9 Foods That Make You Poop
Constipation is definitely not the most fun topic to talk about and can be a huge pain in the posterior (pun intended). But at some point in their lives, most people have had to face it. The number of times you should have bowel movements varies greatly, some people have them after every meal whereas others have them once a day. If your regular pattern is disrupted, it could be a sign of constipation.
I regularly take a natural constipation relief supplement, but even on top of that it’s a REALLY good idea for longterm health to eat quality, natural high fiber foods to fight constipation, and help provide gentle and productive bowel movements.
There are many different causes for constipation and these include health conditions such as hypothyroidism or the consumption of medications such as antacids, but in most cases it is usually caused by a lack of water and fiber in the diet.
In this article, I would like to list out various foods that can help you go number two.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you are drinking enough water. When you are dehydrated, your large intestine soaks up water from solid waste. This results in stool that is hard, making it difficult to pass. If you are constipated, you should aim to drink 3 or 4 more glasses of water than you usually do. This will help re-hydrate your colon and also soften up the stool.
Eating water rich foods such as celery, radishes, cucumber, watercress and tomatoes will help increase your water intake. Not only are these foods made up of more than 90% water, they also contain dietary fiber, which will help get things moving along.
I personally drink a big 1-liter container of water with and mix in a few tasteless electrolytes (I just open up one of these electrolyte capsules and shake it up). Adding in the electrolytes, specifically a formula that uses quality pink Himalayan salt as a main ingredient, helps a tremendous amount by allowing your body to actually absorb the water (to utilize it) instead of just peeing it out immediately. This is probably the #1 thing I can recommend in terms of helping go to the bathroom every morning (#2 being my beloved coffee of course).
2. Dried fruits
Prunes and prune juice are well known for their ability to help you visit the bathroom. Prunes are simply plums that have been allowed to dry, causing them to darken. 100 g of prunes contain 7 g of fiber which is significantly higher than the 1.4 g found in 100 g of plums.
This study even investigated how prunes compared to psyllium when treating constipation. The subjects in the study consumed either 50 g of prunes or 11 g of psyllium, twice daily for 3 weeks. This provided them with 6 g of fiber per day. They kept a daily symptom and stool diary and had to monitor the amount of complete spontaneous bowel movements they had, together with the consistency of their stool.
It was found that in the 40 constipated subjects, prunes proved to be more effective than psyllium at treating constipation. The study also recommended prunes to be considered a first line therapy.
Other dried fruits that are high in fiber include dates and raisins. You don’t want to eat too much of these though as they do contain large amounts of sugar.
Beans such as kidney, lima, black turtle, garbanzo and adzuki are all excellent sources of dietary fiber, containing more than 12 g per 100 g serving. Most people don’t consume enough fiber, with the recommended daily amount being between 20 and 30 g, depending on gender and age.
Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps lower bad cholesterol levels, regulates blood sugar and reduces your risk of heart disease. Insoluble fiber is what adds bulk to your stool, making it easier for you to pass it. Beans are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Additionally, they contain large amounts of plant based protein.
You can enjoy beans in a variety of ways. Eat them on their own with a little bit of salt and pepper sprinkled, chuck them into a salad, use them to make a chilli or add them to burger patties. Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) can be used to make hummus.
Hummus is pretty much my favorite way to consume the beans personally. Also, some beans can cause digestion troubles with certain individuals (some have trouble breaking beans down), but hummus works a big differently. Hummus can definitely help with constipation, especially if it is light on the olive oil when being made.
4. Nuts and seeds
Like beans, most nuts and seeds are also a great source of fiber. Chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds…the list goes on and on. Nuts and seeds are very versatile and can be eaten on their own as a snack, added to smoothies (this smoothie bowl is particularly high in fiber), or processed into nut and seed butters.
As mentioned above, it is important to drink adequate amounts of water together with fiber rich foods. This is because fiber needs water in order to be able to work efficiently. When it is hydrated, it helps pass stool through the colon. Without water however, it can worsen the problem.
Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, healthy fats and important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
In particular, oats, quinoa and brown rice. All 3 are rich in fiber, however oats have 3 times the amount of fiber that brown rice does.
There are various types of oats including steel cut and rolled oats. Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut with a sharp metal blade whereas rolled oats are oat groats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes. Both are fiber rich, easy to prepare and make for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
One important thing to note is that it is better to use plain organic oats rather than instant oats. The latter tends to contain lots of added sugar which won’t do your gut any favours. If you need to make your oats more appetizing, drizzle some honey on them.
Quinoa can be be eaten as a substitute for rice. It differs from rice as it contains much higher quantities of protein.
