Anyone can feel constipated at any point in time due to pregnancy, medication, or even dehydration. Additionally, certain food can cause constipation but is oatmeal one of them?
According to experts, fiber-rich foods like oatmeal would not cause constipation rather they will help relieve it. If you constantly suffer from constipation or you feel constipated, chances are that you’re feasting on foods that are not helpful.
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber which improves bowel movements. It soaks up water, making your stool bulky yet soft, hence, easier to pass.
In this article, we will explain why oatmeal is good for constipation, the best oatmeal to eat, other foods that may be helpful, and more.
Why is oatmeal good for constipation?
From research, oatmeal contains a substantial amount of insoluble and soluble fiber that improves the food digestion process. This fiber helps to balance the movement of the bowels and soaks water from the fluids we take.
This helps to ease the movement of stool through the colon, so, you don’t have to strain when emptying your bowels. Here are some of the benefits of oatmeal as it relates to digestion:
1. Healthy bowel movements
The high fiber content in oats improves bowel movements. So, if you take it for breakfast or dinner, it results in easy bowel movements per day or at most two to three days.
This helps for easy removal of toxins and wastes from the body and prevents the risk of hemorrhoids or colon disease. Physically, you will feel free, relaxed, and comfortable.
2. Feeding your gut bacteria
Oats contain a prebiotic called beta-glucan fiber which feeds good bacteria in the guts. These friendly bacteria tend to increase and, in a way, block out bad, harmful bacteria.
Additionally, it helps us to digest and absorb more nutrients from our food as well as contributes to healthy bowel movements. These friendly bacteria also produce quick fatty acids like butyrate after fermenting the beta-glucan fiber.
Butyrate is a nutrient that’s used up by the cell lining the large intestines. It strengthens the cell and as such help keep the gut wall healthy. It’s also associated with stopping harmful bacteria and substances from getting into the bloodstream through the gut.
3. A gentler alternative for your gut
If you’re someone who suffers from digestive complications after eating wheat and rye fiber food, then oat-based food may be your best option.
Wheat and rye can be heavy on the stomach. Plus, they contain gluten in high quantity, and if you’re gluten intolerant it can lead to bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and the like. Oats on the other hand are gentle on the stomach and it’s naturally free of gluten.
4. Contains anti-inflammatory micronutrients and antioxidant
Oats contain plant-based micronutrients line avenanthramides and avenacosides as well as antioxidants which ward off harmful bacteria from the gut and the body in general.
Antioxidants fight off free radicals from the body cells and reduce the effect of oxidation. This, therefore, reduces the risk of heart diseases and certain cancers in the body.
Best oatmeal for constipation
Although oats help to relieve constipation, some types of oats are more beneficial than others. Hence, choosing the right type of oats is key as there is a variety of oats out there that go through different levels of processing.
The best oatmeal to improve digestion include:
1. Old-fashioned oats
These are age-long oats that are rolled and steamed. They are easy to cook and the glycemic index is really low. Moreover, they are rich in fiber and they do not contain any form of preservatives or artificial flavor.
2. Steel-cut oats
Steel-cut oats are a less processed form of oat groats that are simply sliced. They have a really low glycemic index and therefore increases blood sugar level at a much slower pace.
They are best eaten as overnight oats but they are nutrient-dense. To make them more palatable to eat, you can include fruits like apples or nuts as topping.
3. Instant oats
Instant oats may be high in calories and sugar but they still contain an excellent amount of fiber that helps relieve constipation in kids. The sugar content makes it sweet and enjoyable for kids.
How to eat oats for constipation
The best oatmeal recipe to reduce constipation is the old-fashioned oats. Simply cook your oat with water, add a little salt, and use ghee, or a drop of stevia as your sweetener.
You can also add any toppings that are easy to digest. Avoid using bananas, instead go for apples, avocado nut, chai seed, and the likes which are rich in fiber. If you want a creamy and thick texture, go for undiluted milk like oats milk or almond milk.
Foods that help with constipation
Here is a list of food that can help reduce or relieve constipation asides from oatmeal:
1. Chia seeds
Chai seed contains gains insoluble fiber which doesn’t dissolve in fluids. Instead, it absorbs the fluid and helps to create a bulky, soft stool.
The fiber present in them also helps to reduce hunger pangs. Chia seed also has quercetin, an antioxidant that helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases and conditions.
Prunes have a laxative effect for which they are well known. It helps to decrease the time between bowel movements, thereby relieving constipation.
This is due to the high fiber and sorbitol laxative present in it. It’s great for preventing hemorrhoids caused by constant constipation.
Whether black bean or pinto, any type of beans is sure to relieve constipation. A single serving contains as much as 7 grams of fiber which is both soluble and insoluble.
This helps the movement of the digestive tract and helps ease the transportation of stool in the intestine. Apart from that, it keeps the heart healthy and lowers the body’s cholesterol level.
A cup of raspberries contains about 8 grams of fiber which makes it a perfect meal for constipation relief. They also provide potassium which helps to lower blood pressure and make the heart function properly.
The omega-3 fatty acid in them helps in the prevention of stroke and different heart diseases. It contains manganese an essential mineral that helps to keep the bone and skin healthy as well as regulate blood sugar.
How to prevent constipation
Constipation can be a real problem for the body. In worst cases, it can lead to hemorrhoids which is the inability to control bowel movements.
Therefore, these general recommendations will help reduce constipation in your body system:
1. Eat more fiber-rich food
The major natural diet that helps with relieving constipation is fiber. Hence, look out for foods that are rich in fiber and reduce your intake of dairy food, high-fat meat, desserts, and fried food.
Go for oatmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, vegetables, and fruits which do not cause constipation. You can eat oatmeal for breakfast, rice for brown lunch, and any choice of vegetables at night.
2. Drink a lot of water and exercise
A major cause of constipation is dehydration. The recommended amount of water per day is 8 cups. Also, exercise regularly.
With at least 30 minutes of exercise for 3 to 5 five a week, you would be able to reduce the risk of constipation by more than 50%.
Can oats cause bowel problems?
If you’re allergic to oats, you may experience digestive complications like bloating, cramping, gas, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain after consuming oatmeal. This is because your body confuses the protein content in oat as something harmful and fights against it.
If you also struggle with celiac disease, it may be best to avoid oats. Many packaged oats sold in stores contain gluten because they get contaminated with wheat, rye, or barley.
Better still, always check the labels to confirm if it’s gluten-free and take it only after 6 months without the symptoms.
What foods cause constipation?
Dairy products and eggs, high-fat meats, rich desserts, and sugary sweets are culprits that cause constipation.
Does milk cause constipation?
Yes. Whole milk is a dairy product and fermented lactose produces methane gas which slows down the movement of food through the gut, thereby, causing constipation.
Which foods help with constipation?
Foods that are high in fiber like oatmeal, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits do not cause constipation instead they help to relieve it.
From the article, it’s obvious that oatmeal doesn’t cause constipation except in special causes of celiac intolerance or oat allergy.
As a matter of fact, oatmeal is a fiber-rich food that doesn’t cause constipation but is known to relieve it by improving bowel movements. So, it will be best that you include it in your diet if you experience constipation frequently.
Finally, you should read this article to find out if cheerios is better than Oatmeal.
I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.