When you’re backed up, it can leave you feeling bloated, sluggish, and all-around uncomfortable. If not being able to go to the bathroom is weighing you down (literally!) then you’re probably looking for some constipation relief as soon as possible. And fortunately, you don’t need to turn to risky laxatives or other potentially disastrous over-the-counter medication, as there are plenty of natural foods that will, well, make you poop, moving things along, helping you go to the bathroom easily and regularly.
Note: These are healthy, fiber-rich foods that help make you poop, but they also have other positive benefits beyond your digestive system. So no, we’re not including those junk foods that may make you run for the bathroom for all the wrong reasons!
If you’re consuming the foods and drinks on this list and still having issues, be sure to see a doctor or gastroenterologist to help with your BM troubles.
And now, these are the healthiest foods that make you poop and naturally help aid any constipation troubles.
1. Chia Seeds
Anything with greater than five grams of fiber per serving is considered a high-fiber food. One ounce (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds has double that amount! “Also, chia seeds turn gelatinous when wet and help carry away matter that might be stuck in your digestive tract,” says Alexandra Napoli, certified holistic health coach. Intrigued?
If sluggish bowels are your problem, researchers say high-fiber kiwifruit may be the kick you’re looking for. A study by Taiwanese researchers found that IBS sufferers who ate two kiwis a day for four weeks had less constipation and a general lessening of IBS symptoms than those who didn’t.
Oranges are another fibrous fruit that can help move things along and help you avoid constipation. “Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit are great because the fiber stimulates the growth of good colon microbiota/flora and subsequently increase fecal mass,” Dr. Levy says. “These fruits are excellent snack and dessert choices for patients with constipation.” Definitely a much better than sweet treats made from fiber-stripped refined carbohydrates.
There’s a reason why we go nutty for pistachios. Research from 2012 suggests that pistachios have properties similar to probiotics, which helps the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. And a healthy gastrointestinal tract (GIT) equals healthy poops.
5. Whole Grain Cereal
If you reach for whole grain cereal in the morning, you’ll start your day off with a healthy dose of fiber that will keep you regular throughout the day. “Cereal fibers (such as whole grains) are great constipation relieving foods because their cell walls are difficult to digest and hold onto water,” Dr. Levy explains.
It does more than just leaving your breath smelling minty fresh since peppermint is another food that helps make you poop. Peppermint’s soothing effect works wonders for a bad stomach but research found that it can also help people who suffer from IBS. Basically, its calming properties help loosen up the muscles in the intestinal tract so your poo can move freely.
Beans are an A-list food that everyone should add to their diets and one of the best high fiber foods. They offer a plethora of vitamins (Hey, vitamin B!) and its high-fiber count helps bulk up your stools, making it easy for them to go down your GIT.
9. Brown Rice
One cup of brown rice contains nearly four grams of fiber, making it a great food to eat when you just can’t seem to go. A study from 2017 found that women who consumed brown rice decreased their chances of getting constipation by 47 percent than those who did not. Get the above-pictured recipe here.
The word “prunes” might bring up thoughts of your grandma’s favorite afternoon snack, but the dried plums are a great food for keeping things regular. There are six grams of fiber for every 100 grams of pruney goodness. Prune juice is also a known natural laxative that can help boost your bowel movements.
Avocados’ high magnesium content helps draw moisture into the digestive tract, which helps to soften stool and increase flow, says Natoli.
12. Coconut Water
Although your best drinks for constipation are water, coffee, and green tea, coconut water does have hydrating properties and is better for you than a sugary, food dye-laden sports drink. “Coconut water is a good alternative to higher sugar containing sports drinks as a tasty way to increase fluid consumption,” Dr. Levy says.
Pears have always been known as a constipation remedy. They’re not only an excellent source of fiber, but pears have naturally-occurring, sorbitol which acts as a laxative to loosen up the stools, says Napoli.
Dried fruit packs a one-two punch when it comes to fighting constipation. “Dried fruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber and also contains sorbitol which is a natural laxative,” Dr. Levy explains. There are nearly 2 grams of sugar in one small box of raisins.
If you’re not feeling so peachy about your #2 business, try eating a peach. Peaches also have a high concentration of sorbitol. (Do you see a pattern yet? P.S. Sorbitol is a sweetener known as a sugar alcohol that acts as a laxative to help move things along in our intestinal tract.)
16. Cashew Butter
It may not be as popular as its other nutty counterparts (almond and peanut butter), but a spoonful of rich, creamy cashew butter still packs a nutritional punch—especially for your bathroom issues. It’s a good source of magnesium, another nutrient that’s essential for a healthy poop flow.
Figs—and we don’t mean the Newtons—are a great way to add more fiber to your diet. Four of them will cost you 189 calories and provide 7.4 grams of fiber that’s great for those suffering from IBS. The sugar count in this fruit is high, but the sugar is naturally-occurring and the high fiber content helps offset it.
We know: You wouldn’t expect popcorn to be on the same list as healthy foods like avocados and leafy greens, but the air-popped kind is low calorie, high fiber, and makes a great snack for those who need a boost in the bathroom. “Popcorn is one of my favorite ways to increase fiber consumption because it’s such a delicious snack,” Dr. Levy says, “I recommend that patients air pop their popcorn.” As you know, the more fiber you consume, the more bulk it adds to your poop, making it easier to get down and out of you.
Blackberries contain eight grams of fiber per cup—twice the amount of other popular berries (looking at you, strawberries and blueberries.) And as an added nutritious bonus, blackberries are one of the most antioxidant-packed fruits out there!
Plums may be the younger, fuller, version of prunes, but they will still help you get the job done. They’re a high source of naturally occurring sorbitol and even make the list of best-ever fat-burning foods!
“Cooking fresh artichokes or topping pizza with artichoke hearts is a great way to increase fiber consumption,” Dr. Levy explains. “Artichokes also contain a high amount of antioxidants which may help prevent cancer.” They can also fight off high blood pressure thanks to their magnesium and potassium amounts, he says. Check out this sinfully creamy Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip, pictured above.
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