Constipation & Digestion

Constipation means that a person has three bowel movements or less in a week. Often the stools are hard, dry, small in size and difficult to eliminate. Some people may experience bloating, straining, and the sensation of being full or gassy.

Nearly everyone gets constipated at some point in their life, but generally it lasts for a short time and is not serious. But understanding constipation also allows you to take steps to prevent it.

What Causes Constipation?

To understand constipation, it is important to be aware of how the colon, or large intestine, works. As food moves through the colon, the colon absorbs the water and forms waste products, called stool. Muscle contractions in the colon push the stool toward the rectum for elimination. By the time the stool reaches the rectum, most of the water has been removed, making it solid.  

Constipation occurs when too much water is absorbed by the large intestines, or the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, the stools become dry and hard. 

Common Causes of Constipation

•  Medications
•  Not enough fiber in the diet
•  Laxative abuse •  Dehydration
•  Lack of physical activity •  Change in routine - such as travel
•  Health challenges •  Colon, rectum or intestinal function problems

What Can I Do?

There are 2 main kinds of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are required in your diet. Soluble fiber tends to absorb water, making stools softer and easier to move through the bowels. Examples of foods that contain soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley grains, oat bran, citrus fruits, brown rice and legumes. Insoluble fiber adds bulk. Foods such as wheat bran, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables all contain insoluble fiber. Many foods (flax, some fruits and vegetables) contain both types of fiber.

1.  Add more fiber into your diet (be sure to check interaction list in POR book)

Acorn Squash Prunes Flaxseed Legumes
Broccoli Figs Whole grain bread Lentils
Brussels Sprouts Raisins Whole grain cereal Lima Beans
Carrots Peaches Oatmeal Black-eyed peas
Cauliflower Raspberries Buckwheat Kidney beans
Spinach Tangerines Brown Rice  
Zucchini Apples Quinoa  


2.  Drink more water (half your body weight in ounces usually)

3.  Movement - gentle walking, stretching or light exercise

4.  Limit intake of:

  • Processed foods
  • Pasta
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Dairy

5.  Probiotics.

6.  Taking a digestive enzyme.

7.  Fruit Lax Recipe:
1/2 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 cups prune nectar
1/2 cup figs
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pitted prunes
Simmer dates & prune nectar until dates are soft. Put in food processor & add other ingredients. Blend. Store in refrigerator. Use on toast, crackers.

8.  Keeping Hydrated.

9.  If problem persists, consult with a qualified medical professional.

Disclaimer: *While great care has been taken in organizing and presenting the material throughout this website, please note that it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as Medical Advice. More...


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*While great care has been taken in organizing and presenting the material throughout this website, please note that it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as Medical Advice. More...