Q:

What foods cause constipation?

A:

Quick Answer

Chocolate, dairy products, red meat, caffeine and bananas all lead to constipation, according to MedicineNet.com. These foods tend to bind with each other as well as the rest of the solids in the digestive tract, leading to difficulty making a bowel movement.

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Full Answer

Chocolate slows the digestion process down because of the proportionally large amount of fat it contains. The peristalsis (muscle contractions) in the bowel slow down, which means that everything takes longer to move through it. People who have irritable bowel syndrome have even more problems with chocolate than the general population when it comes to eliminating waste, notes MedicineNet.com.

Dairy products such as cheese and milk lead to constipation when consumed in large quantity. The exact mechanism is uncertain, but the lactose present leads to bloating and increased gas, which contributes to the general sense of everything slowing down. A study in Iran found that children between the ages of 1 and 13 suffering from constipation had an 80 percent success rate for improved regularity in bowel movements after eliminating all milk and milk products from their diet, as stated by MedicineNet.com.

Red meat contributes to constipation for similar reasons as chocolate, as the high fat content slows the whole digestion process down. The protein fibers in red meat are also difficult to digest. Bananas cause constipation if eaten while they are still green. Their high starch content at that point is difficult for the body to digest. Caffeine has a constipating effect if people consume it while also dehydrated, states MedicineNet.com.

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