ASK THE EXPERT
Tips to manage constipation symptoms
? Send your questions to edi[email protected] foodguide.com.au Please note: We cannot reply to individual letters.
QI struggle a bit with constipation, especially in summer. I’ve heard the tale that prunes help, but is there anything else I can do? Rebecca, via email
Up to one in five people over 30 will suffer from constipation at some point — so good question! Side effects can include pain, bloating, wind, tiredness and even poor appetite. While it’s usually nothing serious, it’s important to visit your GP if your toilet troubles persist.
Prunes are a good start, as they contain fibre, plus a natural substance with a mild laxative effect. But there’s more you can do to relieve the pain:
1 EAT ENOUGH FIBRE It helps to keep things moving.
Eat plenty of whole grains, such as grainy bread, rolled oats and brown rice.
Aim for two serves of fruit and five of veg every day — and leave the skin on!
Enjoy plenty of legumes, such as baked beans on toast or roasted chickpeas.
Sprinkle seeds and unsalted raw nuts over your breakfast cereals, salads and smoothies.
2 DRINK PLENTY OF WATER Fibre absorbs water, which softens and bulks out your stools. But don’t wait for thirst to set in before you reach for water! Carry a water bottle, or have a glass at your desk. Tea and coffee count towards your daily fluid intake, too. 3 GET MOVING! A healthy gut likes lots of activity. So, step outside at lunch time, hop off the bus a stop early, take the stairs, or head to the gym before or after work.