14 Healthy Foods That Help You Poop

Constipation is a common problem affecting an estimated 20% of the population (1).

Delayed colonic transit, or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system, is one of the most common causes.

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.

1. Apples

Whole Apples and Slices

Apples are a good source of fiber, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 4 grams of fiber (2).

Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements (3).

Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect.

In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements.

After four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut (4).

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.

2. Prunes

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 (5).

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 (6).

One review looked at four studies measuring the effectiveness of prunes on constipation. It found that prunes can help soften stool, improve consistency and increase stool frequency (7).

Another study showed that 40 participants with constipation who were given prunes experienced improvements in both stool frequency and consistency, compared to participants treated with psyllium fiber supplements (8).

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.

3. Kiwifruit

Kiwi Fruit

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 (9).

Kiwifruit has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping to induce a bowel movement (10).

One 2007 study gave 33 constipated and 20 non-constipated participants kiwifruit twice daily over a four-week period.

Kiwifruit helped to speed up intestinal transit time, decrease laxative use and improve symptoms of constipation (11).

Try adding kiwifruit to your next smoothie for a tasty, high-fiber treat.

4. Flaxseeds

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 (12).

One animal study supplemented mice with flaxseeds for 14 days and studied the effects on constipation.

Not only did flaxseeds speed up intestinal transit, but they also increased stool frequency and stool weight in both normal and constipated mice (13).

Another animal study showed that flaxseed can help treat both constipation and diarrhea. It was found to increase stool frequency and also have an anti-diarrheal effect, reducing diarrhea by up to 84% (14).

Flaxseeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups and shakes.

5. Pears

Whole Pears

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 (15).

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 (16).

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 (17).

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 (17).

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.

6. Beans

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 (18, 19).

Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help ease constipation…

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