Constipation is absolutely awful. It's painful, uncomfortable and it really makes you wonder where all that poop is sitting in your body.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements are too hard and too difficult to pass out of your body. It can lead to stomach pain, bloating and sometimes, painful gas. But don't worry that if you miss a day of pooping, you're automatically constipated.
"The frequency of bowel movements does not usually matter – fewer bowel movements does not indicate constipation, as long as stools are soft, pain-free and follow your usual pattern," says registered dietitian Kristyn Hall of Nutrition and Culinary Solutions in Calgary.
Hall says adult women between the ages of 19 and 50 should consume about 25 grams of fibre a day, and men in this same age group should have about 38 grams.
A healthy pooping cycle is also a combination of eating fibre-rich foods and fluids, she adds. "Dietary fibre needs fluid in the intestine to add in bulk to the stool."
If you are currently dealing with constipation, avoid eating poor fibre-rich foods like refined crackers, cereal bars, plain pasta, bagels, bread and baked goods made from refined grains. And like every other piece of health advice: drink your fluids — and by fluids we mean everything from water to milk to tea to soup (but preferably not dehydrating beverages like soda and alcohol).
Below, Hall recommends 13 ways to fill your diet with more fibre, by either adding more fruits and veggies to your regular diet or sneaking them in as snacks.
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