I am proud to have finally found a use for biochemistry. While trying to relate to my studies, I am also trying to dodge a dreaded case of matzipation – constipation caused by matzoh’s high starch concentration that is not easily hydrolyzed (broken down by water with the help of an acid catalyst).

Matzipation is no laughing matter, but don’t worry. All you need to know is what foods will regulate your digestive tract.

Pure Fats


Photo courtesy of homeremediesforlife.com

There is no need to be afraid of fat. Not only do fats protect your body, they also aid in digestion. Fats/lipids have a hydrophobic and hydrophilic end in the fatty acid chains. The hydrophobic end is composed of saturated, singly bonded hydrocarbons that are insoluble in water.

While the hydrophilic end is soluble in water due to being composed of an aldehyde, ketone, alcohol, or carboxylic acid. The hydrophobic ends mesh with the waste. While the hydrophilic ends do not mix with the waste. Instead, they lubricate waste through the lower digestive tract.

My dad told me that chicken schmaltz (fat) would do the trick. If chicken schmaltz seems too gross, consider butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. Just a teaspoon will go a long way.

Peanut Butter


Photo by Maggie Gorman

As a vegetarian health nut, peanut butter is my security blanket. Peanut butter is a great source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which boost heart health. Unlike chicken schmaltz, butter, and olive oil; peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and fiber. No wonder peanut butter is so filling.

The fiber and fats help push and lubricate waste out of the body, while magnesium relaxes the lower intestines. When keeping kosher for Passover, you can easily get your peanut butter and jelly fix. If you think jelly is too elementary, try these novel ideas.



Photo by Katherine Baker

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is great advice because health care is too expensive, sadly. Instead of turning to laxatives when matzipation becomes unbearable, try having an apple. One medium-sized apple has four grams of fiber.

Apples also provide natural sugar and water which also help in regulating bowel movements. Some apples are great to chomp at raw while others are best cooked for they can be incorporated into almost anything. Have yourself a generous helping of apple charoset at the seder; your body will thank you.

Overripe Bananas


Photo by Abigail Wang

Bananas that have hints of green are underripe and worsen constipation because the the high starch content is not easily digested. Bananas ideal for banana bread may look absolutely unappetizing but, do not let the color scare you away.

Overripe bananas alleviate constipation because riper fruits have more sugar which can easily be digested. Still can not stomach the idea of eating a brown banana straight from the peel? Put it to good use with some sweet indulgences. If your bananas are green when matzipation strikes, expedite the ripening process.



Photo by Shirley Chen

Do not be too tempted to swear off dairy entirely when constipated. Yogurt will challenge that mindset. Dairy in general contains zero grams of fiber, which worsens constipation, but fiber is not purely relied on for regulation. Healthful bacteria living in the gut known as probiotics are renowned for regulating digestion and strengthening immunity.

If healthful gut bacteria is low due to improper diet and other immunity suppressors, it is easy to rebuild gut bacteria by consuming a safe amount of probiotics through food. Yogurt is a great means of getting a proper dose of probiotics because it is basically fermented milk. If eating plain yogurt seems too unappetizing, consider yogurt as a blank canvas to all sorts of creative possibilities. Turn plain yogurt into a digestive triple threat by making a pimped out parfait or a delectable dip.



Photo by Joseph Robertson

Coffee addicts rejoice! Drinking coffee significantly lowers your chances of colon cancer. Every time you poop, you rid yourself of toxins. Caffeine is a stimulant that perks up your entire body, especially the sphincter. Depending on your caffeine tolerance, coffee will clean you out in the most desperate of times.

When matzipation leaves you desperately needing caffeine, try some nifty tricks to get bottomless Starbucks to get more than 330 mg if that is not enough for you. Or if you want to fool people into thinking you are a barista, brew your own coffee.



Photo by Kirsten Kumar

When dehydrated, your body’s survival mechanisms switch on. To prevent you from dying, your lower digestive track turns off to avoid any potential energy from leaving your system. Hydration is essential for survival. Drinking plenty of water helps with matzipation because drinking more water is needed to break down all of the starches into simpler and digestible monosaccharides.

Reminding yourself to drink enough water is easy. Make drinking water fun by adding fruit and making infused water. A happy digestive tract is a hydrated digestive tract.