Increase Water and Fiber intake to avoid Constipation in Summer

The months of March to May are the hottest months in the year and though we make changes like wearing cool clothes and always keeping the fans running we forget to consciously increase our water intake. The body adapts to the heat by perspiring excessively but we donít compensate this with sufficient water. We may drink extra cool drinks or juices but please note that these are no substitutes for plain, unadulterated water.

Many at this time suffer from constipation, which can even become complicated and result in bleeding and pain while passing motion. You have to drink 2 and a half to 3 liters of water daily. This may seem impossible but it only requires a little planning. Drink half a liter of lukewarm water on rising. From breakfast time up to lunchtime keep a one-liter bottle with you and see to it that you have emptied that bottle before you eat your lunch. From lunchtime to 6pm in the evening you should drink another one liter. From 6pm to bedtime try to finish another half liter and with this you have consumed 3 liters. If still constipated your personal water requirement may be more so add 2-3 glasses more. If you have any medical problems like high B.P. Heart problems or Kidney problems kindly consult your physician before increasing your water intake.

Now letís look at the diet. Try to eat whole grain cereals like whole wheat (atta) chapattis and ragi instead of rice at all meals. This increases the fiber in the diet. The dietary factor most affecting bowel movement is the fiber content or the roughage in the diet. Whole pulses like channaa, rajma, moong, etc. also add additional fiber and it is still more if they are sprouted so they too are good for relieving constipation. When consuming bread choose whole wheat bread, oats and high fiber breakfast cereals are good substitutes for breakfast. Stuffed rotis made from atta and vegetables like mooli, methi, etc. are also good options. You may use broken wheat dahlia instead of refined rava or suji too. Restrict the use of rice items like idli, dosa and rice baths in the breakfast.

Besides, this try to increase your vegetable intake. Make sure you are eating a sabji or pallya for lunch, plus a salad and at dinner a large bowl of raw salad is a must with both lunch and dinner. Increase your fruit intake to 2-3 fruits per day. You can have a banana or orange at 11 am. and an apple, pear or guava at 6.30 pm and some papaya after dinner. Always try to eat a whole fruit instead of a juice and whole vegetables instead of a soup, so that you get the fiber. Besides this try to avoid very rich and oily food. Reduce salt intake specially reduce intake of fried salty snacks like papad, chips, namken and mixture which cause water retention and can increase the constipation. You may eat rice at lunch time but please be sure to consume rotis for dinner.

Finally heavy consumption of alcohol and aerated drinks must be avoided. All these things tend to create fluid retention and thereby increase constipation. When you drink one bottle of Coke or Pepsi you are consuming 150 cals or 7 teaspoons of sugar. Three large pegs of whisky is 450 cals or 22 teaspoons of sugar. When such large amounts of sugar or even salt enter the blood, the concentration rises. This causes water that is to be excreted to be retained so that the blood concentration can be brought back down to normal. This will result in constipation.

The last but not the least is exercise. You must have a regular 25 -30 minutes walk planned in your daily schedule. This exercise also helps to regularizes the bowel movement.

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