Constipation and Nutrition Relationship

Constipation happens when stool moves too slowly through the large intestine (colon). The liquid portion of the stool is reabsorbed into the body, thereby hardening and drying the stool. This makes it difficult for stool to pass and causes constipation.

Constipation is a chronic problem in many patients all over the world. Constipation is an important health care problem in some at-risk patient groups, such as the elderly, but in most cases, chronic constipation is not a life-threatening or debilitating complaint that can be managed in primary care.

So what are the causes of constipation?


Malnutrition, insufficient sleep, limited exercise, anxiety, emotional stress, and age can cause constipation. Certain diseases can also cause constipation and are often associated with a sudden change in bowel habits, pain, weight loss, fatigue, or bloody stools.

Also, some medications can cause constipation.


FIBER CONSUMPTION: Increased dietary fiber consumption improves constipation and significantly reduces the need for laxatives in children, young adults, the elderly, and post-surgery patients.

While high-fiber foods are often the first choice, in some individuals (eg, edentulous patients or those with dysphagia), fiber supplements may have a role. Evidence shows that fiber supplements terminate the use of laxatives in about 60% of patients suffering from constipation.

Whole grains such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal

legumes such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas, peeled apples, oranges and pears, vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard greens

Oily seeds such as almonds, peanuts and walnuts are rich in fiber and can be consumed in case of constipation.

LIQUID CONSUMPTION: The combination of 25 g fiber and 1.5-2.0 L fluid daily has been shown to be more effective in relieving constipation in patients with functional chronic constipation than fiber intake alone. For this reason, it is very important to consume plenty of fluids as well as fiber consumption during constipation.

Apart from these, if we look at the nutritional recommendations that can be followed:

Three meals a day should be eaten and meals should not be skipped.

The amount of high fiber foods in the diet should be increased gradually.

More whole grain bread, cereal and rice should be consumed.

More raw fruits and vegetables should be consumed, and if possible, their peels should be eaten.

Read food labels and look for the “dietary fiber” content of foods. Good sources contain 2 grams or more of fiber.

Six to eight glasses of water should be consumed each day.

Consumption of refined and processed foods should be limited.

Consumption of ready-made, processed products such as chips, fast food, some frozen meals and snack foods should also be avoided.

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