A low-fiber diet, old age and physical inactivity can also contribute to constipation.
While remedies for constipation typically include laxatives, stool softeners and fiber supplements, incorporating a few regularity-boosting foods into your diet can be a safe and effective alternative.
This article lists 14 healthy foods that can help you poop.
Apples are a good source of fiber, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 4 grams of fiber. Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect. Pectin speed up transit time in the colon, reduce the symptoms of constipation and even improve digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Apples can be used as a healthy topping for foods like yogurt and oatmeal or enjoyed on their own as a convenient and nutritious snack.
Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason. Not only do they contain 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, but they’re also a good source of sorbitol.
Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is poorly digested in the body. It helps alleviate constipation by drawing water into the intestines, spurring a bowel movement.
Prunes add a hint of sweetness when used to garnish salads and pilafs. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar can also be a quick and convenient way to get the same constipation-busting benefits found in whole prunes.
Kiwifruit is especially high in fiber, which makes it an excellent food to help promote regularity. Just one medium kiwi (2.7 ounces or 76 grams) contains 2.3 grams of fiber.
Kiwifruit has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping to induce a bowel movement.
Try adding kiwifruit to your next smoothie for a tasty, high-fiber treat.
In addition to their wide variety of health benefits, flaxseeds’ high fiber content and ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out. Each one-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Not only did flaxseeds speed up intestinal transit, but they also increased stool frequency and stool weight in both normal and constipated.
Flaxseeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups and shakes.
Pears can help alleviate constipation in a few different ways.
First, they are high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, meeting up to 24% of your daily fiber needs.
Pears are also high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent to pull water into the intestines and stimulate a bowel movement.
Furthermore, pears contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed in limited amounts.
This is due to the way in which fructose is metabolized in your body. Not only is it absorbed at a slower rate, but also large amounts of fructose can only be metabolized by your liver.
Moreover, some individuals may have fructose malabsorption, a condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb fructose.
Like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines.
Pears are incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. They can be included in salads and sandwiches or consumed raw for a sweet snack.
Most varieties of beans are high in fiber and can help maintain regularity. For example, black beans boast 7.5 grams of fiber per cooked half cup (86 grams), while a half cup (91 grams) of cooked navy beans contains 9.5 grams of fiber.
Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help ease constipation in different ways.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like consistency, softening stool and making it easier to pass. On the other hand, insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract intact and adds bulk to stool.
If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your fiber intake, beans are a good way to do so. Add them to soups, dips or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.
Both rhubarb’s fiber content and natural laxative properties encourage regularity. Each stalk of rhubarb (1.8 ounces or 51 grams) includes 1 gram of fiber, which is mostly bulk-promoting insoluble fiber.
Rhubarb also contains a compound called sennoside A, which has a laxative effect in the body. In fact, sennosides are even found in herbal laxatives like senna (24).
Sennoside A works by decreasing levels of AQP3, a protein that controls water transport in the intestines.
Decreased levels of AQP3 result in increased water absorption, which softens stool and promotes a bowel movement (25).
Rhubarb can be used in a variety of baked goods, added to yogurt or even be added to oatmeal for a kick of added flavor.
Research shows that artichokes have a prebiotic effect, which can be beneficial for gut health and maintaining regularity.
Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that works by feeding the good bacteria found in your colon, helping to optimize your digestive health. Consuming prebiotics may also help relieve constipation.
Artichokes, in particular, are a good source of prebiotics that can boost beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Artichokes are available in both fresh and jarred form and can be used in everything from creamy dips to flavorful tarts.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains probiotics, a form of healthy gut bacteria that may help alleviate constipation.
Probiotics have been shown to increase stool frequency, improve stool consistency and help reduce intestinal transit time to speed up bowel movements.
Kefir was found to decrease laxative use, speed up intestinal transit, increase stool frequency and improve consistency
Kefir makes the perfect base for smoothies or salad dressings. Alternatively, try making a probiotic-rich parfait using kefir and topping it with fruit, flaxseeds or oats for an extra boost of fiber.
Figs are an excellent way to get more fiber into your diet to encourage regular bowel movements. Dried figs, especially, can provide a concentrated dose of fiber.
A half cup (75 grams) of dried figs contains 7.5 grams of fiber, which can fulfill up to 30% of your daily fiber needs.
While figs can be consumed on their own, they can also be boiled into a tasty jam that goes great with bruschetta, pizzas and sandwiches.
11. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to providing a host of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also contain a good amount of fiber that can help increase regularity. One medium sweet potato (4 ounces or 114 grams) contains 4 grams of fiber.
The fiber found in sweet potatoes is mostly insoluble and includes a few specific types, such as cellulose, lignin and pectin. Thanks to their fiber content, some studies have shown that sweet potatoes may help promote bowel movements.
Sweet potatoes can be mashed, baked, sautéed or roasted and used in place of white potatoes in any of your favorite recipes.
This edible pulse is packed with fiber, making it an excellent addition to your diet to relieve constipation. In fact, a half cup (99 grams) of boiled lentils contains an impressive 8 grams.
Additionally, eating lentils can increase the production of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid found in the colon. It increases the movement of the digestive tract to promote bowel movements.
One animal study looked at the effects of butyrate on the digestive tract and found that it helped speed up intestinal transit, making it a potential treatment for constipation.
Lentils add a rich, hearty flavor to soups and salads alike, while also providing plenty of added fiber and health benefits.
13. Chia Seeds
Just one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber. In fact, chia seeds are made up of about 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the most fiber-dense foods available.
Specifically, chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens and moistens stool for easier passage.
One study found that chia seeds could absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, allowing for even easier elimination.
Try mixing chia seeds into smoothies, puddings and yogurts to pack in a few extra grams of soluble fiber.
14. Oat Bran
Oat bran is the fiber-rich outer casing of the oat grain.
Though it’s not as widely consumed as rolled or old-fashioned oats, oat bran contains significantly more fiber. Just one-third cup (31 grams) of oat bran contains about 5 grams of fiber, which is about 43% more than traditional oat varieties.
Though oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat groat, they vary in terms of texture and taste. Oat bran works especially well when used in recipes for granola mixes and breads.
Source: Authority Nutrition
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