We cannot deny the fact that the foods we eat have an effect on our bowel. Many people who suffer from constipation and IBS have to be very particular about their diet. To understand what kind of effect did different constipating-food have on the efficacy of stool a German study was conducted on 200 healthy controls, 122 patients with chronic constipation, and 766 patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Here is how they reacted to various known constipation-inducing foods:
Chocolates: They are known to induce constipation and the study results were no different. In fact, in all the three groups it was seen that consumption of chocolates gave rise to constipation and made the stools hard.
White bread: White bread was a close second when it came to be termed as constipation-inducing food. All the three groups experienced some degree of constipation after having white bread.
Banana: Contrary to popular belief that bananas are a great home remedy for constipation, the study found out that the fruit caused constipation in all the three groups. One reason could be that unripe bananas are rich in tannin and starch which could have an adverse effect on stools. Unlike ripe bananas, unripe ones are known to interfere with bowel movements.
Prunes: Prunes have a high level of sorbitol, fibre and fructose which helps to ease symptoms of constipation and the study also found that it had a softening effect on the stools in all the three groups of people.
Alcohol: Though in minority of people but compared to other constipation-inducing foods like chocolates, white bread, banana; wine and beer were perceived as slight stool softeners.
Coffee: Of course, a hot cuppa in the morning helps many to get a bowel moment but in excess caffeine could be a reason for constipation. However, the study found that when taken in moderation coffee can also act as a stool softener.
Black tea: Unlike coffee, black tea had a hardening effect on the stools and aggravated constipation.
Note: The mentioned foods are known to be constipation-inducing foods. The aim of the study was not to encourage one to choose the worse from the list but to know how they affect stool consistency. The best way to deal with constipation is to imply lifestyle changes, eat a balanced diet and keep oneself hydrated enough.