While a number of different factors can cause constipation, diets that are high in fat are often to blame. The high fat content found in cheese means that people who enjoy eating this food may be at an increased risk for the development of constipation, which is characterized by hard stools that are difficult to pass. Fortunately, making lifestyle changes can be effective when it comes to preventing constipation after eating cheese.
Limit Servings of Cheese
Limiting your intake can be an effective way to prevent constipation when eating cheese, according to the book "Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology." For optimal results, consume no more than two servings of cheese per meal. Depending on the amount of fat found in the particular type of cheese, appropriate serving sizes may vary substantially. Choose reduced-fat or fat-free cheeses to keep the fat levels down. Also, always refer to package labeling to determine how much cheese is in a single serving.
Incorporate Regular Exercise
Regular exercise can also be helpful when it comes to preventing constipation after eating cheese. Physical activity promotes gastrointestinal tract activity and is highly effective when it comes to treating -- and preventing -- constipation, according to the American Council on Exercise. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to maintain optimal GI tract health and prevent the development of constipation after eating high-fat foods, including cheese. Walking, biking, swimming, dancing, in-line skating and cross-country skiing are all forms of aerobic exercise that can help prevent constipation and help improve GI tract functionality.
Include High-Fiber Foods
To prevent constipation when eating cheese, add a variety of high-fiber foods to your diet. Dietary fiber absorbs water in the gastrointestinal tract -- thus making stools bulkier and softer -- and allows stools to move through the GI tract with greater ease. Though any type of fiber is better than none when it comes to constipation, the Harvard School of Public Health reports that the fiber found in wheat and oat bran may be especially effective in the management of this condition. Generally, you should get 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume, according to the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." Adult women ages 19 to 30 should aim for 28 grams of fiber per day, while adult men of the same age should get 34 grams. Women and men ages 31 to 50 should aim for 25 grams and 31 grams daily, respectively, and women and men who are 50-plus should aim for 22 grams and 28 grams, respectively, to prevent constipation and maintain optimal health.
Consider Cheese Substitutes
Cheese substitutes are a healthy alternative to dairy-based products and may be effective when it comes to preventing constipation. Cheese substitutes that are made from soy may contain dietary fiber and are generally lower in fat that dairy-based counterparts. Experiment with a variety of cheese substitutes to find one that suits your needs and taste buds. Though soy cheese was once available only is specialty markets, you can now find it at most grocery stores and whole-food markets.
- Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology; Marcia Nelms et al.
- U. S. Department of Agriculture: What Counts as a Cup in the Dairy Group?
- ACE's Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- ACSM's Resource Manual for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- The Fannie Farmer Cookbook; Marion Cunningham
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydrates
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010