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Keep reading to discover 15 healthy foods to include in your diet that might help you poop.
15 Healthy Foods That Help You Poop
Eating fiber-rich foods such as legumes, vegetables, and grains may help promote healthy, regular bowel movements. There are many ways to include these foods in your diet.
Constipation can be very uncomfortable and painful and may affect anyone. It’s estimated that 16 in 100 adults in the United States experience constipation. Among people ages 60 years and older, that number doubles.
Common over-the-counter and prescription remedies include laxatives, stool softeners, and fiber supplements. However, eating more foods that are high in fiber may be a safe, natural, and effective remedy.
Keep reading to discover 15 healthy foods to include in your diet that might help you poop.
How fiber helps you poop
Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping to form, soften, and accelerate stool.
It can be split into two categories:
- Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like consistency, which helps soften stool and make it easier to pass. It may also help reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Insoluble fiber passes through your digestive tract intact and helps add bulk to stool. It may also help stool pass through more easily and frequently.
Including a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet may reduce constipation, bloating, and gas.
Apples are a great source of fiber. One medium, raw gala apple with skin contains 2.1 grams (g) of fiber.
Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect.
- increase stool frequency
- decrease stool hardness
- decrease time spent on the toilet
- decrease the need for laxatives
You can use apples as a healthy topping for foods such as yogurt, crepes, and oatmeal or enjoy them on their own as a travel-friendly and nutritious snack.
Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason.
A serving of five prunes contains 3.8 g of fiber.
Prunes also contain pectin and sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that your body does not digest well. It helps relieve constipation by drawing water into your intestines, spurring a bowel movement.
In a small 2022 study , researchers measured the effectiveness of prune juice for relieving chronic constipation. The 84 participants were divided into two groups — one consumed prune juice and the other a placebo.
After 3 weeks, the prune treatment group’s stool had significantly softened. After 7 weeks, their rates of normal stool were much higher.
Prunes are a great way to add a hint of sweetness to salads, meat dishes, and pilafs. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar is also a quick way to get constipation-busting benefits.
Kiwis are an excellent food to add to your next smoothie or breakfast bowl for a tasty, high fiber treat.
One raw, medium green kiwi contains 2 g of fiber.
Kiwis have great hydration properties , such as water retention and viscosity, which may stimulate movement in your digestive tract and increase stool bulk.
One review of seven RCTs suggests that kiwis may improve weekly stool frequency and decrease abdominal straining and pain, but they may not soften stool or increase daily frequency.
More research is needed.
In addition to various other health benefits, flaxseed has a high fiber content and promotes bowel regularity.
Each 1-tablespoon serving of flaxseed contains 2.7 g of fiber consisting of a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber.
A small 2018 study in people with type 2 diabetes suggests that eating 10 g of flaxseed daily for 12 weeks could reduce constipation, improve blood sugar and blood fat levels, and contribute to weight loss.
And another small study in people with chronic constipation found that eating flaxseed flour with meals for 4 weeks reduced the participants’ symptoms of constipation.
Flaxseed can add fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, soups, and shakes.
Pears are versatile and easy to add to your diet. You can eat them raw or add them to salads, smoothies, and sandwiches.
They might help relieve constipation in a few ways.
First, they’re high in fiber: One medium pear contains 5.5 g of fiber.
Pears are high in sorbitol and fructose, a type of sugar that is slowly absorbed in limited amounts because large amounts are metabolized by your liver.
Like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose may loosen stools by bringing water into your intestines. However, more research is needed to measure its full effects.
Most varieties of beans contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, which can ease constipation in different ways and help maintain regularity.
For example, cooked black beans boast nearly 6 g of fiber per 1/2-cup serving, and 1 cup of canned navy beans contains 13 g of fiber.
Add them to soups, dips, or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.
Both rhubarb‘s fiber content and its natural laxative properties encourage regularity.
Each stalk of rhubarb contains about 1 g of fiber , which is mostly bulk-promoting insoluble fiber.
Rhubarb also contains a compound called sennoside A, which has a laxative effect. Sennoside A decreases the levels of aquaporin 3 (AQP3), a protein that controls water transport in your intestines. Decreased levels of AQP3 result in increased water absorption, which softens stool and promotes bowel movements.
