Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS - Melissa Meier, Healthy Food Guide Ac­cred­ited Prac­tis­ing Di­eti­tian

Tips to man­age con­sti­pa­tion symp­toms

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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.

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