Most people dread the poop talk, but really, you’d be surprised at how the question of regularity is actually a common problem. Aside from the fact that regular bowel movement can be essential for good health – let’s be real, it never was a good feeling whenever you’re all backed up. So, yes, please. Whatever would promote regularity, right?
There are particular types of foods that contain natural laxatives which will promote a more regular bowel movement. These are foods that are rich in fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, healthy fats, and water. This is where incorporating foods for regularity into your diet will help enormously. You’d be surprised at how tweaking your diet can get stuff moving nice and smoothly inside your gut.
But first, how regular is regular? How can you tell if you’re not regular in the first place, right? Well, it turns out that the normal range is between three times a day to three times a week. And again, it depends if it’s your regular. If you’re used to doing it once a day and then suddenly days would pass without any bowel movement, then something must be up.
It can be just due to a change in diet or eating patterns. Say you just enjoyed a long holiday where you binge on just any kind of food you can get your hands on. But you should also keep track of any changes in bowel movements if it’s chronic and if there are any accompanying symptoms. This is because it can be a sign of something more serious – irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease. So, it’s better that you have as much information just in case you’ll have to consult your gastroenterologist.
Aside from tweaking your diet with foods rich in natural laxatives, there are also other ways to keep a more regular bowel movement. More on that at the end of our food list.
In the meantime, here are the best foods for regularity that will surely help you out whatever is your regular pooping habit – especially so if you’re not regular at all. Check them out and make sure you grab them the next time you do your grocery shopping.
Best Foods for Regularity
Apples are rich in fiber and a great addition to your diet for regularity. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber which can also ward off constipation in addition to easing bowel movement.
Aside from fiber, apples are also rich in vitamin c and antioxidants. It’s also low in calories and is also very filling so it keeps you full for longer periods of time.
Artichokes are another great source of fiber that generally keeps your digestive system healthy by promoting good gut bacteria. It also helps in alleviating diarrhea and constipation.
In addition to fiber, artichokes are also high in potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and folate. And because of its high antioxidants content, it’s actually considered a superfood.
Avocados are natural laxatives. Its high soluble and insoluble fiber and magnesium content help in keeping the stool soft so no need to strain yourself because it’s a lot easier to pass.
Avocados are also rich in healthy and beneficial fats, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, supporting the cardiovascular system, and protecting against heart diseases.
Bananas, particularly the ripe ones, are very high in soluble fiber which helps in improving the movement of waste through the digestive tract. It also contains resistant starch which helps absorb water and salt keeping stool firmer.
Bananas are also particularly rich in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. It also contains alpha-carotene, beta carotene, selenium, and choline which all have antioxidant properties.
You can rely on most varieties of beans to contain high fiber and nutrients that promote good digestion. So, whether it’s a black bean or pinto bean, you can count on them to keep your bowel movement regular.
Beans on top of their fiber content, are also rich in protein, iron, folate calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. And it doesn’t hurt that most beans are also low in fat.
Most berries, like blackberries and raspberries, are relatively high in fiber and are considered mild natural laxatives. Because they’re high in fiber and water, they help soften stool and boost the frequency of bowel movement.
Berries are low in calories yet rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and manganese. They’re also great for boosting the immunity system, strengthening metabolism, and reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
The insoluble fiber in chia seeds not only helps in keeping you full longer but also in bulking up the stool in order to prevent constipation.
Chia seeds aside from fiber also contain omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and various antioxidants. In addition to keeping you regular, it also helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases and lowering high blood pressure.
Figs are of the best natural laxatives out there that promote digestion and regulate bowel movements. Its fiber content helps in adding bulk to stool softening it thereby relieving constipation.
Figs are also particularly good sources of calcium and potassium which are bone-friendly minerals. It’s also rich in antioxidants. Fresh figs are naturally low in calories but dried figs can tend to contain higher sugar and calories content.
Flaxseeds contain high soluble fiber that helps in improving bowel regularity because it dissolves in water which in turn makes the stool softer and easier to pass.
Aside from their fiber content, flaxseeds are also high in protein and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. And in addition to improving digestion and relieving constipation, it may also help in lowering blood cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Because kefir contains probiotics, it helps in improving gut health. A healthy gut entails having more relaxed bowel movements – meaning there’s no straining involved because the stool is soft and therefore easy to pass.
This fermented milk cultured from kefir grains is also a rich source of protein, calcium, and B vitamins. It may also help in supporting weight loss, promoting bone health, and reducing inflammation.
