As a lifelong eater of oatmeal and having suffered from constipation intermittently through the years, I’ve often wondered if foods with a lot of fiber could actually lead to digestive issues. I did some research and what I learned was a bit surprising.
Generally, oatmeal does not cause constipation because of its high fiber content. In fact, it usually works to relieve symptoms of constipation. However, overconsumption of fiber-rich foods or eating oatmeal in conjugation with dairy products can lead to constipation.
Now, let’s take a closer look at oatmeal and digestion so that you can be sure to avoid any “complications” in the future.
Oatmeal & Constipation
Before blaming the oats in oatmeal for causing your constipation, it is important to consider the other foods you are consuming with your oatmeal. After all, most people do not consume oats by themselves. They usually eat oatmeal with milk, fruit, and sugar.
Most of the time, dairy products are the culprit. This is because some people react negatively to proteins found in cows’ milk. Usually, the most affected by milk and constipation issues are infants and children because they are especially sensitive to these proteins.
Often, when milk is cut out of a child’s diet, their digestive systems are able to function more regularly. I recommend talking to your doctor to see if this could be your issue.
How Oats Might Cause Constipation
Consuming too much fiber can cause you to be constipated. When an abundance of fiber pulls water from the Gi tract, dehydration can happen. Dehydration of the GI tract occurs when there are not enough fluids in the body to replace any attracted water.
This dehydration results in constipation and hardening stools. The resulting constipation is common when an excess of soluble fiber, such as oats, has been consumed.
How Much Fiber Is Too Much?
To over-consume fiber, you would have to eat at least 70 grams of fiber a day.
What to Eat When Constipated and Bloated?
Everyone can experience constipation from time to time. The best way to deal with bloating and a hard stool is to drink water. Since constipation occurs because of dehydration of the GI tract introducing more water into the body can help remedy the situation.
Foods other than water exist that can help you alleviate your constipation and its symptoms. These foods include:
Pears are a fruit that is high in dietary fiber. There are approximately 5.5 grams of fiber found in pears.
Pears have been fed to babies for years when constipated. The fruit and its juices help to regulate the digestive tract.
Beans are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. While too much soluble fiber alone will lead to constipation, too much insoluble fiber can lead to diarrhea. That is why the balance of these two types of fibers are good. They work together to keep your bowel movements functioning correctly.
Warm, clear soups are easy to digest. They add much-needed fluid to a body experiencing constipation caused by dehydration. Their neutral tastes work well to settle any stomach issues.
Aquaporin is a protein that regulates the flow of water in the intestines. A lower level of this protein allows less water to move into the bloodstream. This results in softer stools that are easier to pass.
Most people know that prunes are a natural laxative. They are high in fiber and sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that works to bring water into the intestines and create a bowel movement.
What Foods Should You Avoid When You Are Constipated?
You may not feel like eating when you are constipated. But if you are hungry, you do not want to make your body feel worse by eating the wrong thing. Several foods can help facilitate bowel movements, but besides dairy, there are many foods to avoid.
Here are three major foods that you should not eat when constipated:
White bread or any product made with white flour should be avoided. White flour has had most of its good gut fibers bleached away, so there is not enough fiber in this product to improve constipation. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. This is also true for white rice.
One thing you want to avoid when constipated is processed meats. They are hard to digest. Processed meats have a high-fat content. This high-fat content causes the digestive system to slow down. On top of this, processed meats lack a good supply of dietary fiber that aids in digestion.
Bacon and hot dogs are good examples of processed meats to stay away from when constipated.
When you are constipated french fries, fast food, and anything fried should be eliminated from your diet. They are high in saturated fats and can slow down digestion. This is especially true in older adults.
Alcoholic beverages tend to pull water from your body.
Ultimately, the biggest causes of digestion tend to be either eating the wrong foods or overeating the right ones. As with just about anything in life, the secret to everything is to find balance.
And remember to contact your doctor for any health problems you seem to be having and get official advice on dealing with digestive issues. The information in this article was gathered through research and should not be taken as medical advice.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss Can Jam or Jelly Make You Constipated?
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.