Is Popcorn Good for Constipation? – Overview
Most people can’t imagine watching an exciting movie at home or in a cinema without a bowl of popcorn to munch until the movie is done.
This is because popcorn is delicious, crunchy, and, if you’re at home, very easy to prepare. People might not know that popcorn is healthy but it’s rich in dietary fiber, which is key to gastrointestinal health. Popcorn can also help with constipation.
But it has been linked to constipation, but a look at its nutritional info will show you its benefits, albeit it should be eaten in moderation. This review will discuss the causes of constipation, whether popcorn helps, and other ways to relieve constipation.
What Causes Constipation?
No one can say that they’ve never been constipated at one point in their life. But constipation is nothing to smile about because you’re literally straining and getting nowhere.
Constipation can cause bloating, cramps, nausea, and abdominal pains. Constipation can also cause anal fissures and hemorrhoids, which can cause rectal bleeding.
But what really causes constipation? There are several reasons you might be constipated, and most of it has to do with your diet and lifestyle. You will be constipated when your diet doesn’t comprise enough water and fiber-rich foods.
Constipation can also be caused by sitting for long periods without stretching and failing to exercise, whether running or going to the gym.
Does Popcorn Help with Constipation?
Popcorn is a fiber-rich food that can help soften your stool, making it simpler to pass. Why? Because the fiber in popcorn helps firm up your stool, making it simpler for it to pass through your digestive tract and finally out of your body.
In addition, the fiber in popcorn can help draw water from your body into the stool in case it’s too firm, making it simpler to pass out of your body.
But note eating popcorn only won’t fix your constipation problems. You can use it in place of medicine if you don’t want to make your body dependent on medicine all the time.
As a matter of fact, if you visit a health practitioner with constipation problems, they’ll most likely recommend you increase your fiber intake and drink a lot of water.
According to mayoclinic.org, an adult female needs between 20 and 25 grams of fiber daily, while an adult male needs between 30 and 40 grams of fiber daily. Unfortunately, most people don’t meet their daily fiber needs hence why they get constipation.
Can You Eat Popcorn Daily If You Have Constipation?
Yes, it’s okay to eat popcorn daily as long as you’re eating in moderation and eating other healthy foods. One of the benefits of this crunchy food is that it has a satiating effect, so you won’t be tempted to snack on other unhealthy foods.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of popcorn has roughly 12 grams of fiber. So if you’re an adult female, 200 grams is enough for you to reach your recommended daily value. If you’re an adult male, you’ll need about 250 grams to reach recommended daily value.
However, just like anything else, you’ll need to give your body time to adjust to more fiber intake if you want to eat popcorn daily. But note that the best popcorn for constipation and your overall well-being is air-popped popcorn.
You can also make stovetop popcorn, albeit without too much oil. Oily popcorn won’t help your constipation; since oil has cholesterol, too much isn’t good for your health.
Can Too Much Popcorn Cause Constipation?
Popcorn doesn’t have a lot of calories, and the fats and sugars in popcorn are usually minimal unless you buy flavored popcorn (with added sugar and oils).
Since most people eat a lot of popcorn, maybe a 300 or 400-gram bowl, they might end up feeling constipated, nauseous, and even experience abdominal pains.
But eating a lot of popcorn alone won’t give you constipation; how you eat popcorn can cause you problems. In addition, the amount of salt, oil, and even added sugars in the popcorn might further upset your tummy.
If you eat a whole bowl of popcorn in one sitting, you might overload your digestive tract causing your colon to expand and press against your small intestines. As a result, you’ll experience bowel movements making you feel constipated.
Apart from Popcorn, How Else Can You Relieve Constipation?
Eat Fiber Rich Foods
Eating fiber-rich foods can help clear your digestive tract, reducing your constipation. Not only do fiber-rich foods help reduce constipation symptoms, but they also cure it. The following are fiber-rich foods you can eat to relieve constipation:
- Fruits like Apples (with skin), bananas, berries, avocados, papaya, plums, etc.
- Leafy greens like beet greens, collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.
- Legumes like black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, etc.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, flaxseed, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Veggies like artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, etc.
When you feel constipated, dietitians recommend you exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise; you can do simple exercises such as press-ups, sit-ups, stretches, etc. You can also cycle, jog or walk around the block.
Moving your body helps create bowel movements in your digestive tract, which eliminates the waste making you feel constipated, allowing you to pass stool easily.
Dehydration is one of the root causes of constipation. According to Pennsylvania University, the best approach for drinking water is the 8×8 rule, which states that adults should drink eight 8-ounce cups of water per day.
Note that you shouldn’t chug the eight glasses of water down your throat one after the other. Instead, you should spread them throughout your day. Also, note that alcohol and caffeinated drinks don’t count as hydration because they can aggravate your constipation symptoms.
In conclusion, if you’re experiencing constipation, you can eat popcorn to help you solve the problem because it’s fiber-rich. But too much popcorn can cause problems. Also, keep in mind that popcorn alone won’t solve constipation, so hydrate and work out.