Constipation is one of the most challenging conditions to face – and people who suffer from this condition tend to experience the symptoms repeatedly. If you constantly have to contend with irregular bowel movements with accompanying pain during the stool movement, you will likely suffer from constipation.
It is familiar enough that even pre-teens can experience constipation when there is a change in diet or don’t have much physical activity. We recommend visiting your GP if you have trouble moving hard stools. Hard stools indicate digestive issues, so at the first sign, you should consult with a physician immediately.
Do Bananas Make You Constipated or Help You Poop?
Like many other questions concerning diet and digestive health, this question remains an open one. However, there is more evidence that promotes bananas as a fruit that might help with constipation.
One study that focused on constipation in children indicated that the condition was more common when a child has problems with his diet or abrupt lifestyle changes that may impact regular bowel movement.
According to the study, specific dietary components may help reduce the symptoms of constipation and speed up recovery from it.
However, there is evidence that the ripeness of bananas does affect pre-existing constipation.
According to the current study, unripe bananas have higher amylase-resistant starch content, which may aggravate constipation. To tie this with folk knowledge, we know that unripe banana is often suggested for diarrhea as it can help slow down the bowels and help stool solidify again.
It seems to do this even when a person is already constipated, precisely because of the higher amylase-resistant starch content. So, if you want to use bananas to manage constipation, make sure that you will be consuming the ripest bananas you can find and avoid eating green or unripe bananas.
All these scientific facts may have been confusing, so we need to recap: ripe bananas can help ease the signs of constipation. However, unripe bananas can have the opposite effect, which may cause more difficulties with moving hardened stools.
Generally speaking, it is essential to stick to gentler diets on the stomach to worsen your constipation. The BRAT Diet is one ideal example of a stomach-friendly diet. The BRAT Diet recommends light foods such as applesauce, crackers, chicken broth, rice, and bananas. Bananas are omnipresent in many stomach-friendly diets because it is easy to digest while providing a decent level of nutrients.
The BRAT diet doesn’t have particular guidelines, and it falls under the soft diet concept. However, some tips might help you settle into a BRAT Diet if you have been experiencing severe stress from your constipation:
- Always follow your body’s cues. If your body reacts heavily to certain foods, those foods trigger adverse events internally that will make your current condition worse. These adverse internal events are much easier to observe when it is the digestive system involved.
- If you are experiencing severe pain, limit food to a minimum for at least six hours. This will reduce any digestive activity, which allows the colon to rest and recover.
- After six hours, start rehydrating first. Sports drinks and plain water can help. Sucking on ice chips or ice cubes is recommended, too, if you can’t tolerate more significant quantities of fluids.
- At this point, clear liquids can be added to the diet. Clear chicken broth can be consumed. Try making chicken broth with a lot of real meat and vegetables so that the nutrients will be transferred to the broth.
- On the second day of the BRAT diet, you can start eating applesauce, crackers, and other solid foods. Again, pay attention to your body and feel how it will be reacting to the soft foods. The BRAT diet is not ideal as a long-term diet, so only use it if you have digestive issues to limit the strain on your digestion.
- Toward the end of your BRAT Diet, you can start eating soft protein sources like boiled eggs in preparation for your return to your regular diet.
Do Bananas Affect Bowel Movements?
Yes, bananas do have an impact on bowel movements. If you need to speed up your bowel movement, consume more ripe bananas. If you need to slow down your bowel movement or cut down the frequency of the bowel movements, as is the case for those suffering from diarrhea, you need to eat unripe bananas. As we have mentioned previously, unripe bananas have more amylase-resistant starches. Therefore, it will take longer for digestion to complete as the body works double-time to work on these natural starches.
There is some conflicting information, however, when it comes to isolating specific compounds from unripe bananas. One study that used laboratory mice as subjects indicated that BRS or banana-resistant starch could speed up bowel movement in mice. Sometimes, it doesn’t have an observable effect.
The way we analyze the situation, other compounds found in unripe bananas may slow down digestion, and BRS alone is not to blame. If this is the case, then the resulting recommendation would still be to avoid unripe bananas if you have a pre-existing condition as it might pre-empt more symptoms, and that might be problematic on the whole. Constipation can be challenging to manage, and you have to be mindful of what you eat not to exacerbate the condition.
What Foods Cause Constipation?
The most common culprits in causing constipation in healthy men and women are alcohol, chocolate, caffeine-containing beverages, gluten-containing food items, processed grain products, and dairy products. It can be a tall order to follow the “don’t eat” list of foods for people who suffer from constipation. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about not following the entire list because people react differently to food items. We recommend paying attention to your body when you consume certain foods so you can identify the triggers of your condition.