Does Peanut Butter Cause Constipation?

Peanut butter is a favorite for many, but does peanut butter cause constipation? Don't worry. Peanut butter doesn't cause bowel problems, but there're foods that certainly do.

Every individual has different bowel habits, some people pass stools more than once daily while others move their bowels twice or thrice a week. A person is said to be constipated if he/she has infrequent bowel movements or has difficulty in passing stools and the stool is hard, dry or small in quantity. When the digested food passes through the large intestine, water gets absorbed.A lot of water is absorbed when the digested food passes at a slower pace due to sluggish intestinal movements and this can lead to solid and dry stool formation which can make defecating difficult and can result in constipation. And some foods can lead to constipation.

Does Peanut Butter Cause Constipation?

If you like peanut butter and are worried about constipation there is good news for you. Peanut butter does not cause constipation and due to its high fiber content it is very effective to relieve constipation.

Both smooth and chunky peanut butter are rich in fiber. A tablespoon of chunky peanut butter has 1.3 grams of fiber while the same serving of smooth peanut butter has one gram of dietary fiber. This amount is roughly equal to 2.6% of the daily fiber requirement for men and 4% of the required fiber for women. Peanut butter contains both types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber: A tablespoon of peanut butter has around 0.3 grams of soluble fiber which is equal to the soluble fiber present in a toast of whole wheat bread, half a banana or ¾ cups of blueberries. This soluble fiber is in the form of pectin, mucilage and gum which are present on the inside of plant cells. These substances absorb a lot of water in the intestines and form thick mass which passes through the intestines rapidly. Consuming adequate amounts of soluble fiber reduces the risk of diabetes and it can lower cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble fiber: Plant calls contain a lot of cellulose, hemi cellulose and lignin which are the main constituents of insoluble fiber. These substances add bulk to the stools and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber consumption is also known to reduce the risk of many diseases like constipation, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, diverticulitis, and intestinal ulcers. One serving of peanut butter (a tablespoon) has 0.7 grams of insoluble dietary fiber. The same amount is present in three dried prunes, a cup of mushrooms or a dozen fresh cherries. Peanut butter has more insoluble fiber content than many fruits and vegetables like cucumber, grapes, watermelon or raisins. If you are a fan of peanut butter and are wondering "Does peanut butter cause constipation?" just relax because it does not.

The soluble fiber retains the water and helps to keep the stool soft while the insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool. Both factors help to pass the stool quickly through the intestines and help to ease constipation. It is essential to drink adequate amounts of water because if you consume a lot of fiber rich foods like peanut butter without taking a lot of fluids, your constipation can get worse.

Foods That Indeed Cause Constipation

Constipation is fairly common these days.Certain habits like lack of physical activity, consuming very little dietary fiber and not drinking enough water can lead to constipation. There are also some foods which can cause constipation and some of them are:

1.      Red Meat

Red meat is full of proteins and nutrients and is very delicious to eat but the down side is due to its low fiber content it can lead to constipation. It has a lot of iron as well and while iron intake is essential for wellbeing, too much iron consumption can cause constipation. If you want to enjoy a steak have some high fiber salad with it to avoid constipation.

2.      Bananas

Bananas can cause constipation. This sounds confusing because many of us have eaten bananas to relieve constipation and it is usually successful. The thing is ripe bananas are rich in fiber and eating them is very beneficial to move the bowels while the green or under ripe ones have a lot of starch and can lead to constipation. Also if you eat too many bananas without drinking enough water, the rich content of fiber and pectin will make your stool hard, causing constipation.

3.      Coffee

Does peanut butter cause constipation? No but excessive coffee can. Moderate caffeine consumption stimulates the intestines and many people have an urge to go to the toilet as soon as they have a cup of coffee. However, drinking excessive coffee can make you dehydrated and can make you feel constipated. Try to cut back your coffee consumption for better digestive health.

4.      Alcohol

Drinking alcohol in excess can lead to many health problems and constipation is one of them. Alcohol makes you dehydrated and when there is less amount of water in your body you can get constipated. Drink in moderation and keep yourself well hydrated to avoid constipation.

5.      Dairy

In some people dairy products can be a reason for constipation. Normally the lactose found in dairy products is broken down by the enzyme lactase in the intestines. When this enzyme is not present in the body the person can become lactose intolerant and the milk sugar or lactose cannot be broken down for absorption. This can lead to bloating, abdominal cramps and sometimes constipation.

6.      Processed Foods

Processed or pre packaged foods like biscuits, crisps, fast food and ready meals have a very low fiber content. These are also rich in salt, fat and sugar. These unhealthy food products are one of the biggest reasons for constipation and consuming them can increase your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Try to avoid them and make your own healthy meal from scratch.

7.      White Foods

Refined carbohydrates or white foods like white bread, white pasta, sugar and white rice have very low amounts of dietary fiber. These are broken down very quickly and are absorbed. Since there is little fiber in them the residual stool is small in quantity and stays in intestines for longer time. Try to switch to brown rice or whole wheat bread to avoid constipation.

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