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Constipation? Eat WHOLE Grains, not Flour

A study from University of Wales shows that whole grains help to prevent constipation, while ground up flour does not.

Food passes from your mouth into your stomach and stays there until it is turned into a liquid soup. Then the pyloric valve at the end of the stomach opens and the soup passes into the intestines and must remain a liquid until it reaches the colon. There water is absorbed and stool is formed.

In this study, plastic pellets were compared to flakes made from the same plastic. The large particles made food pass faster from the mouth to the colon, made the stool softer because it contained more water, and caused people go to the bathroom more frequently. In the same way, whole grains are pellets that hold water, expand in the intestines, keep stool soft and prevent constipation and ballooning of the colon called diverticulitis. Flour is a ground up grain that does not hold much water, and forms hard stools that cause constipation. More on constipation

Plastic particles, compared to plastic flakes, caused a faster whole-gut transit time (WGTT), and orocecal transit time (OCTT), increased defecation frequency, softer stool form, higher stool water content, lower stool pH. SJ Lewis, KW Heaton. Roughage revisited - The effect on intestinal function of inert plastic particles of different sizes and shape. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 1999, Vol 44, Iss 4, pp 744-748.

Checked 3/9/14

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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