Eating Well to Beat Constipation

Hi, Fiber!

The very best thing you can do for constipation is . . .

Eat well. And by well, we mean quality, not quantity. “Eating healthy” is something you will hear – and hopefully do – for the rest of your life, but what does that really mean?

It means you focus on nourishing your body with the food you eat, so it runs well, not getting bogged down with chemicals and sticky, sugary stuff. There is a lot of truth to the idea you have probably heard before: “You are what you eat.”

We ask you, would you rather be processed and sludgy or fresh and perky?

Who doesn’t want a doughnut or a handful of cheese puffs from time to time? We do!

These foods satisfy sweet or salty cravings every once in a while (grown-ups call it “in moderation”), but caving to those cravings every day, over months and months and years and years does NOTHING for your bowels except clog them up.

When it comes to constipation, the best nourishment for your beautiful body is fiber and water. Fiber is the parts of fruits and vegetables which cannot be digested in your belly. These itsy bitsy particles don’t dissolve into your cells like other foods. Fiber’s job is to help move the food you eat through your digestive tract.

Eating high-fiber foods such as beans, oats, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables will help keep the path to elimination clear.

The amount of fiber you should try to eat every day is based on the number 10 and your age. For instance, if you happen to be 12 years old:

(10 grams of fiber) + (12 years old) = 22 grams of fiber each day

(This equation is not the same for adults.)

What would 22 grams of fiber look like? A truckload of bran cereal? Thank goodness, no! Here’s an easy way to think about it: Girls ages 9 to 13 should eat at least 2 cups of vegetables per day, 1 and 1/2 cups of fruits per day, and a ½ cup of grains or legumes. And, don’t stop there! More is better. How easy is that?

Fruit really is easy. Pick it up, wash it off, eat it. Voila!

There are a zillion ways to prepare vegetables. They are all good – we just want you to eat them. Some people eat only raw vegetables because they are in their most natural form and contain the most nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and enzymes). Lightly steamed veggies – so they are still a little crunchy – are yummy. Mushy vegetables are no one’s favorite. If you haven’t tried them yet, roasted or grilled vegetables are FABULOUS! Even the scariest ones.

If you experience constipation consternation frequently, you may want to try this interesting way of eating. Whenever and wherever you meet up with food, eat the fruits and vegetables first!

The reasons this works for some:

  • You fill up first on nutritious, good-for-you fruits and veggies which have all kinds of good fiber, leaving a little less room for seconds on the triple fudge, quadruple cream brownies for dessert.
  • Some people just do better when they keep certain foods a little bit separated. Eating fruits and veggies first can help prevent a traffic pile-up in your digestive tract and bowels, giving your poop a smoother ride on its way out of town.

For a great high-fiber jam recipe, click here!


Self CareDavid Kennedy