The #1 Nut to Help You Poop, Recommended by Dietitians

If you make fewer than four trips to the bathroom for number 2 each week, you may be suffering from constipation. Feeling uncomfortable while going to the toilet or having hard, dry stools are signs of constipation. Although it can be caused by several factors, such as medications or medical conditions, it is often related to diet. Although constipation is a common condition, the good news is that it can often be resolved with a few small dietary changes.

Focusing on water and fiber is one of the best ways to relieve recurring constipation. Experts recommend increasing your fluid intake and incorporating fiber-rich foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should aim to consume 22 to 34 grams of fiber per day, depending on your gender and age.

As you increase your fiber intake, remember to drink more water. Dietitian Annette Snyder, MS, RD, CSOWM, with Top Nutrition Coaching, says, “Eating too little fiber, or too much fiber without drinking enough fluids, can lead to constipation.” Fiber and water work together to add weight to the stool, which helps gravity do its job and allows for easier passage. »

Jennifer Causey

A simple and delicious way to increase your fiber intake is to eat a handful of nuts daily. But which ones are best for relieving constipation? We asked two dietitians what their top choice was for a healthy, fiber-rich nut, and they both agreed: It’s all about the almonds. While all nuts can help you increase your fiber intake, almonds are a great choice for many reasons.

The benefits of almonds to relieve constipation

Much research has been done on the health benefits of almonds. One study found that almond consumption was associated with better gastrointestinal system function and increased stool production. While both results seem great for people with constipation, note that the Almond Board of California funded this study. But almonds contain many useful nutrients for relieving constipation.

Good source of magnesium

Almonds contain 77 milligrams of magnesium in just 1 ounce (about 23 almonds). Magnesium is an important mineral for many reasons, but it is excellent for relieving constipation. “The fiber, magnesium, and other antioxidants found in almonds may help support better digestion and a healthy gut microbiome. Healthy gut flora with a variety of good bacteria produces better overall digestion, which helps prevent chronic constipation,” says Amy Pendleton Kay, RD, LD, registered dietitian at Top Nutrition Coaching.

Research has shown that magnesium has a laxative effect and works by drawing water into the intestines to help stools move better. There is evidence that people have used this mineral for constipation – and other health benefits – since at least the 8th century.

Full of fiber

Almonds are an excellent source of fiber, with almost 4 grams per 1-ounce serving. Kay says: “Foods rich in fiber are important because they help soften stools and increase the frequency of bowel movements, leading to improvement in constipation symptoms. »

Almonds contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber draws water into the intestines and turns into a gel, helping to move things through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber bulks up stools and reduces the risk of constipation. In addition to its gut health benefits, fiber has another wonderful benefit: it is also known to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Rich in healthy fats

Here’s a surprising fact highlighted by the two dietitians: the fats present in your diet can also contribute to good digestion. Snyder says: “Dietary fat can also help relieve constipation by increasing the strength of muscle contractions that push out fecal matter, then stimulating the colon to initiate bowel movements. It’s best to choose less inflammatory fats (such as unsaturated fats) found in foods like almonds. These types of fats, along with a variety of fiber, help support our protective gut bacteria. Almonds fit the bill here, with 14 grams of fat in 1 ounce, most of which comes from monounsaturated fats.

Research supports the importance of fat in your diet. A study of more than 1,400 adults in Europe found that those who ate foods higher in fat, like nuts, olive oil and even butter, had lower rates of constipation. The low-fat trends of the 80s and 90s still seem to persist here and there, but it’s important to remember that fats are an essential part of your diet and necessary for your body to function properly and may have been unfairly judged.

Other nuts for constipation

Both dietitians recommended almonds as their top choice, but they said other nuts provide many of the same health benefits. If almonds aren’t your favorite, here are four other nuts, chosen by our dietitians, that contain all the nutrients you need to relieve constipation and improve your health.

  • Pistachios: Kay and Snyder recommend pistachios for the same reasons. One ounce (or 49 pistachios) contains 34 milligrams of magnesium, 3 grams of fiber and 13 grams of fat, mostly unsaturated. Some research suggests that pistachios are associated with a healthier balance of gut microbes.
  • Hazelnut: Also called filberts, these flavorful nuts are one of Snyder’s top picks. One ounce (about 21 nuts) contains 46 milligrams of magnesium, nearly 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of fat, mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Nut: Snyder says nuts are a great choice to help you poop because of their high content of magnesium (45 milligrams per 1-ounce serving) and polyunsaturated fat (13 grams out of 18 grams total fat). To top it off, nuts contain 2 grams of fiber per ounce. One study found that eating one and a half ounces of nuts daily improved the diversity of the gut microbiome. (Note: This study was funded by the California Walnut Commission.)
  • Pecan nuts: Kay says pecans are one of the best choices if you’re looking for good fiber content. One ounce (or 19 halves) contains about 3 grams of fiber, 34 milligrams of magnesium, and 20 grams of fat, almost all of which is unsaturated.

The essential

Constipation is a problem that many people deal with from time to time, but if you seem to suffer from it more often, consider adding almonds (or other nuts) to your diet. Thanks to their high fiber, magnesium and fat content, you will contribute to the smooth running of your digestion. And adding almonds to your dishes can be more exciting than having a handful every day. Try this quick 15-minute Zesty Broccoli with Almonds or, for a sweet treat high in protein and fiber, enjoy Snickerdoodle Almonds.

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Gn Health

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