Though most of us are rather shy when it comes to talking about our personal poop schedules, it is a topic that deserves attention. The quality of our bowel movements are one of the most important indicators of a healthy body, and maintaining a regular schedule is crucial to our overall health.
Various factors influence the quality and regularity of our bathroom breaks, and diet is one of the most significant. Here are four foods that support the smooth exit of stool while keeping the gut healthy and happy.
Fiber promotes regularity, and getting enough fiber in our diet is one key to healthy bowel movements. However, there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. “Soluble fibers add bulk to stool,” explains research specialist in oncology nutrition L.J. Amaral M.S., R.D., CSO, “and insoluble fiber influences the GI tract and promotes motility.” In other words, soluble fiber gives our poop substance, and insoluble fiber helps it move through our bodies. A great source of insoluble fiber is avocado, which offers 13.5 grams of total dietary fiber.
In recent years, more and more of us have been paying attention to the bacteria in our guts, as we become aware of how important our gut microbiome is to our bowel movements and our overall health. Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, and kombucha are “packed with live bacteria, [and help] to colonize the gut and promote regularity” Amaral says. “Good bacteria aids in the fermentation of carbohydrates and other foods to promote health, especially gut health.”
Many different cultures have relied on oats for breakfast for generations now, and there’s good reason for that. Leah Silberman, M.S., R.D., explains that oats “contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber, which help to keep you regular.”
There should be no surprises here—prunes are a well-known home remedy for those having trouble getting things moving, so of course they deserve a spot on this list. According to functional medicine doctor Elizabeth Boham, M.D., M.S., R.D., “many people need only three to four prunes to have regular bowel movements.” So, even though they might not be the tastiest fruit, they certainly get the job done.