carbohydrate can be broadly divided into two categories.

  • Simple sugars– they act like an instant source of energy (i.e. glucose). Food items that are rich in simple sugars are sugar, jaggery, honey, candies, sweet meats etc.
  • Complex carbohydrate-This category includes starches, celluloses, fibers etc. They are slow in releasing their stores of energy. Food items like wheat, rice, oats, barley, potatoes and other vegetables are rich in complex carbohydrate.

In constipation, complex carbohydrate are of major importance. Among the various complex carbohydrate dietary fiber is of utmost importance in this condition.

Dietary fiber is a specific group of complex carbohydrate ( derived from plant materials) which can not be digested by human digestive system. This dietary fiber can be classified in two parts:-

Soluble fiber– As the name suggests they are soluble in nature. The influence of soluble fiber on digestive system is related to their ability to hold water. This is directly related to the sense of satiety provided by these fibers. They reduce low-density lipoprotein but has no effect on High-density lipoproteins.

Insoluble fiber– As the name suggests they are insoluble in water. Their properties are due to their indigestibility and fibrous nature. They stimulates the chewing action of jaws and enhances the saliva and gastric juice production. Their fibrous nature helps in holding stools.

The major sources of these fibers are as follows

Insoluble fiber
Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignin
Whole wheat flour Bran Mature vegetables
Bran Whole grains Wheat
Vegetables Oatmeal Fruits and edible seeds, such as strawberries
Soluble fiber
Gums Pectins
Oats Apples
Legumes Citrus fruits
Guar Strawberries
Barley Carrots