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Niche Topics ( Health and Fitness) is dedicated to help you lead a happy and healthy life. We provide the latest updates on nutrition, dieting, exercise, fitness, home remedies and natural cures for common illnesses, and other health-related topics. Get in shape with us and keep your body running at it’s peak!

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Hi Chris,

Good to hear you've quit smoking and ready to give your diet a healthy makeover. Before I talk about anything else, I thought this might interest you – constipation and smoking.


Does Quitting Smoking Cause Constipation?

Constipation is one of the many withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with smoking cessation. The exact reason is unclear although some theories suggest that slow working gastrointestinal tract (smoking stimulates intestinal contractions) may cause things to move less quickly through your system, and therefore makes it difficult for you to have a bowel movement.

That said, getting enough fiber in your daily diet doesn't have to be a huge chore. In fact, you don't even have to eat tons of fruits and vegetables everyday to meet your daily fiber requirements (and get rid of constipation). There are many excellent food sources of dietary fiber that also provide good nutrition to your body.

I also want to mention that it's important you add fiber slowly to avoid stomach problems such as bloating, cramps, gas or diarrhea. Doing so will allow your body sufficient time to adjust to the increased fiber. In addition to consuming foods that are rich in fiber, make sure to exercise and drink plenty of water everyday. Both will significantly help to get rid of your constipation problem faster.



How to Get More Fiber into Your Diet the Fun Way

1. Eat whole grain foods for every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner – throughout your day. Whole grains are better for you because they give you more fiber and micronutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium than refined grains. Aim for 6-10 servings each day.

Choose Wheaties over Special K for breakfast, or make yourself a bowl of fiber-rich oatmeal porridge and top with berries. At lunch, eat 100% whole wheat bread for your deli sandwich (a slice of white bread has a mere 0.6 grams fiber while a slice of whole-wheat bread offers 1.9 grams fiber). Substitute brown rice, wild rice, kasha, or bulgur for white rice. Use wholewheat pasta rather than white pasta, and replace white flour with whole wheat flour when you bake.

Other examples of whole grains include popcorn, whole rye, barley, millet, quinoa, triticale, and sorghum.



2. Dry beans, peas and lentils, all of which belong to the legume family are reputed to have a high content of soluble fiber. They also contain protein and may be used as a meat replacement. Whenever possible, try to include beans, peas and legumes at least 2-3 times each week.

For example, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are wonderful in salads and if you want a nice, hearty stew, cook them in a slow cooker. Chickpeas also make great snacks when roasted. Garbanzo beans, by the way, also helps you to lose weight. They make you feel full (and satisfied) for a longer period so you won't snack on unhealthy stuff.

One of my favorite way of eating garbanzo beans is to chop them up in the food processor to make fiber-rich mock-tuna salad for sandwiches.

If you're in the mood for meals with Southwestern flavors, you can add canned black beans to wild rice. Or, liven up salsa and chips with black beans and corn kernels.



3. As you already know, fruits and veggies will add fiber to your diet, along with a boatload of other nutrients like Vitamins and antioxidants. But remember to also eat the skin of the fruit or vegetable because most of the dietary fiber and nutrients are concentrated just under the skin.

Leave the skin on when you bake potatoes and sweet potatoes to boost your fiber intake. Eat apples, pears and peaches with their skin on. In my own experience, eating raisins, papaya and mango (without skin, of course) in moderation helps to relieve constipation really quickly.

Toss a handful of corns, sliced bell pepper, grated zucchini, or diced tomato to your omelet. Bump up the fiber content of your regular sandwich with raw spinach lettuces, alfalfa sprouts, or sunflower seeds. Make Scandinavian fruit soup with a variety of fruits such as prunes, apricots, raisins, and other dried fruit.

Instead of unhealthy high fat, low fiber nibbles, opt for healthy snacks such as raw celery, cucumber, carrot, or turnip sticks.



4. If you want a convenient way to increase fiber intake, I suggest you supplement with psyllium. Psyllium husk, a bulk-forming fiber, has been found to be one of the best herbs to relieve constipation as it has one of the highest amounts of soluble fiber available in grains. I highly recommend Metamucil, which is also proven and recognized by the FDA to help lower cholesterol.

I also love the fact that Metamucil (clear and natural) can be easily mixed into smoothies and drinks without changing taste or texture. Also, Metamucil capsules contain zero net carbs and 100% natural fiber, a huge benefit for those on a low-carb diet. Metamucil is available in powder form, capsules and wafers.





By Diane Hanson




What Should You Eat for More Fiber?


I'd like to know what are good fiber foods to eat. I've really bad constipation problem ever since I quit smoking last month. I'm unable to move my bowels for a week or so, and the discomfort in my stomach is killing me! I've got to admit my diet is seriously lacking in dietary fiber as I'm a picky eater ("don't-like-veggies-don't-like-fruits" person). I guess I ought to change that attitude and get more fiber in my diet. Please suggest ways to incorporate fiber into my everyday meals. It'd be great if you could also include some ideas to make eating veggies fun so that I won't have a hard time eating them. Thanks! – Chris, South Carolina.

what should i eat for more fiber

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