5 harmful winter habits that can cause constipation | Health

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If spring is the most cheerful of all seasons, winter is the dreamiest. However, the delightful season can quickly turn into a nightmare if you aren’t mindful about your lifestyle. While winter encourages you to eat more (mostly processed or deep-fried foods) thanks to the increased appetite, it discourages you from hydrating considering you may not pay heed to the thirst signals in the cold season. The combination could be deadly for your digestive system that requires fluid and fibre to do its job. This could result in harder stools or reduced bowel movements. The days are shorter in winter and as a result you tend to stay more in the cosy comfort of your bed compared to less colder days. This could mean an interruption in your fitness schedule and even lesser steps which is again a risk factor for constipation. Eating too much of the wrong foods, not staying active and not hydrating can land you in constipation mess. (Also read | Winter superfood: 3 healthy ways to eat ghee as mercury drops)

While bundling up in warm layers and sipping on hot beverages are common practices, some winter habits may inadvertently contribute to digestive issues, particularly constipation,(Freepik)
While bundling up in warm layers and sipping on hot beverages are common practices, some winter habits may inadvertently contribute to digestive issues, particularly constipation,(Freepik)

“As the winter chill sets in, our habits tend to undergo subtle changes to adapt to the season. While bundling up in warm layers and sipping on hot beverages are common practices, some winter habits may inadvertently contribute to digestive issues, particularly constipation,” says Dr Amol Gosavi, Senior Surgeon, Proctology, Pristyn Care in an interview with HT Digital.

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Winter habits that could lead to constipation

Here are five winter habits that could be causing constipation:

1. Inadequate hydration

Cold weather often leads to a decreased sensation of thirst, making it easy to overlook the importance of staying hydrated. However, maintaining an adequate water intake is crucial for a healthy digestive system. Insufficient water intake can result in hardening of stools, leading to constipation. To counter this, make a conscious effort to drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel as thirsty as you do in warmer months.

2. Reduced fibre intake

Winter diets sometimes shift towards comfort foods that may lack the necessary fibre content. Fiber adds bulk to stools and aids in their smooth passage through the digestive tract. Including fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your winter diet can help prevent constipation.

3. Lack of physical activity

Cold temperatures often discourage outdoor activities, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle during the winter months. Physical activity stimulates the digestive system and helps prevent constipation. Incorporate indoor exercises or activities into your routine to promote regular bowel movements.

4. Excessive consumption of dehydrating beverages

While it’s tempting to indulge in warm beverages like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate during winter, excessive consumption of these drinks can have a dehydrating effect on the body. Caffeine and certain compounds in tea can lead to increased water loss, potentially contributing to constipation. Be mindful of your beverage choices and balance them with water intake.

5. Too much processed foods

Reduce the intake of refined and processed foods that may contribute to constipation. Recognising these winter habits and making minor changes to emphasize hydration, fibre intake, physical activity, and regular bathroom breaks can significantly help prevent constipation in the colder months.

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