Preventing constipation

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PREVENTING CONSTIPATION

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT CONSTIPATION

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Simple changes to your diet can help to prevent constipation.2,24

It’s a good idea to get more fiber into your diet. Aim for around 30 g a day. Make sure you drink plenty of water, to help keep your stools soft.

  • Tips to help increase your fiber intake:
    Choose wholemeal or granary bread, and wholegrains such as wholewheat pasta or wholegrain rice
  • Choose a high-fiber breakfast, such a porridge oats or wholegrain cereal
  • Include plenty of pulses in your diet, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas
  • Keep the skin on fruit and vegetables such as potatoes, apples and pears.
  • Make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Try high-fiber snacks such as oatcakes, dried fruit, popcorn or unsalted nuts.
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Lactulose has a prebiotic effect

Lactulose helps to promote the growth of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. It may also suppress the growth of ‘bad bacteria’. This can lead to an improvement in the balance of the intestinal flora.23,25

Unlike probiotics, in which ‘good bacteria’ are introduced into the gut, prebiotics promote the growth of the good bacteria that is already present in the gut by increasing their food supply. 23,25

Suppressing the growth of bad bacteria can lead to many health-promoting effects4 such as improved digestion and absorption of essential nutrients such as magnesium and calcium.25

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Exercise tips

Staying active will greatly reduce your risk of getting constipated. There are many other health benefits of exercise too. It can make you feel healthier and it can improve your mood, energy levels and general fitness.1 
Here are some simple ways to incorporate exercise into our busy lives:26

Take the stairs

Next time you call a lift, consider taking the stairs instead. It’s a really good way to get your heart rate up and you’ll soon get into the habit of it.

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Walk more

Walking is one of the easiest ways to become more active. Try to fit more walking into your daily life by reducing the number of short car journeys you take. Or try getting off the train or bus one stop early. Why not make the time for a longer walk or hike at weekends?

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Try cycling

It’s one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your day and it can be a quick way to get around. Whether you’re cycling to work, school, or the shops, it can be fun! Plus, it can save you money on petrol or public transport costs.

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Join a gym

If you can’t afford to join a gym, there are plenty of free workout routines available online that you can do at home.

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References
1. NHS Inform. Constipation. Preventing constipation. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/constipation#preventing-constipation. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
2. Information from your family Doctor. Constipation. Am Fam Physician. 2010;15:82(12):1440-1441.
4. Lewis SJ, et al. Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Sep;32(9):920-4.
23. Duphalac Scientific Product Monograph
24. NHS Live Well.  How to get more fibre into your diet.  https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
25. Gibson GR, Hutkins R, Sanders ME et al. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 2017;14:491-502.
26. NHS. Get fit for free. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/free-fitness-ideas/. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.