No matter what type of diet you are following, including the keto diet, you are going to end up with a little bit of a problem until your body adjusts to that new diet: constipation, or at the very least, irregularity.
Your body gets used to consuming certain foods, and then you have to go and change all that and give it something new.
Of course, things are going to be a bit off-balance for a little while. So, how do you deal with irregularity and constipation after you go on the keto diet? Keep reading to find out.
A Drastic Change
You are going to change your eating habits for most diets, but probably not quite so much as you will when you start the keto diet. If your body is used to getting a lot of carbs and unhealthy foods, that is what your body expects, so you will probably notice at least some irregularity.
Thankfully, this is only going to be temporary, and there are a few things you can do to make the problem less annoying and go away faster.
Keep in mind that if you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort when having bowel movements, you may have nothing to worry about and you don’t have to do anything about it.
The main reason why constipation is common with people who start the keto diet is because the foods you will be eating contain a lot of nutrients, and they are dense. Your body won’t be producing nearly as much waste as it once was.
But, the keto diet doesn’t allow for a lot of fiber-rich foods, so if your bowels were used to a lot of fiber, the drastic change is going to cause a few problems. If you find your bowel movements are fewer with no other side effects such as pain and bloating, it’s not a big deal.
Typically, one has between three bowel movements daily to three per week. If you fall within this range and don’t experience that pain or bloating, your body is just resetting itself and it shouldn’t be long before it is back on track.
But, if you do experience pain and bloating, and you haven’t had a bowel movement in over three days, you will have to take steps to combat this problem until your body can readjust. Here are a few of the things you can do for constipation when you are just starting out with the keto diet.
Steps to Take
Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This has a huge effect on your bowel movements, and if you are dehydrated, this can cause pain and constipation. Because you urinate more on the keto diet, you will need to adjust your fluid intake so you can make sure that your body is getting what it needs to stay regular.
Drinking tea and coffee can cause you to urinate a lot, so you may have to drink even more water if you are a regular coffee or tea drinker. You don’t need so much fluid that you are flushing important electrolytes faster than you can get them into your body.
Get Enough Sodium and Potassium
Even though too much salt isn’t good for you, it is important to have a certain amount of sodium in your body. One way to make sure you do is by putting a bit of salt in your drinking water.
Sodium and potassium are important minerals our bodies need, and because you tend to urinate a lot on the keto diet, you are going to be flushing them away. This means you need to up your sodium and potassium intake.
A lack of either can cause dizziness, headaches, weakness, high blood pressure, and constipation. Ideally, you will have 2,000 to 4,000 mg of sodium daily, and if you are active and sweat a lot, you will need to increase this amount.
You need 4,700 mg of potassium daily, and you should be getting it from foods that are rich in potassium, such as broccoli, chicken breast, and salmon.
Take Magnesium Supplements
Your body also needs magnesium. While your actual needs won’t be any more than normal while on the keto diet, you likely weren’t getting enough magnesium in the first place.
Most of us don’t. Magnesium can even work as a mild laxative, and it can help to calm the nervous system. Since constipation can be caused by stress, and your body will be particularly stressed during the initial stages of the keto diet, it only makes sense that more magnesium will help to alleviate the problem.
Eat Fiber-Rich Vegetables
It is also important that you get fiber, and that you get it from vegetable sources. All plant foods contain fiber, particularly green vegetables.
Some of the best vegetables you can have on the keto diet that are rich in fiber include spinach, arugula, zucchini, celery, asparagus, bok choy, tomatoes, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
There are other fiber-rich foods you can have on the keto diet, including flaxseed, acacia gum, and psyllium husk powder. If you eat these things regularly, your diet will be balanced and you be more likely to have regular bowel movements.
Eat Foods with Probiotics
Constipation is often caused by digestive issues, and one way to combat those issues is to eat foods that are rich in probiotics. Not only do probiotics give your immune system a boost, they also help to reduce bad cholesterol.
They can be used for treating both diarrhea and constipation, and they can help to keep gut flora balanced so you have normal bowel movements.
Some of the best foods for the keto diet that are rich in probiotics include yogurt (regular or Greek), sauerkraut, and dill pickles.
Just keep in mind that only pickles that are naturally fermented actually have probiotics. If you just have the kind that is made with vinegar, there is little benefit to be had from eating pickles.