Constipation is a common condition affecting around 16% of adults in the United States and 33% of 60 years and older adults. Constipation leads to fewer than 3 bowel movements every week and the stool that passes is hard, lumpy, and painful.(1)
The most possible causes of constipation include low fiber intake, diet, certain medications, and health issues. Improving the lifestyle and diet can be majorly helpful in relieving constipation.
There are many positives to improving constipation naturally. These include:
- There are lesser adverse reactions in curing constipation naturally rather than using any medication for this purpose.
- Natural remedies are most cost-effective than medications. For example, increasing the intake of fiber in the diet by increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables is an inexpensive way to cure constipation.
- Natural remedies can help in providing long-term benefits to digestive health.
- Natural remedies can be easily incorporated into the lifestyle and can be helpful in promoting the overall wellness of an individual.
Popcorn is also a good natural source to relieve constipation. It is rich in fiber that can be helpful in softening the stool and making it easier to move through the intestine. Fiber also helps in drawing water into the stool making the stool easier and softer to pass through.
What is Popcorn?
Popcorn is the most popular snack worldwide. It can be made by adding salt and butter. It provides surprising benefits and is rich in nutrients and low in calories.
Popcorn can be made by heating kernels that have a hard exterior. On getting heated the moisture inside the kernels turn into steam and builds up pressure until the kernel ruptures and expands and turns inside out.
Type of Popcorn and Their Nutritional Value
Popcorn is a whole grain that can be healthy and nutritious and can be prepared by adding minimal ingredients. 57 grams of popcorn contains 5.76 grams of fiber (2). The types of popcorn include:
- Air-Popped Popcorn: It is made without oil and is a low-calorie and high-fiber snack. It is a good source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols.
- Butter Popcorns: It is a popular snack but can be high in calories and saturated fats. It is also available in low-fat options in certain brands that use lesser butter or butter substitutes to make it.
- Cheese Popcorns: This is a savory snack that is high in sodium and saturated fats. It is also available in low-fat cheese popcorn that is made with reduced-fat cheese and other natural ingredients.
- Lightly Salted Popcorn: It is a good source of fiber and protein. Excess salt can increase sodium. Therefore, this variety should be consumed in moderation.
- Caramel Popcorn: This type of popcorn is a sweet treat and is high in sugar and calories. It can also be available in a lower-sugar option in which the popcorn is made using natural sweeteners.
When choosing popcorn, it is important to read the nutritional label. Popcorn can be healthy and a satisfying snack, depending on the ingredients. Still should be consumed in moderation.
How Does Popcorn Help With Constipation?
Popcorn can be helpful in relieving constipation as it is rich in fiber. 3 cups serving of popcorn is able to provide 3.5 grams of fiber (3).
Fiber is essential for maintaining digestive health. It helps in alleviating constipation by adding bulk to the stool thereby making it easier to pass.
Insoluble fiber present in popcorn can help in promoting regular bowel movement. This fiber does not dissolve in water and passes through the digestive system relatively intact. It moves through the digestive tract and helps push the stool through the colon to prevent constipation.
Consuming popcorn in excess can lead to bloating and discomfort and is recommended to be consumed in moderation.
Fiber-rich foods along with maintaining digestive health have other roles in maintaining health, which includes (4):
- Fiber-rich food lower cholesterol levels by binding with the cholesterol in the digestive tract and preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
- Improves blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. This prevents blood sugar spikes and improves blood sensitivity.
- Helps in managing weight as it keeps a person full and satisfied preventing overeating.
- Fiber-rich food can be helpful in contributing to the overall wellness of a person.
How to Incorporate Popcorn into the Diet for Constipation Relief?
Popcorn can be a great nutritional addition to the diet. It can be incorporated into the diet in the following ways:
- Air-Popped Popcorn: It can be a healthier option than the butter and sodium ones. These can be made in an air popper by adding just a minimal quantity of oil.
- Add Healthy Topping to Popcorns: Some healthy toppings including cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and some grated parmesan cheese.
- Drink Plenty of Water: To help fiber move through the digestive tract, it is important to drink plenty of water.
- Pair with high-fiber Foods: Popcorns can also be paired with other high-fiber foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This can help in maximizing the relief from constipation.
Popcorn surely is a good source of fiber but excess intake can lead to bloating and discomfort. It should therefore be consumed in moderation.
Popcorn can be a healthful addition to the diet for those looking for relief from constipation. It is a good source of fiber and can keep the digestive system regular. It can be consumed alone and can also be consumed with plenty of water and other fiber-rich foods to maximize the benefits.
But if anyone experiences chronic constipation and other issues with digestive health, it is always better to consult a healthcare professional and look ahead for the best ways to manage the symptoms.