The problem of constipation

Can careful attention to diet ease the problem of constipation? Yes, to some extent it can but thereis no wonder food to solve this problem nor does one solution suit every sufferer. Foods rich in fibre are generally recommended, that is wholemeal grains, pulses and ample fruit and vegetables.Figs, prunes and rhubarb all have their advocates.

Try keeping a food diary listing the foods you eat and the results that follow regarding your bowel movements. You may find that a glass of warm water taken on rising followed by a bowl of porridge at breakfastwill ensure perfect regularity. A generous helping of green vegetables,cabbage, broccollli or brussels sprouts may be the ideal laxitive for you or may be both are , in your case ineffective.Persevere to find what works for you. For some, lentils will provide the necessary bulk to form soft stools.Try making a simple dalh, soften onions in a little olive oil, add lentils,spices and stock, cook gently until soft to make a savoury accompaniment to main meals.

Mrs. Beeton, the renowned English cookery writer recommended an apple or orange be eaten one hour before bed time. Gayelord Hauser, the nutritionalist,suggested a tablespoonful of black treacle stirred into hot milk. the Victorians preferred 'medicinal jam' made with dried figs, prunes,lemons and sugar, a mixture easily made at home today and certainly worth trying on your wholemeal breakfast toast.

In these days of low-fat, low-caloriediets the importance of including some lubricating foods within the diet is often overlooked. Olive oil can be used with advantage. Dress your salads to improve flavour and palatability, make good use of aubergines for they,above all vegetables have the ability to absorb oil when lightly fried.Do not despise the judicious use of butter, it has a long history of use as a laxitive, particularly among the meat eatingtribes of the world . In 16th and 17th. century England 'May butter' was much prized by the rich as a remedy for costiveness as constipation was then called.

While foods have a part to play in easing constipation equal consideration must be given to the intake of fluids. Aim to drink at least three pints of water each day apart from your normal consumption ot soft drinks.Freshfruit juices are fine, not the sweetened varieties, also weak tea and coffee although there is some evidence that excessive tea or coffee drinking can actually increase the tendency to constipation, Certainly a high intake of fibre without ample fluidswillcompound the problem.

Finally remember that there is no law that says a bowel movement each day is essential for health. Aim for regularity by all means but a twenty four, forty eight or even thirty six hour cycle is perfectly normal. Get to know your own body . The Greeks, the Romans, all civilisations have had concerns about their bowel movements and many a fortune has been made by the advertising and sale of laxatives!

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