It’s a rather indelicate subject, I know… But the fact of the matter is that the modern Western diet has a tendency to have us all backed up, if you catch my drift.
Ever heard of 5 to 10 a day? Of course you have. But do you actually eat 10 servings of fruits or veggies a day? Probably not. Most of us don’t eat nearly enough of the nutrients that are essential to keeping everything running smoothly, one of which, as we know, is fiber.
Before you take a “quick fix” fiber supplement, here are 8 foods that help you poop:
Raspberries have double the fiber of strawberries, coming in at about 8 grams of fiber per cup. Add some in your breakfast smoothies, or top off your yogurt or oatmeal with some for a delicious fiber boost.
Kefir is a fermented dairy drink that is packed with probiotics, which is vital to your gut health. Probiotics, also known as “good” bacteria, can ease constipation, soften stools, and even increase the frequency of bowel movements. You can drink kefir on its own, or add some to your smoothies for extra creaminess.
Staying hydrated is essential to keeping things moving, so to speak. If you don’t drink enough water, stool can’t soften adequately and move smoothly through the digestive tract easily.
Many people don’t know this, but vitamin C is essential in good digestion because it helps soften stool. Oranges, of course, are packed with vitamin C, as well as fiber to increase bulk in your stool, and naringenin, which is a flavonoid that has been known to work like a laxative.
It’s not just an old wives’ tale – prunes are actually very high in fiber, with a whopping 6 grams per ½ cup. Prunes also contain dihydroxyphenyl isatin, a compound that stimulates the bowel, as well as sorbitol, a natural sugar that typically has a laxative effect. But wait, there’s more – prunes have double the potassium of bananas, and potassium deficiency can cause constipation.
Leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard and kale are packed with nutrients that have awesome poop-facilitating powers, including fiber, magnesium to help the colon contract, and potassium which helps regulate fluid balance and muscle contraction.
Almonds are loaded with heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber, but the most important aspect that helps you poop is that they’re high in magnesium which keeps our intestines happy. Magnesium neutralizes stomach acid (antacids are actually usually high in magnesium) and helps to move stools through the intestines.
We’ve all noticed that our morning cup of coffee helps us poop, but do you know why? Surprisingly, it’s actually not because of the caffeine. Studies have found that coffee, including decaf, result in a bowel movement for nearly 30% of people. It is believed that the key here is the acidity of coffee, which is what typically gives coffee its bitter flavour, so a milder cup of coffee is less likely to make you poop. Warm liquids can usually give your colon a jumpstart, too, so tea or even warm water with lemon works.