For the past 80 years, Cheerios has been one of America’s most favorite breakfast cereals, for both adults and children alike. This is understandable because all you have to do is pour cereal into a bowl, add some milk, and enjoy a delicious healthy breakfast! But then, it seems to offer additional benefits as well. Are cheerios good for constipation? Read on and find out.
Origin Of Cheerios
Cheerios was first manufactured in 1941 by General Mills in Minnesota and was originally named ‘Cheerioats’. A physicist and company employee named Lester Borchardt and his team were able to invent a puffing machine that turned oat dough into small, crunchy, ready-to-eat cereal that became a very popular breakfast fare. However, in 1945, they decided to change its name to Cheerios after Quaker Oats complained about trademark infringement from the word ‘oats’.
Since 2014, Cheerios have exerted efforts to become even more healthy. Cheerios made from that year to the present no longer contain any genetically- modified ingredients. Moreover, by the next year, General Mills made Cheerios gluten-free after they removed the cross-contamination between wheat and oats during the manufacturing process. This proved to be a good move because the first quarter sales increased by 6% in the first year.
Back to the main focus here: Is this food good for constipation? In order to figure this out, first we need to take a look at the ingredients.
Nutrition Facts Of Cheerios
Here is the nutritional value (as packaged) per serving of Cheerios which is 1 and 1/2 cup or 39g based on the % Daily Value of 2000 calories per day:
Calories – 140
Total Fat 2.5g – 3%
Cholesterol 0mg – 0%
Sodium 190mg – 8%
Total Carbohydrate 29g – 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g – 14%
Sugar 2g – 4%
Vitamin D 2mcg – 10%
Calcium 130mg – 10%
Iron 12.6mg – 70%
Potassium 250mg – 6%
Vitamin A – 10%
Vitamin C – 10%
Thiamin – 20%
Niacin – 10%
Vitamin B6 – 20%
Folate 45mcg folate acid – 20%
Vitamin B12 – 20%
Phosphorus – 10%
Magnesium – 15%
Zinc – 20%
Cheerios are high in fiber, low in sugar, and cholesterol-free–all of which are characteristics that we are looking for in a healthy cereal. In addition, they are not made with genetically-modified ingredients that have the potential to cause certain health concerns.
So now we know what’s in a serving of Cheerios, but before we get into how this can help with constipation, let’s talk about why we get constipated in the first place…
Why Do We Get Constipated?
Constipation is a digestive condition wherein your bowel movements become less frequent than usual and your stools are dry, hard, and painful or difficult to pass. You are constipated when you have less than 3 bowel movements a week. However, there are different strokes for different folks. Some people normally poop 3 times a day, others once daily, while some are fine at only 3 times a week.
So what causes constipation? It may be due to the fact that you lack fiber in your diet, don’t drink enough water, don’t have adequate exercise, or are undergoing certain disruptions in your regular daily routine especially with regards to eating, sleeping, and travelling. Older adults and pregnant women are also prone to constipation.
When you are experiencing constipation, you should not eat foods that are low in fiber and high in fat. Therefore, you must stay away from cheese, butter, ice cream, potato chips, hotdogs, and hamburgers. Fatty foods and lack of fiber can slow down the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract.
Are Cheerios Good For Constipation?
One of the best ways to prevent or relieve constipation is to increase the fiber content in your diet. Fiber helps to soften the stool so that it travels smoothly through the colon. It is then fermented by bacteria which activates the production of natural acids that protect the intestinal lining. A high-fiber diet is one of the key components to achieving good health and it also helps in reducing the risk of certain diseases.
Cheerios are made with whole grain and are a good source of fiber. One and a half cup of Cheerios contains 4g of dietary fiber which is equivalent to 14% of the recommended daily allowance. According to the Institute of Medicine, adult males should have at least 38g of fiber intake per day while adult females should consume at least 25g of fiber per day. Unfortunately, most people don’t quite reach the recommended daily amounts.
Fiber In Cheerios
There are 2 types of fibers, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, both of which help prevent constipation. As its name suggests, soluble fiber dissolves in water and transforms into a gel when it reaches the colon. Soluble fiber draws water into your gut so that your stool softens and your bowel movements become regular. Sources of soluble fiber are beans, oats, broccoli, figs, barley, carrots, and brussels sprouts.
On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is neither absorbed nor broken down in the intestines so that it remains relatively unchanged. Soluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and slows down its movement as it passes through the GI tract which helps in excretion. You can get insoluble fiber from wheat bran, nuts, berries, cauliflower, potatoes, and whole-wheat flour. Cheerios are also high in insoluble fiber.
Other Benefits Of Cheerios
Aside from promoting digestive health, high-fiber foods, such as Cheerios, can also provide the following benefits:
- Helps lower cholesterol levels
- Assists with weight loss
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Helps prevent colon cancer
Other Foods Rich In Fiber
In addition to Cheerios, here are other foods that are good for constipation because they are also high in fiber and can help make you poop:
The Long And Short Of It
Eating whole foods, instead of merely taking fiber supplements, are preferable because fiber supplements don’t provide the beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that foods do. However, you may still need to take fiber supplements if the fiber content in your diet is not enough, or if you have certain digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
A high-fiber diet, which can be partly achieved by eating Cheerios for breakfast every morning, helps to normalize bowel movements and maintain bowel health. Are Cheerios good for constipation? You bet they are, and they provide a host of other benefits as well!