Rhubarb can be used in a variety of baked goods or added to yogurt or oatmeal.
Artichokes may have a prebiotic effect, which is beneficial for gut health and maintaining regularity.
Nearly all prebiotics may be considered fibers, though not all fibers are classified as prebiotics. Prebiotics may help relieve constipation and could help improve your gut microbiome by feeding the good bacteria (probiotics) in your colon.
The authors of a 2017 review looked at 5 studies with a total of 199 participants and concluded that prebiotics may increase stool frequency and improve consistency.
In an older study, 32 participants supplemented with fiber extracted from globe artichokes. After 3 weeks, the researchers found that participants’ concentrations of beneficial bacteria had increased, while amounts of harmful gut bacteria had decreased.
One medium raw artichoke contains 6.9 g of fiber.
Artichokes are available both fresh and jarred and can be used in creamy dips, salads, and flavorful tarts.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains probiotics, a form of healthy gut bacteria that may help relieve constipation and promote regularity.
Probiotics have been shown to help increase stool frequency, improve stool consistency, and reduce intestinal transit time to speed bowel movements.
In a small 2022 study , 12 children with cerebral palsy consumed kefir for 7 weeks, while a control group of 12 children consumed yogurt. Kefir was found to decrease constipation, soften stool, and increase frequency.
Kefir makes the perfect base for smoothies or salad dressings. Or you can try making a probiotic-rich parfait using kefir and topping it with fruit, flaxseed, or oats.
Dried figs provide a concentrated high dose of fiber. One large fig contains 1.86 g .
In a small 2016 study, researchers found that consuming fig paste may have helped speed colonic transit, improve stool consistency, and relieve abdominal discomfort in participants with constipation.
While figs can be consumed on their own, they can also be included in fruit salad or boiled into a tasty jam that goes great with bruschetta, pizzas, and sandwiches.
11. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber.
One medium baked sweet potato with skin contains 3.76 g of fiber.
In one small study , researchers measured the effects of sweet potato intake on constipation in 57 people who were undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.
After just 4 days, the researchers found that most markers of constipation had improved. Participants who consumed sweet potatoes may also have experienced less straining and discomfort than the control group.
Sweet potatoes can be mashed, fried, or roasted and used in place of white potatoes in any of your favorite recipes. You can also try using them as a bread substitute in avocado toast.
These edible pulses are packed with fiber. A 1/2-cup serving of boiled lentils contains an impressive 7.8 g of fiber.
Eating lentils may also help increase the production of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid found in your colon. This could increase the movement of your digestive tract to promote bowel movements.
Lentils add a rich, hearty flavor to soups and salads.
13. Chia seeds
Just 1 ounce of dried chia seeds contains 9.75 g of fiber. Chia seeds are one of the most fiber-dense foods available, consisting of about 28% fiber by weight.
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.
According to a 2016 review , chia seeds can absorb up to 15 times their weight in water, allowing for even easier elimination.
You can try mixing chia seeds into smoothies, puddings, and yogurt to pack in a few extra grams of soluble fiber.
Avocados aren’t just trendy on toast — they’re full of nutrients and may help with constipation.
One cup of sliced avocado contains 9.78 g of fiber.
Research suggests that avocados might also:
- support healthy aging
- decrease inflammation and cholesterol levels
- help with constipation
Avocados are versatile. You can add them to smoothies and baked goods, eat them plain on toast, or use them as a substitute for mayo on sandwiches.
15. 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 1/3 cup of oat bran contains 7 g of fiber, with a nearly even split of soluble and insoluble fiber.
In one small older study , 15 older adults who had recently been using laxatives consumed oat bran daily for 12 weeks. The researchers compared their results with those of a control group who did not consume oat bran.
Oat bran was well tolerated and helped the participants maintain their body weight and decrease their laxative use by 59%. This suggests that it may be a safe and effective natural remedy for constipation.
Though oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat groat, they vary in texture and taste. Oat bran works especially well when used in recipes for homemade granola and breads.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that 90% of females and 97% of males don’t meet the daily recommended fiber intake.
