The key to healthy living is regular bowel movements.
While digestive supplements may seem like a good idea for aiding in healthy bowel movements, the ‘quick fix’ approach may not be your best solution. Medical professionals agree that focusing on food is the best and healthiest way to get your body back on track.
Here are 11 recommendations to do just that:
A trend you’ll notice throughout these suggestions is the importance of fiber–and when it comes to fiber sources–raspberries are at the top of the list. Containing 8 g per cup, raspberries contain twice as much fiber as strawberries. Better yet–they’re delicious! Top your morning oatmeal off with raspberries and you’ll be feeling good all day.
These delicious, citrus fruits contain a poop-inducing trifecta: stool-softening vitamin C, fiber to increase the bulk in your stool, and naringenin, a flavonoid that researchers have discovered is an effective laxative. Great for snacking on or tossing in a salad, oranges are a great source to keep your tastebuds and intestines happy.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation, as the body needs H2O to soften stools. To keep everything moving smoothly through your bowels, it’s important to drink water and hydrate. Adding lemon or cucumber can add that extra bit of flavor needed to make it easier for you to drink the proper amount.
Yogurt and kefir contain living bacterial cultures, also known as probiotics, that replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Your entire gastrointestinal system can benefit from the proper levels of probiotics. One study even credits the presence of probiotics with causing 1.3 more bowel movements per week on average.
While containing loads of healthy fats, proteins, and fiber, almonds’ high magnesium content is what really kickstarts the digestive tract. By neutralizing stomach acid, magnesium assists in moving stools through the intestines. Just an ounce of almonds contains 25% of your daily dose of magnesium.
6. Black beans
A single cup of black beans can contain an amazing 15 g of fiber! That’s 60% of what the average woman needs a day! Whether it be in salads, salsas, or soups, black beans are one of the most effective sources of fiber.
Aside from fiber being an age-old cure for constipation, the dihydroxyphenyl isatin contained in prunes is an equally effective means of bowel stimulation. Prunes also have double the potassium of bananas, which an absence of can also cause constipation and fatigue.
8. Leafy greens
Spinach, swiss chard, and kale are packed with nutritional value that aids in the digestive process. Including fiber, magnesium, and potassium, greens can help the colon contract and regulate fluid balances.
9. Wheat bran
The outer layer of the wheat kernel contains a whopping 25 g of fiber per cup. It’s no mystery why that sort of fiber content has been shown to relieve constipation and aid digestion. Many people eat a serving of wheat bran with their oatmeal, in their muffins, or simply by itself as cereal.
A staple of many breakfasts, oatmeal provides us with two types of important fibers: insoluble and soluble. A half-cup of dry oats provides 2 g of each. The two fibers work together to bulk up stool, soften it, and ultimately make it easier to pass. Talk about a productive meal!
11. Coffee, tea, decaf
That morning cup of black coffee can do a lot more than provide your caffeine fix. A recent study found that coffee–even decaf– means a bathroom visit for about 30% of people. Researchers believe it’s the acidity found in coffee that jump-starts the digestive system.