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30 Foods That Can Cause Constipation

Gluten

If you have celiac disease, food with gluten is a no-no. Gluten is a protein that is in wheat, rye, and barley. Those with sensitivity or allergies to it are likely to have problems with constipation.

Calcium and Iron Supplements

Iron and calcium are essential nutrients that you need, but be careful taking supplements. Too much or using unsafe supplements can cause constipation and other side effects. Don’t consume calcium-carbonate antacids, and only take iron supplements if you are iron deficient.

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Chocolate

Sorry chocolate lovers, but this is another food that can back you up. It’s best to avoid it, especially if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There’s a lot of fat in chocolate, which can slow digestion. This happens by slowing down muscle contractions which causes food to move slowly through your bowel.

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Unripe Bananas

Bananas are a good remedy for constipation relief, but it’s all about timing. Under-ripe bananas can cause constipation. They still have a lot of starch which is hard to digest, and they can also make dehydration worse. If you don’t have a ripe banana, try another fruit.

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Caffeine

Caffeine is another food that can be both good for staying regular and bad for constipation. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase your bowel movements. However, if you’re dehydrated caffeine can make constipation worse.

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Green Beans

Green beans and other pod vegetables have a habit of stopping someone up due to the high amount of soluble fiber. Anyone with constipation may think more fiber is better. However, soluble fiber absorbs water and can make it even harder to go to the bathroom.

Kale

Kale has a lot going for it, but if you’re already stopped up, maybe avoid this cruciferous green leaf. It’s packed with nutrients, but it’s extremely difficult for your body to break down. Cooking kale makes it easier to digest, so if you’re gonna eat it, make sure to steam it.

Soy

Soy can either help or hurt your constipation. Studies in BMJ Journals show that soy milk in place of cow’s milk can reduce constipation. However, large doses of soy protein can do the exact opposite. It can also make constipation worse in those that are already experiencing problems.

Refined Sugar

A diet high in sugar consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar can also affect your colon and contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and IBS. It may also increase your risk of developing colon and rectal cancer. Watch your sugar intake and drink water instead of soft drinks or sweetened juices.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower pizza crust is better than regular, but be careful! Too much can cause major issues on an already backed up system. Cauliflower is made of complex sugars that are difficult to digest. On top of causing constipation, this veggie will only make things worse.

Processed Foods and Frozen Dinners

Processed foods lack nutritional value and contain a lot of fat. They're also high in salt, which can cause bloating. These foods slow down digestion and cause constipation.

Dairy

Consuming a lot of dairy products can contribute to constipation because the lactose in dairy can cause increased gas and bloating. This can make you feel even worse if you're stopped up.

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Fast Food

It may be fast and tasty, but it’s not good for you. Fast food burgers and fries have a lot of fat, and not a lot of fiber. This can easily cause constipation. Fast food also doesn't have much nutritional benefit. It's best to make burgers at home instead.

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Chips

Chips are a favorite snack food. Unfortunately, they’re high in fat and low in fiber. The more you snack on them, the more likely you’ll end up constipated due to slow digestion. Try snacking on high-fiber veggies instead.

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Cookies

Cookies are low in fiber, low in fluid, and high in fat. Eat too many treats of these treats, and you may find yourself constipated. Limit the amount of cookies you gobble down and reach for high-fiber fruit instead.

Medication

Okay, so it’s not food but lots of medications can stop you up. For example, antidepressants can cause constipation as can pain medications. Your doctor may recommend taking a stool softener or other over the counter laxative to help keep things regular.

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Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein, but they’re low in fiber. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid them. Just add some high-fiber ingredients to your scrambled eggs or omelet. Do this, and you can have your eggs and eat them too!

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Persimmon

This fruit is popular in Asia, and if you ever have a chance to try one, stick with sweet persimmons. Astringent persimmons have a lot of tannins, which slow digestions and causes constipation.

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White Rice

White rice causes constipation. The husk, bran, and germ have been removed, and this is where the fiber lies. That’s why it’s better to eat brown rice which can relieve constipation. It’s a great source of whole grains and fiber because the husk, bran, and germ have not been removed.

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Red Meat

To avoid constipation, limit how much red meat you eat. It takes a longer time to digest because it’s high in fat. It can also be difficult to digest because of its tough protein fibers. Finally, red meat is also rich in iron which leads to constipation.

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White Bread

White bread is known to cause (and worsen) constipation. This fact is also true for products that contain a lot of white flour, which has no fiber. Because these foods are starch-heavy, they can stop you up easily. Pick whole grain bread instead.

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Alcohol

Alcohol is dehydrating. It also slows digestion and aggravates your bowel, worsening constipation. To prevent constipation limit your consumption of alcohol and drink water.

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Gum

As a kid, you were probably warned that it takes seven years to digest swallowed gum. While this isn’t true, you still shouldn’t swallow it. If you swallow too many pieces close together or consume it with other foods that are indigestible, this can create a mass, and the mass can block digestive tract, although this is rare.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes are low in fiber and fluids. They’re also high in fat, and as we know by now, this slows digestion and stops you up.

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Fermented Food

Fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are beneficial for your health, but nutritionists say that these foods can also cause short-term constipation. In the long run, eating the foods will help promote beneficial bacteria growth. However, rapid changes in your flora can cause constipation pretty quick.

Nuts

Nuts are hard for our bodies to digest. This often leads to bulky waste moving through the colon, which isn’t something a person with constipation wants. Sometimes, nuts pass through the body completely undigested! If you have a stopped-up system, maybe pass on the nuts.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits also take a lot for your body to digest. The fact that they’re dehydrated means that it requires a lot of water to be digested. The body has to reconstitute the dried fruit before it can pas it through the system.

Pizza

Pizza usually has everything you don’t need: grease, gluten, cheese, and possibly processed meats. No matter what you get on it, you’ll always have cheese on it, unless you get a vegan pizza. Basically, if you’re stopped up, avoid this one.

Pork

Pork may be called “the other white meat,” but it’s actually a red meat! It has very little fiber, which can cause serious backups. Pork can also be pretty fatty depending on the cut. Make sure to cut away any fat from your meat before chowing down.

Beans

They say beans are good for your body, and while this is true, they’re packed with soluble fiber. This fiber absorbs water, making it difficult for your body to pass it through your colon. It turns almost into a big, sticky gel. Be sure to drink plenty of water when eating these legumes.