Foods for Constipation

The Best Foods to Make You Poop

When you have constipation, foods that make you poop can be very helpful in getting things moving again. Whether you're backed up after surgery, during pregnancy, or for some other reason, fiber-rich foods are what to look for. This goes for babies who eat solid foods, toddlers, children, and even adults with constipation.

Plants are rich sources of fiber, so they should fill your cart. The plant-based options covered here are worthy of the top of your list, as they are the foods that are most helpful for constipation. This article also gives a few words of caution for people with certain health conditions who may need to avoid some types of fiber.

Best Types of Food When You're Constipated

To help constipation, start with this quick-pick list of high-fiber foods. Then explore more in-depth about why these foods will help you poop.

  • Fruit: Berries, peaches, apricots, plums, raisins, rhubarb, and prunes are some of the best high-fiber fruits. For a fiber boost, eat the peel as well.
  • Whole Grains: Steer clear of white flour and white rice. Enjoy whole grains instead; they provide more fiber. Whole grains include oats, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, and rye.
  • Vegetables: Veggie leaves, stalks, and roots are rich in fiber. That includes potato skins.
  • Nuts: Walnuts and almonds will also add fiber to your diet.
  • Seeds: Several kinds of seeds are great sources of fiber. You can add them to smoothies or sprinkle them on yogurt or salads. Chia, ground flaxseeds, and psyllium are some of the most popular.
  • Beans and legumes (with caution): Legumes such as chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, navy beans, and kidney beans are good sources of fiber. However, they have a well-earned reputation for making people gassy. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), beans and legumes are on the list of high FODMAP foods. These are high-carb foods that may make IBS symptoms worse.
  • Hot tea: An herbal tea made with anise or fennel might ease constipation.

Why Fiber-Rich Foods Help Constipation

The best thing you can do to ease constipation is to slowly increase your intake of dietary fiber. Fiber is the part of plant material that you cannot digest.

Fiber helps you poop because it adds bulk and softens the stool.

  • Soluble fiber absorbs water. It binds with fatty acids, forming a gel-like substance that keeps stools soft.
  • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk and moisture to the stool.

Both types are good foods for constipation. Since they're found in all plant foods, you won't need to remember which to eat if you want more fiber.

However, too much fiber too soon can be hard on your system. It can increase gas and bloating. Take it slow. For treating constipation, experts recommend that you increase your intake to 20 to 25 grams per day.

If you have IBS, you may find that your system is better able to handle foods with soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber may trigger your symptoms. 

10 foods to ease constipation

Verywell / Laura Porter

Best Fruits for Constipation

Fruits are a great food for constipation. Most are an excellent source of dietary fiber, along with providing you with a host of other nutritional benefits. Although there is no hard science on the matter, you may find that your body responds better to fruit that has been cooked or dried, as opposed to raw.

Here are some fruits that can ease constipation:

  • Apricots
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Dried Options

  • Apricots
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

Best Vegetables for Constipation

Lots of vegetables, including green leafy vegetables, are some of the best foods to make you poop. In addition to getting a healthy dose of fiber, vegetables also provide nutrients that are good for your overall health.

You may find that your body responds better to cooked rather than raw vegetables. If you like soup, try one made with a variety of high-fiber vegetables.

The following vegetables are thought to be beneficial foods for easing constipation.

Eat Your Greens

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

Fill Your Plate With Vegetables

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Red potatoes with skin
  • Squash
  • Zucchini

Whole Grains and Constipation

Switching from refined grains such as white flour and white rice to whole grains can make a big difference in moving your bowels. Here are some good whole grain choices.

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Whole wheat

If you have chronic constipation, you may want to try an elimination diet—stop eating one grain at a time to see how it affects your symptoms. Check with your healthcare provider first. Then load up on fiber from the other sources listed here.

Best Teas for Constipation

One way to ease constipation is to reach for a soothing cup of tea. Hot liquids may help you poop.

A tea made with herbs that have laxative effects is ideal.

The two best teas for constipation include:

  • Anise tea: This licorice-tasting tea is thought to have both laxative and antispasmodic effects.
  • Fennel tea: Also licorice-tasting, fennel tea is thought to speed up intestinal contractions. It also acts as a laxative and an antispasmodic.

Best Nuts for Constipation

Nuts are a good source of fiber and omega fatty acids. Here are some good choices to try when you are constipated:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Best Seeds for Constipation

Several different types of seeds can be good foods for constipation.

  • Chia seeds: These little seeds are a good source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Sprinkle them on salads or add them to smoothies.
  • Fennel seeds: Chewing on fennel seeds is thought to help to ease gas and bloating. They may also help with constipation.
  • Flaxseed: Grinding these nutty-flavored seeds gives you the most benefit from their fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be used in baking or added to smoothies.
  • Psyllium: Research supports the use of psyllium to ease constipation. It's considered a bulk laxative.

Best Snacks for Constipation

Fruit: Apples and pears are easy take-along snacks.

Granola: Make your own granola to reduce added sugar and to ensure that you are adding grains, seeds, and nuts you can handle.

Hummus: This fiber-rich snack is portable. You can enjoy it with raw vegetable sticks such as carrots or celery.

Nuts: Brazil nuts, pecans, and walnuts are generally well-tolerated by all.

Trail mix: Make your own to ensure it contains foods your body can handle. You can add some nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and dried fruit if they work for you.

Vegetables: Carrots and celery are classic nibbles.

Drink Plenty of Water

Every cell in your body needs water to function at its best. If you don't drink enough water, your body will make up for it by pulling water out of your intestines. This may result in hard stools that lead to constipation.

Summary

Your best bet for foods that make you poop are fiber-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, herb teas, and seeds. Increase these foods slowly, and check with a healthcare provider if you have a digestive disorder such as IBS. In addition, be sure to get plenty of water.

A Word From Verywell

When you have constipation, remember that foods from plants are your best choices to help get things moving. Be sure to drink four to six glasses of liquids per day and be physically active as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What foods will make you poop right away?

    Coffee stimulates the colon and makes many people have to poop shortly after drinking. While it may be a good short-term constipation fix, it's not the best long-term solution for ongoing constipation because it is dehydrating, which can lead to more constipation.

  • What foods make constipation worse?

    Avoid low-fiber foods that are harder to digest. This includes red meat, dairy products, processed foods, and anything made with refined flour (like white bread). You should also steer clear of fried foods.

  • Is a fiber supplement just as good for constipation as fiber-rich foods?

    Yes. Fiber supplements such as Metamucil are an effective way to get your bowels moving again. Just remember that plant-based foods offer fiber plus other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your overall health.

  • Are bananas good for constipation?

    Bananas are a relatively high-fiber food, so some people may find that they make them poop. However, unripened bananas are also a treatment for diarrhea, which means they can sometimes have the opposite effect.

  • What other ways can you treat constipation?

    In addition eating high-fiber foods and staying hydrated, exercise can help stimulate the bowels and move stools faster through the digestive tract. Over-the-counter fiber supplements can also help. Stress reduction may also be beneficial.

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