Another option on the complete train, whole grain bread is a staple in any healthy kitchen. A nutritious base for breakfast, lunch or dinner, wholemeal bread is not only high in fiber, but it also has a low GI to maintain blood sugar balance.
3. Raw unsalted almonds are high in healthy fats to support a happy heart and brain, plus a boost in plant protein and, of course, gut-loving fiber. I love adding almonds to a homemade smoothie or using almond flour in my Sunday morning pancake batter.
4. Chia seeds are also a good source of healthy fats. In fact, they contain a special type of anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s, which are important for your heart. You can sprinkle them over muesli, add them to a smoothie, or soak them in milk for the base of a chia pudding.
5. This one is a little less specific, but nonetheless a very important point to include. All unpeeled fruits or vegetables can help beat constipation because insoluble fiber is found in the layers close to the skin. So buy what’s in season and throw out your vegetable peeler. Not only will you save time, but your tummy might thank you too.
6. Chickpeas are regulars on my shopping list, not only because they are good for you, but also because they are delicious. Containing the winning trio of plant-based protein, slow-burning carbs, and of course, gut-loving fiber, chickpeas make a nutritious addition to your pantry. My favorite ways to include chickpeas are tossed into a salad or tossed with homemade hummus.
7. Last but not the least, But is another great way to increase your insoluble fiber intake. I love toasting corn on the cob and serving them with a fillet of fish in the oven. Fresh or frozen corn kernels are also great for salads, vegetable fritters and stir-fries.
Melissa Meier is a Certified Practicing Dietitian based in Sydney. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.
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