Some research shows that around 4 million people in the United States have difficulty with constipation. It’s one of the top digestive complaints, and it can be both uncomfortable and painful. While laxatives can help, foods that make you poop are a natural, easy source of relief, too.
If you’re interested, read through this list of the 15 best foods for pooping. At the end of this article, I’ll share five more tips for staying regular.
15 Foods That Make You Poop
- Prune Juice
- Olive Oil
- Whole Wheat
- Brown Rice
- Chia Seeds
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables of springtime. It’s also packed with nutrients that contribute to good health. One cup of asparagus has just 27 calories, but it provides 3 grams of fiber and 16% of the daily recommended intake for iron.
The high fiber in asparagus makes a difference when it comes to healthy bowel movements. Most of the fiber in asparagus is insoluble, so it adds bulk to stools and helps keep movements regular. Some of the fiber is soluble, and when it mixes with water in the intestines, it forms a gel-like substance that could contribute to a healthy microbiome. One cup of asparagus contains 2.8 grams of dietary fiber or around 10% of the daily recommended intake.
Oatmeal is another high-fiber food that can help smooth bowel movements. One cup of cooked instant oatmeal contains 4.6 grams of dietary fiber or around 16% of the recommended daily value. Much of the fiber in oatmeal is soluble. This keeps water bound in the stool, so stools are soft and easy to pass.
A cup of instant oatmeal also contains 15% of the recommended daily value for magnesium. This is important because magnesium acts as an osmotic laxative, drawing water into the intestines from other parts of the body. This allows the stools to stay soft so they pass easily.
Oatmeal is rich in other nutrients, too, including iron, phosphorus, selenium, copper, calcium, zinc, vitamin A, and thiamin.
One cup of prune juice contains around 2.3 grams of dietary fiber or around 8% of the daily recommended intake. It also contains around 8% of the daily recommendation for magnesium, as well.
Besides fiber and magnesium, prune juice contains a compound called sorbitol. Like magnesium, sorbitol draws fluid into the intestines, where it can soften the stool. The combination of sorbitol and high fiber content in prune juice makes it an effective home remedy for addressing constipation.
Besides fixing pooping problems, prune juice is a good source of potassium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Bananas can either help soften a stool, or they can cause it to harden. It all depends on how ripe the banana is. Unripe bananas tend to add to constipation issues, but ripe ones soften stools. This happens because bananas are high in soluble fiber, which binds with water in the intestines. The resulting gel-like substance keeps digesting food moving smoothly through your system.
One banana contains 5.8 grams of fiber or around 21% of the daily recommendation. It also contains 11% of the daily recommendation for folate. Folate is necessary for the healthy growth and function of cells in the body, but it can also act as a stool softener.
When it comes to healthy pooping, olive oil can have a lubricating effect on the digestive system, so it’s easier for stools to slide through. The high level of monounsaturated fats in olive oil can also have an anti-inflammatory effect, and olive oil is associated with a healthy gut microbiome.
Olive oil has several other health benefits, too. Olive oil helps to reduce blood pressure, supports healthy cholesterol levels, balances blood sugar, helps curb cravings, supports the immune system, and contributes to a healthy brain function. Besides the healthy fats, olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K.
Lentils are a type of legume that has lens-shaped seeds. Lentils are packed with fiber. One cup contains 50% of the daily recommended value for fiber, so it can help keep bowel movements regular. Lentils provide both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Lentils are rich in other nutrients, too. A one-cup serving provides around 32% of the daily recommendation for protein, as well as 77% for folate, 16% for magnesium, and 46% for phosphorus. Phosphorus is interesting because some phosphorus compounds, such as sodium phosphate, are sometimes used for oral laxatives and for laxative enemas.
Broccoli is a high-fiber, dark green vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains a substance called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is associated with reduced inflammation, and it may also ease digestion and protect the digestive tract from the overgrowth of unhelpful gut flora. The healthier the gut microbiome is, the healthier bowel movements are, too.
Broccoli is also rich in fiber, folate, and vitamin C. One cup of raw broccoli provides around 9% of the daily recommendation for fiber.
Rhubarb is an interesting food because it has both laxative and antidiarrheal effects. Where its laxative effects are concerned, rhubarb stimulates the bowels, so that everything moves through the digestive tract faster. At the same time, the tannins found in rhubarb could help prevent or treat diarrhea.
One cup of diced, raw rhubarb provides around 8% of the daily recommended intake for fiber. It’s a decent source of many nutrients, including vitamins C and K, potassium, manganese, and folate.
