Constipation is considered one of the most common and usual gastrointestinal problems and specially in the summer. Summertime and holidays are normally a synonym of changes in our routine that can lead to episodes of constipation or aggravate the problem for people who already suffer from it. However, it is possible to take some measures to try to avoid it:
HYDRATION: Staying well hydrated is a key factor, remember to drink at least two litres of water a day between meals (about eight glasses) and to eat food that contains lots of water . During the summer season we drink more water, eat more fruit and vegetables, but we also lose more liquid since the possibility of dehydration increases due to environmental conditions, therefore the liquid intake should be increased. Dehydration causes constipation because the body tries to retain water in the blood by absorbing water from stools. The faeces that contains less water are more difficult to evacuate. Instead, the faeces well hydrated are less hard and bulkier. At the time of evacuation, hydrated faeces will be easier to be delivered than less lubricated ones, which, in turn, will remain longer in the digestive tract .
FOOD: Give a privileged place to the fibre in your daily diet: fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals. In summer, a good fresh fruit is really appetizing so take advantage to take, at least, two pieces a day. For the majority of people the best fruits to prevent constipation are plums and kiwis . Fibre helps to keep water in the stool and increases its volume, facilitating its transit. A poor intake of fibre can lead to problems with intestinal transit and evacuation.
Regarding food, we cannot forget the importance of decreasing the intake of processed foods. This advice should be applied for the whole year and for general population if they want to have a healthy diet, but for people who suffer from constipation it is even more important. You should focus more on foods and recipes that contain whole grains that contribute to a good intestinal transit and less in those which carry refined flour.
EXERCISE: Practice physical exercise regularly. With high temperatures, it is recommended to do it early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat negative impact on our body. Those people who due to physical problems or medical contraindications, cannot carry out sports activities, should walk at least 30 minutes a day.
IMPULSE AND ROUTINE: Do not ‘leave going to the bathroom for later’ when you feel the need to go. Even on vacation, when we break off our daily routine, modesty or shame should not lead us to avoid or postpone defecation. It is important to try to continue with the same habits that we have throughout the year (both concerning meal times and going to the bathroom) to prevent constipation problems.