Granola is a healthy addition to any breakfast, or simply a tasty snack while on the run! But, does it make you poop? Here’s what I discovered.
Granola is an excellent remedy for constipation as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers. These fibers, when eaten in moderation, add bulk to stools to make it easier to pass through the digestive tract. They also stimulate peristaltic motion in the intestines, moving food along quicker.
If you’re planning on eating granola, then keep reading to learn some important considerations and risks when eating it for constipation as well as how to prepare your very own!
6 Facts To Consider Before Eating Granola For Constipation
Granola may be packed with nutrients that help the digestive process along, but there are also factors you need to consider before eating granola for constipation relief. Here they are:
1. Check the sugar
While the fiber in granola is great for your digestive system, the sugar content can have the exact opposite effect!
One thing about granola is that it can be absolutely loaded with sugar. High fructose corn syrup is definitely not good for you, and this is commonly added into granola and hidden under different, less sinister names (molasses, brown rice syrup, oat syrup solids).
Next time you are at the grocery store, make sure that the granola product you choose does not exceed 8 grams of sugar per serving.
2. Watch the calories
Granola can be relatively high in calories, especially if you are wanting to lose weight. Healthy granola typically has fewer than 200 calories per 1/4 cup serving, 270 calories per 1/3 cup, and 400 calories per ½-cup serving.
As you can see, the calories can add up rather quickly, especially when combined with other foods!
3. Monitor portion sizes
When eating granola in the mornings, do not think of it as cereal! You do not need an entire bowl, but rather opt for a quarter or a third of a cup. Instead of adding milk to only granola, rather use it to enhance other healthy, fibrous foods.
You can even add some yogurt or oatmeal to it. This will help balance things out, as too much of anything (even a good thing) can become unhealthy if consumed in excess!
4. Trim the fat
Many granola brands contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats that come from nuts and omega-3s from seeds. While they may be healthy fats, they can still add up.
Rather look for granola brands that contain between 2 and 3 grams of fat per 1/4 cup serving.
5. Source the oils
Many varieties of granola list palm oil and hydrogenated oils on their list of ingredients. Due to their high levels of saturated fats, you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren’t doing your heart any favors!
Healthier granola brands do replace these with healthier alternatives such as organic coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil, so always be on the lookout for that.
6. Scan for fillers
Watch that there are not any added ingredients that may cause you more digestive problems than you started with!
For example, some brands contain inulin, which is a soluble fiber that can cause digestive problems. Look for terms such as “soy protein isolate” and other similar ingredients.
Insider Tip: If the word on the label is too long to pronounce, then chances are you should not be putting it in your body!
Can Too Much Granola Cause Diarrhea?
While regular doses of fiber can promote healthy bowel movements, too much of it can cause you to experience diarrhea (not ideal)!
Remember to think of fiber as bulk that draws water into the GI tract. If you are lacking fluids in your system by not drinking enough water, your GI tract can become dehydrated. When this occurs, stools become extremely difficult to pass (most common with soluble fiber).
With this in mind, the opposite (diarrhea and loose stools) can occur when this bulk is made up entirely of insoluble fiber. While this can make for an excellent treatment for constipation, eating too much can leave you with some serious diarrhea!
This is particularly true if you increase your intake drastically and suddenly, as the contents of your GI tract will be pushed out more quickly.
How Much Granola To Eat For Constipation Relief?
The American Heart Association recommends consuming approximately 25 grams of fiber per day. You should also be adding other fruits and vegetables to keep a balance of nutrients.
Whole grain oats and nuts are the two primary ingredients of granola, and they both contain dietary fiber. 1/3 of a cup of granola will provide you with 4 grams of fiber, and this should be sufficient to regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
It is really important to increase your intake of fibrous foods such as granole gradually. If you don’t, you could end up with constipation, diarrhea, or bloating and flatulence.
Also, remember to stick to smaller portion sizes and never eat a huge amount in one sitting. Lastly, drink plenty of fluids to aid the passage of stools along!
Healthy Granola Recipe For Constipation Relief
If the unhealthy sugars, fats and preservatives found in many store bought-granolas have put you off, then why not make your own? Making your own will ensure you are getting only the best ingredients aimed at digestive health and regular bowel movements! Here is the recipe below:
- Rolled oats. The good old-fashioned oats as I like to call it!
- Nuts: You can use any nuts of your choice! Almonds are my personal favorite.
- Chia seeds: I enjoy sprinkling these in for extra omega-3s and additional health benefits.
- Melted coconut oil. You can use another type, but I prefer coconut oil.
- Honey: Or maple syrup.
- Ground up cinnamon, fine sea salt, and vanilla extract: To give the granola some added flavor.
- Flaky coconut: If you are a fan of coconut, you can add a few flakes for added flavor!
Step 01. Toss ingredients together. Oats, almonds, chia, seeds, cinnamon, and salt can all be combined. Save the rest for later.
Step 02. Add the wet ingredients. Whisk together the melted coconut oil, vanilla, and honey/maple syrup. Next, drizzle it over the dry ingredients and toss everything together until mixed. Spread the mixture out evenly on a large baking sheet.
Step 03. Bake. Bake the mixture for 20 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven when complete ad give it a proper stir.
Step 04. Add the coconut. Sprinkle the coconut evenly on top of the granola. Place the baking sheet back in the oven for 5 more minutes and watch the coconut carefully so that it does not burn. Then, remove the baking sheet from the oven and move it to a wire rack.
Step 05. Allow granola to cool. Wait 20-30 minutes, or until the granola has completely cooled to about room temperature. Next you can take a spoon and break it into sizes.
Step 06. Add on any mix-ins. If you have any add-ons such as chocolate chips or dried fruit, now is the time to add them in!
Step 07. Enjoy! If you like, you can eat it right away, or you can transfer it to a sealed container for later. This should keep for up to one month.
Making your own granola from home and enjoying it in moderation with breakfast does seem to be the best way to go, especially for constipation relief and overall health and wellness. Why not give it a go and see how things improve?