There’s little worse than the feeling of constipation, so we asked Dale Pinnock, author of Eat Your Way to a Healthy Gut, for the top seven foods that can help get things moving again, stat. Here are his picks:
Apples are fantastic for digestive health, especially for those people suffering from constipation. This is because they contain a unique soluble fiber called pectin. This fiber forms a gel-like substance that swells up in the digestive tract, takes on lots of water, and softens the stool, making it easier to pass.
These contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are vital for clearing your digestive tract.
3. Chia seeds.
Chia seeds have become something of a fashionable ingredient of late, and all manner of weird and wonderful desserts and treats containing them are popping up in grocery and health food stores. There are some really weird and daft claims made about them, but what is indisputable is that they are a great ingredient for gut health, especially if you want to maintain healthy gut motility. They are packed with a gel-like soluble fiber that swells to many times its size. If you have ever tried adding chia seeds to a drink, you'd see that in a matter of minutes they develop a jellylike texture. That's the gel in the coating of the seeds taking on water at lightning speed. This gives you an idea as to how they are going to act in the digestive tract. If you take these and drink enough water, it can be like having your very own in-house chimney sweep!
Dates are a great sweet treat for those moments when you want to reach for a sugary snack, as they pack a lot of nutrients along with their sweetness. They are also very high in fiber. Overconsumption can actually have the opposite effect of constipation, so be careful to consume in moderation!
Eggplants are a greatly underrated and often underused vegetable, but one of my favorites, and not just for their satisfying flavor. They are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibers, which are excellent for constipation sufferers. Again, these fibers will swell in the digestive tract and stimulate the stretch receptors, which will then go on to stimulate peristalsis, the rhythmical waves of muscular contractions in the digestive tract walls that cause its contents to move through with ease.
Oats are fantastic for the health of your digestive system and should be included at breakfast time, if possible. They, too, are packed with soluble fiber, this time in the form of something called beta-glucan. Like pectin, beta-glucan will form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that will soften gut contents and comfortably move everything along on its way.
Onions are a wonderful ingredient that offers benefits to many different body systems, from the immune to the cardiovascular. Vitally, they contain a prebiotic polysaccharide called inulin. Prebiotic basically refers to something that supports and enhances the growth and development of the bacterial colony within the digestive tract. Anything that improves this colony will have a profound impact on gut function. This flora will regulate everything from digestive tract contractions to localized repair of digestive tract tissue.
Based on excerpts from Eat Your Way to a Healthy Gut: Tackle Digestive Complaints by Changing the Way You Eat, in 50 Recipes by Dale Pinnock, with the permission of Quadrille Publishing. Copyright © 2017.
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