By Dietitian – Nutritionist Yvonne Nikolaidou
Mediterranean Diet – Constipation and Mediterranean Diet Foods That Help
What is constipation?
The definition of constipation is when a person has less than 3 bowel movements per week or the bowel movements are hard. Constipation can affect anyone, regardless of age. But it seems to be more common among women, the elderly and people who do not have a normal body weight.
Constipation, after being diagnosed by a specialist, is treated, initially, through diet and lifestyle changes.
Tips for treating constipation:
- Increased fluid intake – Consume at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, to ensure adequate hydration of your body and feces.
- Include exercise in your daily routine – Increasing your physical activity (eg walking) will help with bowel activation and mobility.
- Follow a diet based on the Mediterranean model and avoid increased consumption of processed foods.
How is the Mediterranean diet defined?
The Mediterranean diet is based on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains (daily consumption). Olive oil and nuts are the main fat recommended in the Mediterranean diet. Furthermore while the consumption of lean red meat is recommended only a few times a month or a little more often in small quantities.
How can the Mediterranean diet help with constipation?
One of the most important and useful ways to deal with constipation is to consume fiber in our diet. An adult should take 25-30gr. fiber per day. Fruits, vegetables and legumes, the basis of the Mediterranean diet, are excellent sources of fiber. An easy way to meet our fiber needs is to aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Good sources of fiber are lettuce, green beans, okra, boiled greens and dried fruits such as plums and raisins.
Note- At this point it should be mentioned that the sharp increase in fiber consumption can cause gastrointestinal disorders, so their introduction into the diet should be done slowly and gradually (along with increasing fluid intake).
Extra Virgin Olive oil, on which the Mediterranean diet also relies, can be just as safe and healthy a way to soften stools and relieve constipation. A tablespoon of olive oil, taken on an empty stomach in the morning can relieve constipation for many healthy adults. A group of scientists reported in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2012 that “olive oil and sweet almond oil can act as emollients if their intake exceeds the absorption capacity of the small intestine.” However, the intake should not exceed 1 CS, as it can lead to cramps and diarrhea.
Ms. Yvonne Nikolaidou is a Clinical Dietitian-Nutritionist, a registered member of the British Association of Dietitians with a license to practice in Cyprus and the United Kingdom. K. Nikolaidou graduated from the University of Surrey, where she obtained with honors the Bachelor of Science Honors Degree (BSc) in Dietetics and Nutrition. Later, she continued her studies at the University of Nottingham, where she graduated with honors, obtaining the MSc in Advanced Dietetic Practice. During her studies, she practiced clinically at three British National Institutes of Health (NHS) university hospitals, including William Harvey Hospital and Churchill Hospital in Oxford, where she provided nutritional advice to the oncology and diabetes departments. He later worked for a time at the 5Boroughs Partnership in Liverpool where he provided dietetic intervention in pediatric clinics as well as in adult patients suffering from a wide range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, intestinal nutrition. Returning to Cyprus, she established her office in Larnaca where she provides nutritional support to healthy people and people with a range of pathological conditions. From 2015-2018, he was pursuing a postgraduate degree in Pediatric Dietetics at the University of Plymouth. In 2018 he completed the courses and obtained the postgraduate certificate specializing in pediatric dietetics.
Πηγή– Bove A, Bellini M, Battaglia E, et al. Consensus statement AIGO/SICCR diagnosis and treatment of chronic constipation and obstructed defecation (part II: treatment). World J Gastroenterol. 2012;18(36):4994-5013. doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i36.4994