Constipation is a common health issue that affects almost 20% of the world population. It is the delayed colonic transit or slower movement of food in your digestive system that causes constipation. Usually, physical inactivity, low-fiber diet and growing age contribute to constipation.
While there are several medications for constipation including laxatives, fiber supplements and stool softeners, you can try adding some healthy food habits to your daily lifestyle. Including such foods in your diet will help you excrete regularly without pain and bleeding.
In this blog, we have brought you the top foods that help you poop. See what suits you best for a smooth excretion.
Food That Help You Poop
Apples are one of the best sources of fiber. A small apple offers 4 grams of fiber approximately. Fiber moves through your intestines in undigested form, which helps in the formation of stool and encouraging smooth bowel movements.
The fruit also consists of pectin, a kind of soluble fiber, which offers a laxative effect.
In a study, around 80 people took pectin supplements and after four weeks the soluble fiber boosted the colon transit time, improved digestive health and minimized the constipation symptoms.
You can also use apple as a topping on your oatmeal-yogurt to enjoy it as a nutritious snack.
Prunes are natural laxatives for many and for all the good reasons. They don’t just consist of large amount of fiber but are also a perfect source of sorbitol.
Sorbitol is a kind of sugar alcohol that our body fails to digest properly. It helps in dealing with the problem of constipation by pulling water into your intestines and initiating a bowel movement.
In a review of 4 studies, the experts measured the benefits of prunes for relieving the conditions of constipation. They found that the natural laxatives have the ability to soften stool, increase stool frequency and improve consistency.
In another study, 40 participants having constipation were given prunes. They saw improvements in both their stool consistency and frequency as compared to the ones treated using psyllium fiber supplements.
Prunes have a slightly sweet taste when added to garnish pilafs and salads. You should drink a glass of prune juice without sugar to get the quick benefits of the food as from whole prunes.
You can order both prune juices and whole prunes online.
Kiwifruit is another fruit rich in fiber, making it one of the most effective foods that help you poop. It promotes regularity of stool. One medium-sized kiwi (76 grams) consists of 2.3 grams of fiber.
Kiwifruit stimulates movement in your digestive tract, initiating bowel movement.
In a 2007 study, 22 non-constipated and 33 constipated individuals ate kiwifruit twice a day for almost a month.
The fruit helped them boost the intestinal transit time, relieve the symptoms of constipation, decrease laxative use.
You can try having kiwifruit added to your smoothie for a high-fiber, tasty treat.
Next on the list – flaxseeds. They have a wide range of benefits, including its ability to encourage regularity with its high fiber content.
One tablespoon of flaxseeds consists if 3grams of fiber, including a both insoluble and soluble fiber.
In an animal study on mice supplemented with flaxseeds for 2 weeks, the species showed that flaxseeds can successfully treat constipation and diarrhea. It increased the stool frequency and supported with an anti-diarrheal effect.
Flaxseeds have the ability to add extra texture and fiber to your soups, shakes, oats and yogurt.
Pears can help you reduce the symptoms of constipation in various ways.
Firstly, it is rich fiber content tends to support smooth stool frequency and consistency. A medium-sized pear consists of 6 grams fiber, which meets your daily fiber needs by 24%.
Secondly, the fruit is rich in sorbitol, which draws waters into your intestines, initiating bowel movements.
Lastly, it contains fructose, another kind of sugar that you can only absorb partially, in limited amounts.
The reason is the way your body metabolizes fructose. It is not just about slow absorption, but also only your that can even metabolize large amounts of fructose.
Additionally, there are individuals who have fructose malabsorption, a condition affecting the ability of your body to absorb fructose.
Same as sorbitol, fructose (unabsorbed) works as a natural laxative by drawing water into your intestines.
Pears are a versatile fruit that you can daily include in your daily diet, without much changes. Simply add it to your salads, juices or sandwiches. You can even consume it raw.
Many varieties of beans are rich in fiber, maintaining regularity and frequency stool.
Every 86 grams or half cup of cooked Black beans consists of around 7.5 grams of fiber. To its contrary, half cup or 91 grams of cooked navy beans consists of 9.5grams of fiber.
You will also find soluble and insoluble fibers in beans, both helps ease the symptoms of constipation in various ways. Soluble fibers form a gel-like consistency by absorbing water, which in turn softens the stool allowing it to pass smoothly. Talking about the insoluble fiber, it passes through your digestive tract smoothly, adding bulk to stool.
In a 2016 study, researchers found that adding a mixture of both insoluble and soluble fiber to your daily diet can reduce bloating, gas and constipation.
If you want to increase your fiber intake, beans can be of great help. Add them to dips, side dishes, soups for a delicious meal.
Rhubarb has both natural laxative and fiber content that helps ion improving the conditions of constipation.
Every 1.8 ounces or one stalk of rhubarb consists of 1 gram of fiber, which mostly promotes insoluble fiber in bulk. Rhubarb consists of sennoside A, a compound having a laxative effect on your body. Herbal laxatives such as senna also consist of sennosides. It works by reducing the levels of AQP3, a protein that monitors the level of water transport in the intestines.
The reduced levels of AQP3 results in higher water absorption, which finally promotes bowel movements and softens stool.
