Digestive problems, like constipation, can be painful and uncomfortable. Constipation refers to irregular bowel movements and having bowel movements that are dry, hard and difficult to pass. Healthy foods that can help prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive system are a large part of a plant-based diet. In this article, we share 15 plant-based foods that help you poop.
Does Fiber Help You Poop?
Many plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds contain fiber and help relieve constipation symptoms. The average adult needs 25-35 grams of fiber a day, but most North Americans only get half the amount of fiber they need.
Fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps it pass more quickly and prevents constipation. In the intestines, fiber traps moisture into stool to move it along. Too much fiber can lead to too much moisture absorption. Stay hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water per day to help with hydration and digestion.
How Does Fiber Help You Poop?
Fiber is plant material that our bodies cannot digest, and can be found as either soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber prevents and treats constipation by speeding up the passage of food through the bowel, by creating a bulky stool that is easier to pass.
15 Foods That Help You Poop
Insoluble fiber can be found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. Here is a list of 15 plant-based foods that are high in insoluble fiber and promote a healthy digestive system.
1. Wheat Bran
Bulk-forming wheat bran can be found in bran cereals such as Bran Flakes, Oat Bran and All-Bran cereal. You can get almost half of your fiber needs from just 1/3 cup of this cereal. Wheat bran cereals tend to be bulky and dry, so pair this cereal with fruit and plant-based yogurt or milk, blend it into a smoothie, or use it to top a smoothie bowl.
This sweet and crunchy fruit packs almost 4 grams of fiber per large, unpeeled apple. The skin is where most of the fiber is found – so remember to keep it on.
3. Kidney beans
These dark red, soft-textured beans can be added to soups, salads, stews and rice dishes. Not only high in fiber, but they also provide protein, B vitamins, and iron.
¼ cup of almonds with the skin on serves as a healthy, satisfying snack that’s loaded with fiber and good fats. You can add these nuts to your cereal or oatmeal too.
A cup of cooked broccoli has around 5 grams of fiber. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be added to almost any dish – it can be steamed, sautéed, and roasted or thrown onto the grill for a crisp texture.
A simple way to increase fiber intake is to choose oatmeal for breakfast or snacks. Oatmeal has insoluble fiber to help with digestion and it’s also high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Lentils are small, thin seeds that can be green, brown, red, orange, or yellow in color. They can be added to almost any plant-based dish as the protein and fiber source.
8. Whole grains
Include whole grains in your day in side dishes, salads, bread, and crackers. Choose whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti, brown rice, whole grain bread, and grains such as amaranth, teff, quinoa, bulgur or barley.
9. Brussels sprouts
A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains around 6 grams of fiber. This delicious vegetable can be grilled or roasted and served as a side dish.
10. Acorn squash
Different types of squash grow in the winter and summer. Winter squashes, such as acorn and Hubbard, are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They can be roasted, boiled or steamed and used in soups, stews, casseroles, and salads.
The fiber in berries is found in their skin. Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries can be added fresh or frozen to cereal and yogurt – or eaten on their own.
Have you taken your flaxative lately? A 2-tablespoon serving of ground flaxseed contains 3.8 grams of fiber and a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Boost your fiber intake by adding ground flaxseed to cereal, oatmeal, roti or tortillas.
This portable fruit is a great snack after a workout or in the morning as part of a nutritious plant-based breakfast. One banana has around 3 grams of fiber.
14. Dried fruit
Dates, dried figs, dried apricots, prunes, and raisins are excellent sources of fiber as well as other important nutrients like iron and antioxidants. Snack on ¼ cup of dried fruits throughout your day, or add these to your high-fiber cereal or yogurt parfait in the morning.
15. Navy beans
Navy beans or white beans are small, white, oval beans used to make baked beans, soups, and stews. One cup of these beans contains almost 20 grams of fiber.
|Food||Portion||Amount of Fiber||% Daily Value|
|All-Bran Cereal||1/2 cup||10 g||40%|
|Apple||1 medium||4 g||16%|
|Kidney beans, cooked||1 cup||16 g||64%|
|Almonds||1 ounce||4 g||16%|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||5 g||20%|
|Oat bran, raw||1 ounce||12 g||48%|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||16 g||64%|
|Brussels sprouts, cooked||1 cup||6 g||24%|
|Acorn squash, cooked||1 cup||9 g||36%|
|Raspberries, raw||1 cup||8 g||32%|
|Flaxseed||1 ounce||8 g||32%|
|Banana||1 medium||3 g||12%|
|Figs, dried||1/2 cup||8 g||32%|
|Navy beans, cooked||1 cup||19 g||76%|
Foods listed in the table above are also categorized by the daily percent value for fiber to see how much fiber a food serving contributes to your daily recommended allowance.
Now that you know which plant-based foods help you poop, remember to gradually introduce fiber into your diet as your body will adapt better to small changes. Foods that contain insoluble fiber, such as legumes, may cause gas. Gradually introduce these foods into your diet and increase as tolerated. Lastly, add fluids to your diet by drinking six to eight glasses of water per day to help with hydration and digestion.
How do you make sure you get enough fiber in your diet? Let us know your high fiber tips and tricks below!
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