One reason may be that 85% of the population doesn’t consume enough fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The recommended daily fiber intakes (in grams) for females and males are as follows:
What food helps bowel movements?
Foods typically high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, may help:
- increase stool frequency
- soften stool
- decrease time spent on the toilet
- decrease the need for laxatives
What foods soften stool quickly?
Foods that are high in soluble fiber may help soften your stool and promote bowel regularity.
- black beans
- sweet potatoes
What foods are natural laxatives?
Drinking more water and consuming more foods that are high in fiber or contain probiotics may be a natural, effective way to address constipation before trying over-the-counter or prescription remedies.
Examples of these foods include:
- legumes such as beans and lentils
- fermented beverages such as kefir
- fruits such as prunes, figs, and apples
- vegetables such as rhubarb and sweet potatoes
- seeds such as chia seeds and flaxseed
- grains such as rolled oats and oat bran
Constipation is a common problem that may affect most people at some point.
Though medications and supplements may help, you may be able to get back to regularity by eating a healthy, high fiber diet.
Including a few servings of fiber-rich foods each day, along with drinking plenty of water and engaging in regular physical activity, could help increase stool frequency, improve consistency, and eliminate constipation once and for all.
Last medically reviewed on June 30, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
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- Le J, et al. (2021). Pharmacology, toxicology, and metabolism of sennoside A, a medicinal plant-derived natural compound.
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- Rodríguez-Hernández AI, et al. (2022). Effects of a modern kefir on conditions associated with moderate severe spastic quadriparesis cerebral palsy.
- Soltanian N, et al. (2018). A randomized trial of the effects of flaxseed to manage constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Sturtzel B, et al. (2009). Use of fiber instead of laxative treatment in a geriatric hospital to improve the wellbeing of seniors.
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Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
16 Foods To Help You Poop Immediately
Constipated and uncomfortable? Get your gut in high gear with these foods that help you poop immediately.
‘Roid rage may not be the official clinical terminology describing what it feels like to have itching, painful, bloody, inflamed hemorrhoids, but anyone who has ever had to sit in a firm seat or even attempt to use the bathroom with hemorrhoids knows that this classification is valid. And if you’ve ever had an excruciating paper cut that, despite its minuscule appearance, packs a painful punch whenever something even gently grazes the affected area, imagine that same degree of sharp pain, radiating from where the sun don’t shine. This can occur when you have an anal fissure, a small tear in the tissues lining your anus. When it comes to coping with fissures or hemorrhoids, there are not enough expletives in the English language to provide a satisfying enough cathartic release. Although there are some respective underlying causes that can lead to both conditions, oftentimes the primary catalyst and bottom line to your bottom problems is the result of constipation and straining amid bowel movements. And truthfully, when it comes to releases, you’re likely only interested in one at the moment: You need to poop…ASAP! Fortunately, there is a wide variety of foods that can help you poop immediately.
Yes, there are a number of treatment options available to help you care for hemorrhoids and fissures upon onset, but recovery times for both conditions can last for weeks. That’s why when it comes to your “down there care,” sometimes the best offense tends to be your best defense. You can avoid constipation and other related troubles on the toilet by following a quality diet consisting of nutritious items able to support healthy digestion while also bulking up and softening your stool. But what are some of the best foods that can help you poop immediately?
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements, explains that dietary fiber is essential to alleviating or avoiding bouts of constipation.
“Fiber helps constipation by adding bulk to the stool, which can make it easier to pass. It also helps to soften the stool and promote regular bowel movements by absorbing water in the intestines,” says Best.
We asked a handful of dietitians about the No. 1 foods that are known to help people experience a complete, productive No. 2. Keep reading to find out which foods these nutrition experts say are effective ways to provide relief when you’re eager to poop immediately. After you do do that (get it?), consider pairing any of these foods with any of these 8 Drinks To Help You Poop Immediately to overcome feeling extremely backed up and bloated.
“Sweet potatoes can aid in bowel movements because they are high in insoluble fibers,” according to Carrie Gabriel MS, RDN, of Steps 2 Nutrition. “Insoluble fibers give bulk to your stools, that bulk stimulates your digestive system and promotes bowel movements.”
