Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition in Singapore that causes infrequent bowel movements or incomplete emptying of the bowels. And the causes of constipation are often related to diet and lifestyle. According to Singapore Health Services, the average Singaporean diet includes 13 grams of fibre per day, and is below the recommended 30 grams of fiber*. 

Lack of fiber in your diet. Without adequate fiber, the colon’s muscle contractions can become slow or sluggish. When this happens, your stool will move through the colon slowly, resulting in too much water being absorbed.

Fiber is the part of plant food that the body can’t digest. There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. 

How does fiber make you poop?

Soluble fiber becomes “sticky” when it gets wet. Oats, which are rich in soluble fiber, are a great example of this. Soluble fiber resists dehydration by absorbing water to add bulk and moisture to hard stools.

Insoluble fiber does not absorb much water, so it doesn’t change when liquid is added to it. Think of what celery would look like if you dropped it into a glass of water. It doesn’t absorb liquid or become sticky. That’s insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber stimulates the bowel to secrete more water or mucus to push food along.

So, both mechanisms lead to increased stool water content, resulting in bulky, soft and easy-to-pass stools.

* Extracted from the SingHealth article: High Fibre Diet.

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