Constipation is a very common problem. Fortunately, it can also be easily solved by adapting your diet.
Nowadays, people don’t eat enough fiber, which is basically roughage for your gut and food for your happy gut microbes. There are many different types of fibre, but when it comes to constipation, there are two that matter: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber absorbs liquid and creates a gel-like substance that helps stool move through your gut. It also helps you feel fuller for longer. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and tickles your digestive cells, which accelerates its passage and attracts water into the colon so your stool doesn’t turn into dry, hard sheep pellets.
Table of contents
- 1. Soup: more fiber, more liquid
- 2. Fermented probiotic dairy
- 3. Stone fruit for regularity
- 4. Whole grains and bran
- 5. Beans, legumes, and pulses
- 6. Seeds for constipation
In this article, we explore the top stool softener foods you need in your diet for constipation and general digestive health. Rich in fiber, they will help ease your mind and your bowels so you can enjoy the benefits of regular evacuation.
Combine dehydration with insufficient fiber and you have a perfect storm because a lack of liquids can make constipation worse. Blended vegetable soups are great for constipation help because they tackle both of these problems in one go, and they taste delicious too.
For a natural constipation remedy and a wholesome meal, try your hand at some easy soups. All you need to do is boil the ingredients, season, and blend (or serve chunky – it’s up to you). Go for a variety of seasonal vegetables and use a potato because its starches naturally thicken the soup to give it great texture without cream.
☝️TIP☝️ Physical activity has been proven to contribute to better metabolism and regular bowel movements. Yet another reason to add sports to your daily planner.
Fermented foods, including dairy products such as yogurt and kefir, are natural probiotics, meaning they contain bacteria beneficial to our microbiome, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Yoghurt and kefir are natural sources of probiotic bacteria that make short-chain fatty acids. Probiotic bacteria also encourage the other good bacteria in your gut to make these amazing molecules, which is why fermented dairy is one of several great foods to stop constipation.
☝️TIP☝️ Find out what probiotic bacteria are in your gut and what to eat to help them thrive with the Atlas Microbiome Test.
If you’re wondering what is best for constipation, then stone fruit should be on your list of food that makes you poop. Plums (prunes), apricots, peaches, and nectarines are high in insoluble fiber, which is responsible for regular bowel movements.
|Plums and prunes||Rich in fiber and sorbitol, a natural laxative.|
|Apricots||100 g of fresh apricots contains 12% of your daily dietary fiber intake.|
|Peaches and nectarines||Sources of soluble and insoluble fiber for regularity and healthy digestion.|
Whole grains are a great constipation food. These grains still have their fiber-rich outer layer (bran), as well as the nutrient-rich germ and the energy-dense endosperm. Bran is a source of insoluble fiber, one of the things to help you poop because it helps build up the stool bulk and move it along the intestine to the way out.
Wheat bran is known to significantly speed up how fast food passes through the bowel and bulk up the stool, which is why it’s a popular solution to help with constipation. All whole grains have some type of bran, so try switching white rice for brown rice, or having wheat bran porridge for breakfast.
☝️TIP☝️ Don’t make your body wait when you are ready to go. It can confuse the sphincters at the end of your colon and disrupt their normal response.
But Atlas knows how to avoid bloating! When upping your intake of beans, pulses, and legumes, take it easy. Add them into your diet slowly and progressively to give your body and microbiome time to adjust. You can also use asafetida, an Indian spice, that is believed to aid the digestion of beans.
☝️TIP☝️ The more often we strain the muscles to clean out everything, the more we make our muscles get used to the exercise.
Psyllium husk is also a widely recognised treatment for relief from constipation. Not only do these seeds attract water into the bowel and add bulk to your stool, they also modify the gut microbiome to help relieve constipation.
Another natural laxative is chia seeds for constipation. With 95% of its fiber being insoluble, they are famous for their ability to create a viscous gel-like coating. This helps add moisture to the stool and soften it.
You can also combine chia seeds, psyllium, and flaxseed (also known as linseed) for more dietary diversity in your constipation diet. Studies show that regular consumption of linseeds improves symptoms of constipation in patients with IBS and diabetes type II.
☝️TIP☝️ Soak the seeds before consuming them because they absorb a lot of liquid. Then add to yoghurt, smoothies, soups, and more.
- National Health Service, Constipation, Causes of constipation
- National Health Service, Constipation, About constipation, 2020
- Min Chen et al., Modulatory Effects of Gut Microbiota on Constipation: The Commercial Beverage Yakult Shapes Stool Consistency, 2019
- Compound Interest, The Chemistry of Plums & Prunes: Constipation & Chewing Gum, 2015
- Harvard School of Public Health, Food features
- U.S. National Institute of Health, Graham DY et al, The effect of bran on bowel function in constipation, 1982
- Gastrojournal, R. S. Fisher, M.D., Bran as therapy in constipation, 1983
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
- R&D Centre, Aurea Biolabs Pvt Ltd, Kolenchery, Cochin, India, Augustine Amalraj and Sreeraj Gopi, Biological activities and medicinal properties of Asafoetida: A review, 2017
- Noureddin Soltanian and Mohsen Janghorbani, A randomized trial of the effects of flaxseed to manage constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes, 2018