I have suffered with constipation for at least the last 20 years. I try to eat high fibre food (although I hate fruit) and drink lots of water.
I need to know if there is any food I should avoid that will make it worse.
I have been told that cheese and chocolate will make it worse, is this true?
This was a query that had me checking my books carefully as this was not a problem that I was aware was linked to the eating of either cheese or chocolate and I have been unable to confirm the link between those foods and constipation.
You mention that you drink lots of water and this is certainly a very good thing to do if you suffer from either hard motions or some irregularity of your bowels (both problems are often put under the same symptom of ‘constipation’).
Recommendations for fluid consumption of an adult vary between one and a half and three litres of water a day and it is best taken in a form that does not contain caffeine (ie not tea or coffee.)
Eating a high fibre diet is also helpful in preventing constipation but too much insoluble fibre, such as raw bran, can actually make the problem worse as it tends to get all gummed up inside the bowels.
A more digestible and palatable option is dried fruit such as prunes, apricots and figs. These can either be taken as a snack (which is what my children tend to do) or chopped and added to your favourite breakfast cereal.
Another suggestion that we have found helpful for our patients (a large proportion who are elderly and therefore tend to suffer from constipation) is the addition of linseed to their diet.
This is available from health food shops and has helped quite a few people to feel more comfortable.
Regular exercise will also help prevent constipation. One of the most common medicines that can cause constipation are pain-killers containing codeine but this would not appear to be a factor with your particular problem.
As long as you are not over-doing it on the chocolate and cheese from general health grounds (and from the height and weight details that you have sent me, this would not appear to be the case), I feel that you should be fine to continue enjoying those two foods.
Try chocolate coated dates and dried apricots or prunes stuffed with orange liqueur flavoured soft cheese and you have the perfect recipe for a healthy and very enjoyable diet.