Not being able to poop is no laughing matter. It can be uncomfortable, painful and even dangerous if there is too much time between bowel movements. If you are experiencing severe constipation you should make an appointment with your doctor. Whether you have mild or severe constipation, what you eat can make a huge difference and in many cases can be all you need to get relief. Here are some general guidelines of how the Mediterranean diet can help constipation.
Eat Fiber – The general recommendation for fiber is 25-30 grams per day. It is best to get both soluble (nuts, seeds, beans, some fruits and vegetables) and insoluble fiber (vegetables and whole grains). The Mediterranean diet is packed with fiber and if you are following the traditional diet you will get more than enough fiber. Here is a traditional Mediterranean Diet meal plan.
Drink Water – If you are dehydrated, your risk of constipation rises. You don’t need to become a crazy guzzler just drink enough water to stay hydrated. 8-8 ounce glasses per day should do it. Adding fresh lemon juice to your water will not only make for a tastier drink, but can also help with constipation.
Move for a Movement
Move for a Movement – In the Mediterranean, people move a lot. Especially in villages where people still grow and process their own food, both men and women are very physically active. A recent study of inactive, constipated, middle aged adults who then started walking briskly for 30 minutes a day had a significant decrease in constipation.
Increase your Olive Oil and Olives
Increase your Olive Oil and Olives – Olive Oil has been shown to significantly help relieve constipation. The people of the Mediterranean eat a lot of olive oil, sometimes as high as 30% of their daily calories. Lubricating the system can be very helpful to get the bowels moving. Of course, olives are good too as you get both the oil and the fiber of the olive fruit.
Eat Yogurt – Yogurt is one of the foods eaten often throughout the Mediterranean. It can also help with constipation (as long as you are not lactose intolerant). Probiotics in yogurt may be what helps, but their could be other reasons as well. Try our Stewed Prunes with Yogurt recipe (it is fantastic)
Drink a small amount of Coffee
Drink a small amount of coffee – A small amount of coffee (1-2 cups) can help stimulate the bowels. Too much coffee can do the opposite (because of it’s diuretic effect). All over the Mediterranean, you will find people drinking coffee and tea throughout their day.
The Mediterranean Diet is geared perfectly for relieving constipation. It is high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble), olive oil, and yogurt. People drink coffee and tea, lots of water and they are physically active. Try some of the recipes in Mediterranean Diet Recipes that will help relieve constipation and I think you will find relief!