One important note, although grains can certainly help with bowel movements, in the long-run they can cause internal inflammation with some people. This is especially true of wheat based grains. The ones mentioned here are in general gluten free, but others (like my long-lost childhood favorite Frosted Mini Wheats) may provide temporary relief, but longterm they will just cause more digestion trouble, and possible serious inflammation consequences for those prone to gluten sensitivity.
Berries are like natures candy, both sweet and tasty. They are also powerhouses of nutrition with blueberries being considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Berries are rich in antioxidants, help protect against cancer, could prevent heart disease and are fantastic for your brain. Even if you are not constipated, berries should an integral part of your diet.
They are rich in both fiber and water, making them the perfect pooping food. Raspberries, blackberries and cranberries contain the most amount of fiber. They can be chopped up and spread over cooked oatmeal or used to make smoothies and smoothie bowls.
Fruits that are very high in fiber include passion fruit, avocados (my favorite!), guavas, pomegranates, olives, pears, kiwifruit, oranges and apples. And like berries, they have a lot of water so this helps hydrate your body. It is recommended that you have 2 servings of fruit a day.
The fruits mentioned above are loaded with nutrients and bring with them a myriad of health benefits including helping your digestive system stay in check, protecting against diseases like cancer, boosting your immunity and being a great energy source.
You can eat them on their own, mix them up to make a delicious fruit salad or add them to smoothies. One fruit that you want to avoid if you are constipated are unripe bananas as they are very starchy, making them hard to digest.
In particular, corn, artichokes, parsnips, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kale, okra, endive, sweet potatoes, carrots, beetroot, rapini, broccoli and spinach. All of these vegetables are high in fiber, containing at least 2 g per 100 g serving.
Nutritionists recommend that vegetables should make up a large part of your diet. Unlike fruit, they are generally low in sugar but high in important vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables are incredibly versatile and can be prepared in a large number of ways. They can either be eaten raw, boiled, lightly steamed, stir fried and baked.
If you don’t already, try have at least 3 portions of vegetables a day. This will keep both your bowels and other parts of your body healthy.
Lentils in particular have a lot of fiber in them, with 100 g containing almost 11 g of fiber. They are popular in Indian cuisine and are used to make a curry style dish known as dal. Lentils can also be used to make soups. To prepare them, you just need to boil them until they are soft.
Peanuts and peas are two other legumes that are rich in fiber and can be used in multiple dishes.
Foods to eat with caution
As well as eating the foods mentioned above, you should also eat the foods mentioned below with caution if you are constipated as they can make matters worse.
If red meat such as beef or pork is eaten on its own without enough fiber rich foods, it can cause havoc to your digestive system and block you up. Meat contains no fiber and so it can take some time for it to pass through your digestive system if there is no other food with fiber present.
Meats are good sources of protein and this is needed in your diet, so don’t cut them out completely. Just make sure that for every serving of meat, you have an equal or larger serving of vegetables with it.
Dairy and dairy products
For some people, dairy can cause constipation. This is thought to be because it is high in fat and low in fiber. However research is conflicting as to whether this really is the case. If dairy causes problems for you, it should be avoided. You can use alternatives such as almond milk (or my newfound favorite “oat milk”) instead of regular milk.
Deep fried, junk and frozen foods
All of these types of food don’t do your gut or your general overall health any favours. When I say frozen foods, I am talking about those ready meals that you buy in the deep freezer section of supermarkets. All of these types of foods are usually low in fiber and high in fat. They also tend to contain a large amount of salt, which is well known to absorb water and can further dehydrate you.
Many people need to use the bathroom after having a hot cup of coffee. This is because it has a laxative effect. However it also dehydrates you at the same time and therefore it might not be ideal to drink longterm if you are having poop problems. With that said, as long as you are staying properly hydrated then coffee should be just fine. The colon-stimulating laxative effects are only half of the reason I love coffee, so I’ll never give it up completely. It’s also a potent source of antioxidants, might protect against skin cancer, and obviously turns me into a productive human. So… the coffee stays (nagging alert! Again make sure you’re staying hydrated when drinking coffee! And limit yourself to 1-2 cups a day).
Alcohol… well obviously dehydrates you, so it should be avoided too. Alcohol can absolutely contribute to longterm constipation, don’t let the temporary “squirts” in the morning trick you. A glass or two of wine occasionally isn’t a big deal, but too much too often should definitely be avoided.
Constipation is not fun but by following the correct type of diet, it can easily be prevented. Make sure you drink sufficient amounts of water everyday, eat lots of fiber rich foods and also exercise often, as this too helps to keep you regular. If you have anything else that can be added to our list of foods that make you poop please reach out on our contact form and let us know!