With more and more people realizing the benefits of eating a healthy, balanced diet, oat porridge (also called oatmeal) has become an increasingly popular food. Not only is it easy to make and full of essential vitamins and minerals, but due to its high fiber content it can help encourage digestion as well. However, does this same fiber that helps us stay regular also cause constipation?
In this blog post, we’ll explore why oatmeal might be a contributing factor to digestive problems and discuss possible preventative measures you can take so you don’t miss out on the nutritional goodness of oats. Read on to find out more.
Nutritional Values of Oats
Oats are rich in dietary fiber, protein and various vitamins and minerals. They contain magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and B vitamins.
They are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to slow down digestion and keeps us full for longer, while insoluble helps to keep our bowels moving.
Oats also contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan which has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels.
A 50g serving of dry oats contains:
- 194 calories
- 8.4g of protein
- 33.14g of carbohydrates
- 3.45g fat
- 5.3g of dietary fiber
The Benefits of Eating Oat Porridge
Oats have a range of health benefits, including:
- Lowering cholesterol levels – beta-glucan fiber helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
- Keeping us full for longer – soluble fiber helps to slow down digestion, making us feel fuller for longer.
- High nutrient content – oats contain a range of essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for our bodies.
- Helping with digestion – due to their high fiber content, oats can help keep our bowels regular and reduce constipation.
Can Porridge Cause Constipation?
Oats can be beneficial for regularity and help to reduce the risk of constipation, but they can also cause it. Eating too much of any food can lead to digestive problems, and the same goes for oats.
Due to its high fiber content, oat porridge can actually cause constipation if you eat too much in one sitting. This is because the body can’t process so much fiber at once and this can cause blockages.
When the fiber from oats is not broken down properly, it can cause the stool to become hard and difficult to pass. This is how you become constipated.
Also, if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, then making sudden changes to your diet can have an effect on your digestion. If you are adding oats to your diet, it’s important to go slowly and increase your intake of fiber gradually.
In addition, the presence of anti-nutrients in oats can also have a negative effect on digestion. Anti-nutrients are compounds that can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients and cause inflammation in the gut in some people.
It is important to note that not everyone is affected by oats in the same way. Some people may experience constipation while others may find they help to keep them regular.
How to Avoid Constipation When Eating Oatmeal
If you are looking to avoid constipation from eating oats, there are a few steps you can take:
- Start slowly – if you’re not used to having a lot of fiber in your diet, start by adding small amounts of oats and gradually increase the amount.
- Eat fiber throughout the day – instead of having a large bowl of oats all in one sitting, spread it out throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water – this will help to keep your bowels moving and reduce the risk of constipation.
- Try adding other ingredients – there are a variety of ingredients you can add to oats that can help to improve digestion, such as probiotics, bananas or yogurt.
- Avoid adding sugar to your porridge – sugar can cause digestive issues and make constipation worse.
By following these steps you should be able to enjoy the nutritional benefits of oats without suffering from constipation. So if you’re wondering “can porridge cause constipation?” it is possible, but with a few simple changes to your diet, it should be easy to avoid.
As long as you take the time to consider how much fiber you’re consuming and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, porridge should help to keep you regular. If you still experience digestive issues, then it may be best to reduce your intake of oats and speak to a healthcare professional.
Other Foods That Can Cause Constipation
It’s very easy to assume that oats are the only cause of your constipation, but there are many other foods that can also contribute to this issue. Foods such as red meat, cheese and other fatty and processed foods can also cause constipation.
Even milk can cause constipation in some people so if you are eating your porridge with milk, it may be worth switching to lactose-free milk or an alternative such as almond milk.
In addition, a lack of certain essential nutrients – such as magnesium, vitamin D, B12 and folic acid– can also lead to constipation. So it’s important to ensure that you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.
If you’re looking to avoid constipation, it’s important to take a look at your diet as a whole and make sure you are eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, drinking enough water and including other essential nutrients in your meals. By doing this, you should be able to reduce the risk of constipation and enjoy healthy digestion.
Can porridge cause constipation in babies?
Although oat porridge is usually known to prevent constipation, even in babies, there are certain cases when it could possibly lead to constipation.
For example, if porridge forms an excessive proportion of a baby’s diet, it can cause constipation. Instead of feeding your little one porridge exclusively, try adding variety by offering other starchy options with higher fiber content alongside it – such as boiled potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Additionally, ensure your baby gets plenty of fluids – preferably breast milk or formula; water should not be given to children under six months old without consulting a doctor. By following these tips, you can help keep your child’s digestive system moving along smoothly.
Can overnight oats cause constipation?
Overnight oats can be a great way to get your daily fiber intake and ease any digestive issues, but like all things in life, it should be enjoyed in moderation.
If you’re eating too much overnight oats, it can lead to constipation as the combination of high fiber and slow-release carbohydrates can cause the stomach to release food into the intestines too slowly, leading to digestion issues.
If you’re eating overnight oats regularly, it’s important to make sure you’re also eating other fiber-rich foods and drinking plenty of water. This should help ensure your body is getting all the fibre it needs and help to keep your bowels moving.
Closing Thoughts on Can Porridge Cause Constipation
Oats are a healthy, nutrient-rich food that can benefit your digestive system if enjoyed in moderation. But, as with anything, it is possible for porridge to cause constipation if eaten in excess.
By being mindful of how much you’re eating and pairing your oatmeal porridge with plenty of fiber-rich foods, drinking enough water and getting all essential nutrients, you can help to prevent constipation and keep your digestive system in check.
Additionally, if you’re worried about constipation, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional. They can provide advice on how best to manage your digestive issues.