Food provides the body with the nutrition it needs to function properly, but sometimes, getting too much of the wrong food can lead to constipation and leave you searching for foods that make you poop.
What we eat is supposed to go from our mouths, into our belly, and out. Digestion time varies from person to person, but it generally takes anywhere from six to eight hours for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine. It then enters the large intestine to further digest, and then undigested food is eliminated. Some foods will have us running to the washroom quicker, while others lead to uncomfortable constipation.
For instance, lots of fruits can keep people full, but they can also cause the runs. Fried foods, on the other hand, can make you constipated. So can painkillers, since they contain elements that can bind receptors in the digestive tract. Although some people assume all fruits will help get things moving, certain fruits—such as unripe bananas—contain a lot of starch, which moves slowly through the digestive system.
Most dieticians will tell you that a well-balanced diet is best to keep you regular. While you want to have foods that help you poop, you do not want to go overboard, and you should know what makes you poop instantly to avoid mad dashes to the washroom.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation usually occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing it to become hard and dry. This can be due to a variety of factors, including lack of physical activity, certain medications, dehydration, low fiber diet, ignoring the urge to go, certain diseases like diabetes, and sometimes pregnancy. However, most commonly, it can be traced back to poor diet and lifestyle choices.
Some people might also experience constipation due to stress or changes in their routine, such as travel or altered meal timings. Aging can also slow down the digestive process, increasing the chances of constipation. In rare cases, constipation could also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as colon cancer or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Bowel Movement Basics: What Makes You Poop?
What makes you poop might be different than what makes someone else poop. However, for many people, caffeine is a trigger for bowel movements. Caffeine increases levels of cholecystokinin, which can regulate bowel movement and help with fecal elimination. There are cases where caffeinated drinks don’t seem to work for a person who is constipated, but consuming spicy food does. This is because spicy foods contain capsaicin, which irritates the bowels and leads to movement.
Experts say that one of the best things a person can do when they are constipated is drink a lot of water. Since constipation is related to dehydration in the colon, plenty of water is needed.
When a person is constipated, multiple factors can be at play, but the bottom line is that regular bowel evacuation is vital since we need to eliminate toxins from our body. Failure to do so can lead to more serious health issues, including toxicity, bacteria growth in the gut, or diverticulitis (bowel pockets).
Foods That Help You Poop
If you have a history of constipation, you might want to look at the following list of foods that make you poop.
- Prunes: They have lots of fiber and sorbitol, a natural laxative.
- Avocados: They are high in magnesium and attract water to soften stool.
- Kiwi: This fruit is low in sugar and high in fiber.
- Popcorn: Plain popcorn is a good substitute for chips because it has fiber.
- Flaxseed – The seeds are packed with fiber, but do not eat them whole because they will pass through you. Add them to smoothies, oatmeal, or a salad.
- Oranges: They contain a flavonol called naringenin, which researchers found can work like a laxative to help constipation.
- Oatmeal: It contains insoluble fiber, which can bulk up stool, helping it pass quicker.
- Aloe Vera Juice: Studies indicate that it can act as a laxative.
- Spinach: The green vegetable has fiber and magnesium. The mineral helps the colon contract and draws water in to flush things out.
- Beans: They contain resistant starch, a fiber that helps improve movement of food through the colon. It also helps balance bacteria in the GI tract.
- Green beans: This vegetable can be helpful due to its fiber content.
- Cereal: A high fiber cereal consumed in the morning can trigger movement.
- Wheat bran: The outer layer of a wheat kernel is full of fiber, with about 25g per cup.
- Almonds: They are loaded with healthy fats, proteins, and fiber, but it is really the magnesium in them that helps with constipation.
- Kefir: It is packed with probiotics, and several studies show that probiotics can ease constipation.
- Raspberries: They contain double the fiber that strawberries do.
- Broccoli: This popular green vegetable has about 5.1g of insoluble fiber per cup.
- Apples: They’re rich in fiber, and their skin contains pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can ease constipation.
- Pears: Like apples, pears are high in fiber and can help promote regular bowel movements.
- Figs: These fruits have a high fiber content and can act as a natural laxative.
- Artichokes: They’re a rich source of fiber, helping to stimulate bowel movement.
- Lentils: These are packed with fiber, promoting regular bowel movements.
- Chia Seeds: These tiny seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, leading to softer stools and easier defecation.
- Sweet Potato: This is a good source of fiber that can help increase the bulk of your stool.
- Citrus Fruits: These fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons contain a flavonol called naringenin, which may have laxative properties.
In conclusion, constipation can be extremely uncomfortable but is usually manageable with dietary and lifestyle changes. However, if you’re experiencing chronic constipation, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional as it could be an indication of a more serious underlying health condition.
Drinks That Help You Poop
Sometimes, what you drink can also influence bowel movements. Here are a few drinks that may alleviate constipation:
- Prune Juice: Prunes are a traditional remedy for constipation due to their high fiber content. Prune juice also contains a natural sugar alcohol, sorbitol, that can soften stools and make them easier to pass.
- Apple Juice: Like prunes, apples are high in fiber and contain sorbitol, which can help relieve constipation.
- Pear Juice: Pear juice is high in fructose, a type of sugar that can soften your stool. It also contains fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and helps it move through your intestines.
- Lemon Juice: This refreshing drink can help stimulate your digestive system and hydrate your body, both of which can help relieve constipation.
- Water: Staying hydrated is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat constipation.
- Coffee: For some people, drinking coffee can stimulate the urge to go to the bathroom. This is because coffee can stimulate the muscles in your digestive system.
- Aloe Vera Juice: This has natural laxative properties and can help improve digestion.
Lifestyle Tips to Relieve and Avoid Constipation
- Beyond diet, incorporating certain lifestyle changes can also significantly help relieve and prevent constipation.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Dehydration can make you constipated. To prevent this, it’s important to drink enough water and stay hydrated.
- Eat Dietary Fiber: A diet high in fiber can help form soft, bulky stool. It can come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Be Physically Active: Regular physical activity can stimulate your intestines and speed up your digestion.
- Exercise More: In addition to helping your digestion, exercise has many other health benefits. It’s good for your heart, can help you maintain a healthy weight, and improve your mood.
Often, constipation is linked to diet, and there is an opportunity to turn to foods that make you poop right away. There are some causes that go beyond diet, for example, being sedentary, taking certain medications, or suffering from a neurological condition could lead to constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome can also make it difficult to poop. Some people with this condition suffer from diarrhea, while others have constipation.
Further investigation is required when a person has a well-balanced diet and has already explored foods that make you poop right away—yet they still have difficulty with bowel movements. It may seem like a hard subject to broach with a doctor, but it won’t be anything he or she hasn’t heard before. Bowel movement is a bodily function that is important to good health.