Although we don’t like to talk about it, the truth lies in the fact that all of us have experienced being “blocked up” at one point or another. I’ll be the first to admit that there have been days when my toilet saw no action at all while I was cramping away on my bed. Although I knew I had a few people who share this misery, I didn’t realize that almost 14% of India’s urban population suffers from chronic constipation (having infrequent bowel movements for weeks on end!) that comes as a result of lifestyle changes and everyday diet.
A few constipation symptoms that have nagged me my entire life are fewer bowel movements, having to strain in order to have a bowel movement and belly bloating. Especially during my pregnancy, constipation became more prominent. You’d think because of the little one taking up space, your stomach will be forced into eliminating waste faster, but no! The progesterone hormone that relaxes the muscles in the body during pregnancy also works its magic on the digestive tract. What this means is that the food passes much slower through the intestines. The iron supplements that are taken by most pregnant women are also known to make constipation worse.
But why does one get constipated? Low fiber diet and lack of physical activity are to blame.
Every time the topic of constipation comes up (casually, of course) there would be at least one person who suggests to up your fiber intake. So I did some digging and found that the reason why fibre is so important to get our systems running is because it’s indigestible and adds bulk to the stools making them more easy to be pushed through the digestive tract. One needs two types of fiber - Soluble fiber that helps soften the faeces and insoluble fiber that adds bulk to the feces making the whole process smoother. According to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, women (aged between 31 and 50) should eat at least 25 gms of fiber daily and men should aim for 38 gms but the average intake of fiber among adults is just 15g.
Our diets that are made up of white flour(maida) and refined sugar lack fiber by a large amount. This includes foods like pasta, noodles, white bread, biscuits and other baked goods. On the other hand, foods like fruits and vegetables, legumes(sprouts, chickpeas, kidney beans), brown rice and grains (especially ones with the bran) are super high in fiber. So every time I cook, I make sure to add one of these foods in any capacity I can.
Another fiber-rich ingredient that is a must-have in every kitchen is Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains. A friend suggested this to me and once I started using it, there was no turning back. It contains the goodness of 6 different, hand-picked grains - wheat, soya, channa, oat, maize and psyllium husk. Psyllium husk that is present in this atta is known for its edible and soluble fiber which will act as a natural laxative which means that there are not so harsh side-effects because of it (Chemical laxatives might sound tempting when you’re constipated but they do you more harm than good). Soya beans are also a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals and insoluble fiber. This high-fiber content in soya makes it and any product like Aashirvaad Atta with multigrains which contains soya in it, a boon for people suffering from constipation. I did some research and found that this atta also helps with many other conditions like diabetes, obesity, kidney stones and diarrhea. Another great thing about this multigrain atta is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just rotis; I’ve made Multigrain pasta, breakfast rolls, parathas, pancakes and much more using this atta and they turned out just as delicious but much healthier!
Now that you’ve found the best and easiest way of adding more fiber to your family’s diet, you know what to do - add Aashirvaad Atta with Multigrains on your grocery list and take the first step towards a constipation-free and healthy life.