You can use rhubarb in several ways, such as add it to baked goods, yogurt or to your oatmeal breakfast.
According to research, artichokes offer a prebiotic effect that is favorable for gut health and stimulating regularity. Prebiotics is a special kind of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your colon, managing your digestive health. Taking prebiotics can help you fight constipation as well.
In a 2017 review of 5 studies, 199 participants who took prebiotics saw improved stool consistency and increased frequency.
Artichokes are one of the best sources of prebiotics than can help enhance the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
A study of 32 participants on fiber supplements extracted from globe artichokes for three weeks. They experienced an increase in the good bacteria concentrations, while amounts of harmful gut bacteria decreased.
In another study, researchers looked at the benefits of artichoke leaf extract given to 208 participants with IBS (Irritable bowel Syndrome). The result was surprising. Artichokes didn’t just reduce the symptoms of IBS but helped in normalizing bowel patterns as well.
You can find artichokes in jarred and fresh form. You can use in your creamy dips and flavorful tarts.
Kefir is a probiotic food, a fermented milk beverage that helps balancing constipation. Probiotics contributes to a healthy gut and shows improved stool consistency, enhanced stool frequency and help minimize the intestinal transit time to stimulate bowel movements.
Multiple studies demonstrated kefir as a food that promotes regularity. In a study conducted on 20 participants having constipation, kefir decreased laxative use, increased intestinal transit, improved consistency and boosted stool frequency.
Ian animal study inferred that kefir can increase bulk and moisture in the stool, reducing constipation. Kefir makes for an amazing base for salad dressings and smoothies. You can also use kefir topped with oats, flaxseeds or fruit to make a probiotic-rich parfait for a fiber-boost.
Figs are a perfect way to get increased amount of fibers added to your diet, encouraging proper bowel movements. Dried figs offer a concentrated fiber dose. 75 grams of dried figs consists of 7.5 grams of fiber that satisfies 30% of everyday fiber needs.
An animal study of 2011, researchers focused on the effects of fig on constipation for a period of 3-week period. It revealed that fig paste boost stool weight and reduced the intestinal transit time, making it a home remedy for constipation.
A study conducted on humans inferred that taking fig paste to 40 individuals having constipation initiates stool consistency, increases colonic transit and relieves abdominal discomfort.
While figs consume on their own, you can also boil it into a tasty jam that suits well with pizzas, bruschetta and sandwiches.
11. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to offering a host of minerals and vitamins, sweet potatoes consists of a good amount of fiber helping to boost regularity.
One medium-sized sweet potato (114 grams) consists 4 grams of fiber. The fiber in sweet potatoes is insoluble, along with a lignin, cellulose and pectin.
Some studies concluded that the fiber content in sweet potatoes can encourage bowel movements. In a 2016 study, experts observed the effects of the food on constipation in around 57 patients with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy. After a period of four days, their constipation markers improved and they saw less discomfort and straining as compared to the control group.
You can have sweet potatoes mashed, sautéed, baked or roasted. Alternatively, you can simply replace it with white potatoes in some recipes.
Lentils are a kind of pulses replete with fibers, which makes it a perfect food that helps you poop and relieves the problem of constipation.
Half cup of boiled lentils has 8 grams of fiber. Consuming lentils can increase the formation of butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid present in your colon. It promotes bowel movements by boosting the movement in your digestive tract.
An animal study observed the effects of lentils/butyrate acid on animals’ digestive tract and revealed that it helps increase intestinal transit time, which makes it an effective treatment for constipation.
Lentils add delicious and rich flavor in salads and soups, offering you good amounts of fiber and other health benefits.
13. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are composed of 40% fiber, making it one of the best sources of fiber-dense foods in the market. One ounce or 28 grams of chia seeds consists of 11 grams of fiber.
In particular, chia seeds are a perfect source of soluble fiber, absorbing water to produce a gel-like substance that moistens and softens your stool for a smoother passage.
In a study, researchers found that chia seeds can absorb almost 12 times of their weight in water, promoting easier elimination of waste.
You can mix chia seeds in puddings, smoothies and yogurts to have a good amount of soluble fiber. Chia seeds are easily available online.
14. Oat Bran
Oat bran is another fiber-rich product of oat grain. Even though people don’t consume oat bran widely but the fact still favors it as a food with high fiber content.
31 grams or 1/3 cup of oat bran consists of 5 grams fiber, which makes for 43% higher fiber content than other varieties of oat.
In a study, around 15 individuals from the older adults group had oat bran for 3 months time. The results showed that oat bran is easily digested and helps in maintaining a balanced body weight and reduced laxative use by 59%. This makes it an effective and safe home remedy for constipation issues.
Oat bran and oatmeal are products of oat great, but vary in taste and texture. You can best use oat bran in recipes of breads and granola mixes.
In a nutshell
Constipation is one of the most common problems seen in people of all age groups. Though there are supplements and medications available to treat the health issue, you can relieve the symptoms of constipation by adding a few good foods that help you poop easily without pain, bleeding and discomfort.
Include these regularity-boosting and high-fiber foods in your daily diet and experience a change in stool regularity, consistency and frequency.