5 Simple food swaps to fight constipation

If you suffer from constipation, you are not alone. Constipation is a common symptom that is estimated to affect 1 in 7 adults and can affect people of all ages, particularly women who are twice as likely to suffer as men. 

One of the common factors in constipation is not getting enough fibre in our diets. Government guidelines state that our dietary fibre intake should be 30g per day for adults, as part of a balanced diet. But the average intake is only 17.2/day for women and 20.1g/day for men.

Making simple food swaps like those included below to add more fibre to your diet can help increase your overall fibre intake to aid the transition of waste food through the bowel and reduce constipation. 

Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes

Potatoes may be a staple in the British diet but their sweet potato counterparts win in the fibre stakes with just 0.6g of dietary fibre per 100g in potatoes but 5x as much in sweet potatoes at 3g per 100g.

For times when you want to stick with your white potatoes, cook them with their skin on such as boiled potatoes to make the most of the fibre contained in their skins. 

Swap white rice for brown rice

A simple swap to brown rice instead of white can make a big difference to your fibre intake. Brown rice is a wholegrain and contains 4.5x as much fibre (1.8g per 100g) as white rice (0.4g per 100g), retaining far more of its natural nutrients. 

The same rule applies to swapping wholemeal bread for white bread, whole wheat pasta for white pasta. By choosing the wholegrain, less processed versions you will get more of the natural nutrients. 

Swap and top your breakfast cereal

Choosing a high fibre, low sugar cereal can boost your fibre intake ten fold. A serving of a high fibre cereal could give you 11g of fibre, versus 0.9g for a corn based cereal flake. 

Adding just a tablespoon of chia seeds to top your breakfast cereal or a yogurt would add an extra 4g of fibre to your meal. These nutrient rich seeds will deliver not only fiber but protein,

omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

Instead of biscuits, try oat cakes

Oats contain fibre and with their crunchy texture, oatcakes make a great alternative to sweet biscuits. Try oatcakes topped with a natural nut butter such as almond butter, peanut butter or cashew butter for a tasty and fibre rich alternative with each oatcake (single rough oatcake) offering around 1.1g of protein and a tablespoon of almond butter 1.6g. 

For a sweet treat, swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate

Chocolate may not be the first place you would look for your nutritional needs but if you would like a sweet treat then dark chocolate will provide more fibre as well as more nutrients and less sugar. A single 10g square of dark chocolate has 3x as much fibre (1g) as the milk chocolate equivalent (0.3g).