Fermented foods like kimchi contain probiotics that help in improving levels of good gut bacteria. It helps in adding bulk to stool that not only promotes regularity but also helps in alleviating constipation.
Kimchi aside from being an excellent probiotic also contains natural compounds like choline which helps in maintaining cells, muscles, and the nervous system. It’s also particularly rich in vitamin K which helps in blood clotting and boosting bone health.
Kiwi particularly contains a natural digestive enzyme called actinidin. This enzyme helps in breaking down protein and improving gastric and intestinal functions.
Kiwi is also high in dietary fiber and vitamin C content. It also has folate, copper, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K, and antioxidants. Kiwi is good not just for supporting digestive health but in boosting heart health and the immune system as well.
Most nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts, aside from their healthy fats content are also rich in fiber which supports the digestive system.
Nuts also contain several nutrients including magnesium, selenium, and vitamin E. Its antioxidants contents help in protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Pears, aside from their fiber content, also have natural laxatives like fructose and sorbitol. It also has high water content which further aids digestion. Most of its fiber content is in its skin so better to eat it unpeeled.
Pears are particularly rich in folate, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. This fruit is also a good source of flavonoids that may help in reducing inflammation ad protecting against certain diseases.
Prunes’ reputation as nature's remedy for constipation is rooted in the fact that this fruit is rich in soluble fiber and a natural laxative called sorbitol. A serving or two of prunes will help in improving gastrointestinal health.
Prunes are also a good source of potassium, iron, manganese, copper, and vitamins A, C, K, and B6. It’s also rich in antioxidants that help in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels and protecting against cellular damage.
Rhubarb aside from its laxative content also contains antidiarrheal effects due to its tannin content. This same tannin also helps in improving digestion and gut health.
Rhubarb also contains vitamin K1 and moderate content of vitamin C. It’s also, particularly a good source of antioxidants. Take note though that it’s one of the foods rich in oxalate, so be wary if you have or are prone to kidney stones.
Sauerkraut is another food that contains probiotic bacteria which helps in reducing gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Its fiber content works hand in hand with the probiotic to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Sauerkraut is also a good source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and iron which boosts the immune system, and vitamin K2 which may contribute to lowering cholesterol levels and promoting stronger bones.
Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber which is important in promoting a healthier digestive tract. One medium-sized sweet potato, baked with the skin on, can give you 3.8 grams of fiber.
Sweet potatoes are also excellent sources of beta carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. It also contains a natural compound called anthocyanin which may help in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
Whole grains like brown rice, oats, whole wheat, quinoa, and barley, provide insoluble fiber which helps in speeding up the transit of food through the digestive tract. It’s best to stir clear of processed grains like white rice, white bread, or white pasta especially so when you are already constipated.
Whole grains aside from their fiber content also contain B vitamins, folate, iron, selenium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also good for reducing the risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Yogurt with its probiotics is generally good for the digestive system. It may even help in relieving constipation as well as promoting bone health.
Yogurt is also an excellent source of protein, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and magnesium – although the amounts of these nutrients vary depending on the type of yogurt.
How To Keep Regular Bowel Movements
Drink a lot of water
Yes, the importance of drinking plenty of water. Aside from hydrating yourself, water also plays a big part not just in preventing constipation but in keeping your bowel movement regular. So again, make that water bottle handy at all times and drink up!
Move your body
Another reason why you have to keep moving is to keep a regular bowel movement. Do your best to incorporate even a short routine exercise into your daily schedule. Perhaps, you can start by taking short walks regularly and work your way from there.
Create a routine
To make your bowel movements regular, you also have to create a normal routine in your everyday life. If your mealtime is all over the place, then it’ll likely create irregularity as well. It’s ideal if you wake up, eat, and go to bed at the same time every day as much as possible.
Pay attention to your body
Believe it or not, your body actually tells you when it’s ‘time to go.’ For some, it’s obvious enough that they can really tell right away – so to the bathroom it is! For others (probably because they have a lot in their minds, or are busy doing something else), they usually miss it – and then wonder after a few days why they haven’t pooed yet.
I know, easier said than done. But avoid stress, at least try your best. Do some meditation or routine exercises. You see, regular bowel movement is related to the nervous system. So, if you’re all stressed out your body will unlikely send you that ‘feeling’ that you have to go. In fact, high levels of stress can even result in other gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach pain, constipation, and nausea.