Fiber’s role in fixing constipation
On an average, 20% Indians suffer from constipation. Can a wheat based fiber be a solution for it ?
On an average, 20% Indians suffer from constipation. It is difficult to have a universal definition of constipation as bathroom habits differ from person to person. We can say that dry hard and difficult to pass stool are the primary signs of constipation. Weekly frequency of bowel movements is also used as a measure of constipation. If a person has less than three bowel movements a week then they can be diagnosed with constipation.
A common piece of advice to treat constipation is to consume more fiber. However very few people know what will be the right amount of fiber in the daily diet to treat constipation.
Fiber and Digestion
Non-digestible carbohydrates in plants are considered as dietary fiber. These dietary fibers are classified as Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber. Few examples of such fibers are:
Insoluble fiber: Found in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains.
Generally, fiber-rich foods have soluble and insoluble fiber in different proportions. These fibers don’t undergo digestion but make stool softer and bulkier and make its movement quicker on its way out.
Insoluble fibers sweep the bowel and make the stool bulky, soluble fibers make the stool soft by absorbing water and improving consistency. Prebiotics soluble fibers help breeding of good bacteria and maintaining healthy gut.
Studies have shown that simply meeting the right amount of dietary fiber intake can relieve chronic constipation in most including children. According to According to the American Heart Association, The recommended amount of 38 gms of fiber for men and 25 gms of fiber for women is sufficient to keep people free of constipation. Unfortunately, the daily consumption for people is limited to 12-18 gms per day. Low dietary fiber intake, low fluid intake, limited physical activities are generally related to constipation. There are many other reasons for constipation including medications and diseases.
Few medications or supplements like opioid painkillers, antacids, antidepressants, and antipsychotics also lead to constipation. Similarly, diseases related to bowl like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and neurological conditions like Parkinsons are also accompanied with constipation. Sometimes the cause of constipation is unknown and this condition is known as Chronic idiopathic constipation.
Best Foods to Relieve Constipation
Adding high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains in diet increase both soluble and insoluble fiber intake and could help relieve the problem. A gradual increase is recommended as a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause unwanted effects like gas, bloating and pain. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables with skins, nuts and seeds are high in insoluble fiber.
Foods like oats, flax seeds, Barley, rye, beans and pulses, root vegetables are high in soluble fiber. Prunes too include sugar alcohol- sorbitol, a natural laxative. High-fiber foods like flax seeds are helpful for people with IBS.
Fiber supplements can treat constipation, including for those who have chronic constipation or IBS.
Non-fermentable soluble fiber supplements are good for constipation with symptoms of pain, bloating and gas. Fermentable fiber acts as food for bacteria in the gut and ensures good gut health. Soluble fibers also normalize moisture content of stools and promote satiety.
Fiber supplements like myfy made up of wheat dextrin and guar gum can help you to get maximum benefit of fiber in diet. A sachet daily is enough to supplement the fiber requirement and to get rid of many modern society health issues like obesity and constipation.