Poop isn’t exactly something people bring up in everyday conversation. I, on the other hand, love talking about the importance of healthy bowel movements, because it can be a big indicator of your current health. If you aren’t pooping regularly or suffering from constipation, there may be a number of underlying causes, particularly diet and lifestyle.
How can you poop every day and be constipated?
Well, ask yourself a key question after you go: Do you feel completely empty? After all, if you pass 70% of waste but retain 30%, that remainder begins to add up in your system. After a few days of this buildup, you can experience blockage and become super constipated.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to have a great poop, every time.
1. Eat more fiber.
Fiber, especially insoluble fiber, adds bulk to our stool, which helps to move waste out through the digestive system. According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day. Yet, most Americans barely eat half of that—yikes.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found only in plants. For increased fiber in your diet, aim to include more Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, berries, and avocado into every meal.
2. Prebiotics and probiotics.
Prebiotics are food for the gut microbes. They are are found in foods like asparagus, artichokes and unripe bananas.
Probiotics are the actual living organism that take up residence in your gut. You can find probiotics in supplements, or fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and kombucha.
This prebiotic, probiotic combo help create a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut and help promote regular bowel movements.
3. Drink water.
Water is so important and it’s the easiest tool to implement. Water has the ability to nudge waste out of your colon, so it’s important to be drinking plenty of water daily. The amount of water will depend on your activity levels, but as a general rule aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you are 100 pounds, then you are shooting for 50 ounces of water a day. If you work out heavily, then add 10 more ounces of water and for every cup of coffee, add a little more, as these things can dehydrate you.
4. Spice things up.
Historically, herbs and spices have been used to help encourage digestion and bowel movements in many cultures around the world, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). While the research is still limited about the digestive benefits of herbs, anecdotally, herbs like ginger can help soothe digestive discomfort and ease constipation.
5. Get moving.
You already know that exercise is good for your health, but it may also improve your digestion as well. Getting regular exercise is one way to help relieve constipation and keep you regular, according to the NIH. That doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym every day to poop better, but consider adding some yoga or walking into your daily routine.
When your breathing is labored or short, the mind becomes agitated, stress and anxiety are amplified, and your digestion may suffer as a result. However, deep breathing exercises may help relieve stress and aid in digestion as a result. Diaphragmatic breathing in particular (also known as deep belly breathing) is a great tool and may help with constipation.
7. Eat fat.
Getting plenty of healthy, unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds are important for a nutritious diet, plus they can help lubricate the bowels and help move waste through the colon. Healthy fats was the key word here. Fat in fried foods can do the opposite and may actually stop you up.
8. Take natures laxative.
If you’re still feeling really stopped up, and lifestyle changes aren’t making a big difference, a natural laxative like magnesium may help you poop easier. Magnesium is a muscle and nervous system relaxant, and magnesium citrate in particular can be a helpful in relieving constipation.