A new study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that children who don’t like fruits and vegetables are 13 times more likely to be constipated. Not drinking enough water was also a risk factor.
As a dietitian, I thought this study pointed out the obvious. Of course you’ll be constipated if you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables; they are filled with fiber! Upon further reflection, however, I realized that not every American knows this. Most of the news regarding the importance of adequate fruit and vegetable consumption is tied to cancer prevention. It’s hard to read a study or an article about these wonderful gifts of nature without hearing about it! But few articles reference what I call the “bathroom factor” – the additional benefit that is provided when a food not only helps you to ward off cancers, heart disease, hypertension and depression, but also helps in ensuring a great bowel movement.
The key to any food in doing this is fiber. For starters, fiber is found in all plant foods. Grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds all contain fiber. Some have soluble fiber which helps in lowering cholesterol and some have insoluble fiber which helps to move bulk through the system. Some foods, such as oatmeal, have both. Americans should eat between 25-35 grams of fiber daily, and you can consume more by eating more plant based foods.
Fiber is important, this study proves it. Have you had enough today?