This week a friend and I talked about her 7-year-old daughter’s tendency to get constipated. Before you laugh, know that, as a dietitian, I often hear complaints about kids and adults not being able to have regular bowel movements.
There is good news-smart food and drink choices along with physical activity can improve this common ailment. Here are some suggestions:
Fiber, it really gets you moving- Women need about 25 grams and men about 38 grams of fiber per day. On average, Americans eat 10-15 grams per day, so we’ve got some room to move (I couldn’t resist!).
Become Label Able- The amount of fiber in foods is included on the label under the “Carbohydrates” heading. When you select foods, aim for 3 grams of fiber or more in each food.
Great sources are:
Fruits- blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears, apples with skin on, dried or stewed prunes and raisins
Unsalted nuts and seeds- almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, sunflower, pumpkin and flax or chia seeds
Vegetables- green peas, broccoli, sweet potato, pumpkin and butternut, spaghetti, hubbard or acorn squash
Whole Grains- brown rice, whole grain bread and rolls, whole grain pastas and bran cereal
Limit these-white bread and rolls, white rice, spaghetti and other pastas and baked goods made from white flour. Low fiber foods can make constipation worse.
Go slow-If you haven’t been eating much fiber, increase the amount you're eating slowly or you could end up with a stomach ache. Add just one high fiber food each day to give your digestive system time to adjust.
Pair up-Besides eating more fiber, drink plenty of water. Fluids help your stools stay soft, making them easier to pass. Beginning your day with a warm beverage such as coffee or tea can be helpful. Drinking a small glass of prune juice every day can assist, too.
Move more-Short, 10-15 minute walks after meals can help your bowels move regularly. If you’re looking for a safe, inexpensive, air-conditioned place to exercise, consider our DCHC Wellness Center in Gould. You will find friendly staff and a well-equipped facility with new COVID cleaning procedures. The Wellness Center is open from 5:30 am -5:30 pm Mon-Thursday. For the remainder of 2020, the membership fee has been reduced to $10 per month. Call the Wellness Center at 870-263-4748, extension 1 for more information.
Here’s an easy, tasty brown rice recipe:
2 cups cooked brown rice, (use instant brown rice)
1⁄4 cup chopped celery
1 apple, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
1⁄4 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons chopped almonds
1⁄2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons orange juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Combine rice, celery, apple, raisins, and almonds in a medium bowl and mix well.
2. Combine yogurt, orange juice, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Pour the yogurt mixture over the rice mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
*Add any of your favorite fruits for variety
*Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutrition Information: Makes 4 cups or 6 servings, 2/3 cup per serving. Each serving provides 140 calories, 2 grams fat, 25 mg sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate and 3 grams fiber.
Recipe from Foodhero.org