- Constipation means both the fact that feces cannot be excreted, and the uncomfortable feeling from not being able to excrete. Many people suffer from constipation, but the elderly suffer more than the young. This is because the amount of blood in the intestines decreases and their functions degenerate as we age. In addition, many elderly are under long-term medication and they have insufficient intake of fiber and fluid, which will easily cause constipation. According to statistics, 1/3 of the elderly in Taiwan suffer from constipation.
- To improve constipation, we should change our lifestyle and diet, instead of relying on aperients. There kinds of medicine will blunt the neural response of the intestinal tract and make the intestines even unhealthy, possibly worsening the constipation.
- Fiber is the key to solving constipation, but the elderly with dental dysfunctions often have insufficient intake of fiber. It is recommended that the elderly eat sufficient vegetables and fruit (Five A Day), which may seem hard to follow for seniors with decayed teeth. But, drinking juice without filtration can increase the intake of fiber.
- Someone said, “I eat a lot of vegetables every day, why am I still constipated?” Actually, water is as important as important as fiber, because the intestines need water to help fiber produce enough feces, and it can also help soften feces to make excretion easier, Therefore, even if we have enough fiber, water is equally important to help the digestive system and to prevent constipation.
- Besides sufficient water and fiber, yams, papayas, prune juice, and honey can also help excretion.
- *Recommended water intake: 30ml/kg, or 2400c.c/day
*Recommended fiber intake : 20-30g/day. Fiber-rich food recommended
Less than 2 grams
2 – 3 grams
Over 3 grams
Cereals, Grains, starches, and tubers
Oiled noodles, ramen, steamed buns, rice, potatoes
Water caltrops, rice with rice germ, Job’s tears, taros, white bread, sweet potatoes
Brown rice, corns, lotus seeds, wheat, mung beans, red beans, borlotto beans, whole-wheat bread, oats, millets
Tofu, dried tofu skins
Dried tofu, soybeans, black beans, fresh soybeans
White stem baby bok choy, loofahs, asparagus, chayote vine, tomatoes, cabbages, onions, winter melons, bitter melons
Water spinach, cauliflower, water bamboo shoots, spinach, fresh straw mushrooms, lotus roots, brassica rapa, celery, cherry tomatoes, kales
Soybean sprouts, fresh shiitake mushrooms, fresh button mushrooms, leeks, green bell peppers, water spinach, young soybeans, green beans, yam leaves
Apples(peeled), honeydews, cantaloupes, pears, plums, watermelon, wax apples, star fruits, strawberries, grapefruits, sugar canes, pomelos, pineapples, peaches, cherries, mangos
Tangerines, kiwi fruits, peaches, papayas, litchis, bananas, plums
Pears, oranges, durians, passion fruits, red prunes, black prunes, apples (with skin), longans, Sunkist, avocados
Nuts and seeds
Pistachios walnuts, black sesame seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, mountain herb seeds