When it comes to relieving constipation, avocados are a great choice for several reasons. One cup of mashed avocado provides 15 grams of dietary fiber or around 54% of the daily recommended intake. It also contains 47% of the daily recommendation for folate and 17% for both magnesium and phosphorus.
One interesting thing about avocados is that they’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Like the healthy fats in olive oil, the omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados help to lubricate the digestive system, so food passes through smoothly.
Whole wheat and foods made from whole wheat can impact pooping mostly because they’re packed with fiber. One cup of cooked whole-wheat cereal provides 3.1 grams of fiber or around 11% of the daily recommended intake.
One cup of whole wheat cereal also supplies consumers with 5% of the daily recommendation for folate, 11% for magnesium, and 17% for phosphorus.
Kefir is a probiotic drink, similar to yogurt, made by fermenting cow’s milk or goat’s milk with a specific type of probiotic culture. Because it contains helpful microbes, kefir could contribute to a healthy microbiome, which would help keep bowel movements regular.
Some studies have shown that drinking kefir increases bowel movements and alleviates chronic constipation. Besides its probiotic content, kefir nourishes the body with several nutrients, including calcium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. One cup of low-fat kefir also provides around 7% of the daily recommendation for magnesium.
Like whole wheat, brown rice is a whole grain that provides a high fiber content for helping keep bowel movements regular. One cup of cooked brown rice contains around 3.5 grams of dietary fiber or around 12% of the daily recommended intake.
Brown rice is a good source of other nutrients, too, including manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, thiamin, and niacin. Pantothenic acid could aid in pooping because, like the compounds found in rhubarb, it stimulates the digestive tract so that foods move through it faster.
Like bananas, kiwi fruit has high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This adds bulk to the stools while at the same time, keeping them soft so that they pass easily through the digestive tract. One kiwi fruit contains 2.2 grams of fiber or around 8% of the daily recommendation.
Kiwi fruit provides several vitamins and minerals, too, including 3% of the recommended daily intake for magnesium, 4% for phosphorus, and 5% for folate. One kiwi fruit also supplies consumers with 62% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. This is interesting because vitamin C if it’s taken in high doses, could cause loose, watery stools. While it’s unlikely that eating kiwi fruit could result in a vitamin C flush, it’s nice to know it has the potential to help move things along, too.
Chia seeds are small, black seeds native to northern Mexico. Like avocados, these seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that could lubricate the digestive system. They’re also a great source of soluble fiber. One ounce of chia seeds provides 7.7 grams of fiber or around 28% of the recommended daily intake.
Chia seeds are also rich in several minerals, including magnesium and phosphorus. One ounce of chia seeds provides 28% of the recommended daily intake for magnesium and 26% for phosphorus.
Quinoa helps the digestive system by providing a large amount of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk so that stools move more easily. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5.2 grams of fiber, which is around 19% of the daily recommendation.
A cup of quinoa also contains 16% of the daily recommendation for protein, 19% for folate, 30% for magnesium, and 40% for phosphorus. Eating quinoa has been associated with several health benefits, including better blood sugar balance, weight loss, better heart health, and the reduced risk of some cancers.
Five Tips For Staying Regular
Now that you’ve read through the list of the 15 best foods for pooping, let’s discuss some other things you can do to keep your bowel movements regular, smooth, and comfortable.
Idea #1: Sleep Deeply
One of the best things you can do for your digestive health is getting a decent amount of deep, uninterrupted sleep. When your sleep is disrupted, your digestive behavior can change, and that could impact how regularly you’re able to have a healthy bowel movement.
Idea #2: Stay Hydrated
Constipation is often linked to dehydration in the digestive tract. When you drink enough water, it can help keep stools soft enough to pass easily.
Idea #3: Mix And Match The Top 15 Foods For Pooping
If you’re struggling with constipation, try mixing some of the foods from the list above for a double-whammy that could loosen things up. For example, blend kefir and a ripe banana into a smoothie, or add chopped asparagus and broccoli to a lentil dish.
Idea #4: Destress
Stress can be associated with both constipation and diarrhea. Deep relaxation every day can help combat the stress response so that you can stay regular and healthy.
Idea #5: Get A Move On
When your stools become harder than you’d like, take some extra time to work out more. Exercise speeds things up in your body, and that includes moving your stools through your digestive tract faster. This means the body absorbs less water from the stools, so they stay softer and are easier to pass.