“This is anecdotal,” adds Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, founder of Mama Knows Nutrition, “but this is THE most common food I hear from clients that they say promotes BMs for their family!”
Prunes, raisins, & other dried fruits
“Dried fruits, especially prunes, are another great tool to help promote bowel regularity,” says Barnes. “In addition to them being a good source of fiber—which we know helps support gut motility in general—prunes are also a good source of sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that helps with speeding things along through the gut.”
Best adds that because dried fruits like prunes, along with raisins and apricots, are high in sorbitol, this can “help to soften stools and stimulate bowel movements.”
“You don’t want to overdo it with these,” advises Barnes. “But if you’re experiencing constipation, the sorbitol and fiber in dried fruits like prunes can help nudge things along in the right direction. Prune juice works, too, and you can mix it with another juice if you don’t love the flavor!”
Best says chia seeds can help get your gut flowing because they are “high in fiber and can absorb water to help bulk up stool and stimulate bowel movements.”
“Chia seeds are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps create bulk in the stool and move it through your digestive tract,” Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN, owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition, LLC, tells Eat This, Not That! “Make sure to drink lots of water, which helps chia the fiber do its job,” she adds.
“Another great source of soluble fiber, flaxseeds dissolve in water and help make it easier for stools to move through the large intestine,” says Anzlovar.
According to Best, flaxseeds are also “rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lubricate the intestines and promote bowel movements.”
“Research has shown that eating kiwi every day helps decrease the amount of time it takes stool to move through the intestines and increased the frequency of bowel movements,” says Anzlovar. “Experts think it could be due to a mix of the antioxidants, fiber, and water content of kiwis.”
Additionally, Best notes that kiwis can effectively help alleviate constipation because they “contain an enzyme called actinidin, which can aid in digestion and promote bowel movements.”
“Avocados are high in fiber and contain healthy fats that can help lubricate the intestines and promote bowel movements,” explains Best.
“Just half of an avocado provides you with six grams of dietary fiber, enough to aid in bowel movement efficiency,” adds Gabriel. “Avocados are also high in magnesium, which attracts water to your intestines. This softens your stools and makes them easier to pass.”
“Whole grains contain natural laxatives and nutrients, such as magnesium and sorbitol, as well as insoluble fiber which helps to promote regular bowel movements,” says Best.
Gabriel echos these sentiments: “Whole grains contain significant amounts of soluble fiber which can keep you feeling full and also helps move material through your digestive tract,” she says. “Soluble fiber also enhances stool bulk and promotes healthy bowel movements overall.”
“Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are high in vitamin C and fiber, which can help stimulate bowel movements and improve digestion,” says Best.
Although Best notes that this is the only item mentioned that does not include fiber, she also says peppermint oil can still help alleviate constipation because it “contains compounds that can help relax the muscles in the digestive tract and relieve constipation.”
This golden, nutrient-dense treat can help you poop because, as Best notes, bananas “contain fiber and potassium, which can help regulate digestion and promote bowel movements.”
Best says black beans are another nutritious, versatile food item to help you poop immediately because they are “high in fiber and contains nutrients like magnesium, which can help to promote regular bowel movements.”
“Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which can help improve digestion and prevent constipation,” explains Best.
When you’re feeling constipated, pears are a sweet snack that can help rebalance your gut. This is because, as Best points out, they “contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which can help to soften stools and stimulate bowel movements, as well as sorbitol, a natural laxative.” 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
“Figs are high in fiber and contain a natural laxative called pectin, which can help promote bowel movements,” says Best.
Pumpkins can do more than serve as Halloween decor. Eating this gourd can also help provide some relief when your gut activity (or rather, lack thereof) starts to border on frightening.
According to Best, pumpkins “contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, which can help relieve constipation and improve digestion.”
In addition, they have “high amounts of fiber and potassium,” says Gabriel. “While fiber stimulates bowel movements, potassium gives the body electrolytes, thus making it easier to pass stools.”
Great for your body and overall health, leafy greens are another effective means to help you poop because they are “high in fiber and magnesium, which can help promote bowel movements and improve digestion,” says Best.
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