Whoever said trust your gut, didn’t have constipation. While everybody does poop, not everybody poops well. If you’re struggling with elusive, incomplete, or difficult bowel movements, this article is for you. Today we have our top 5 foods to include in your diet for consistent and optimal poops.
Chia is high in soluble fibre and low FODMAP. Fibre is the part of food that isn’t digested, it goes in one end and comes out the other. Soluble fibre in particular acts like a sponge and soaks up water on the way through. This will make small hard poops bigger, bulkier, softer and easier to pass. Of course, make sure to drink enough water with your chia, so it has something to work with. Why not try this Berry Chia Pudding for breakfast or a snack?
Kiwifruit are pretty special when it comes to constipation. They contain an enzyme called Actinidin which has been shown to help stimulate the bowel to push “things” through. In research, people have reported kiwifruit resulting in more satisfying stools and reduced need for laxatives. Kiwifruit are just as effective for constipation with or without the skin and the yellow ones are just as good as the green ones, so go with what you like. Enjoy kiwifruit alone, in a smoothie or sliced on top of cereal.
You can also get kiwifruit in a supplement called Phloe. This is super convenient, but Phloe does contain mannitol, so if youre on a low FODMAP diet or have a known sensitivity to polyols, Phloe may not be suitable for you.
Carrots are also high in soluble fibre. They help to bulk stool and improve “transit time”. That’s the time it takes for food to pass through and come out the other end. Carrots are listed as an eat freely food on the Monash FODMAP smartphone app and taste great with peanut butter for a snack. Just be wary of eating too many as they can make your skin start to turn orange!
Ok, so coffee isn’t a food, it’s a drink. The reason coffee can help with constipation is because it’s a stimulant. Coffee has been shown in research (both my own and the real scientific stuff) to activate contractions in the gut and potentially stimulate a bowel movement within about 20 minutes. Interestingly, some people also get the same result with decaf coffee as they do with regular coffee, so it may not just be the caffeine at work here. If you love coffee, the good news is that coffee drinkers are also at
lower risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers. Who knew your morning cuppa had so many benefits!
Ok, before you come at me, yes apples are high FODMAP and yes, I am recommending them for constipation. The thing with sorbitol and fructose in particular is that they attract water into the bowel. If you attract too much water, it can cause diarrhoea while if you attract too little water, you can be left with a dry and slow bowel. If you’ve found your bowels a little more sluggish on a low FODMAP diet, this is why. Low FODMAP is not supposed to be strict, and it’s not supposed to be forever. It’s supposed to help you find the balance of enough FODMAPs to keep your gut moving, but not so many that your gut is moving too fast. If you’re ready to find the balance, you can read about the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet here.
Of course, there is no one answer that is right for everyone. Our guts are all different and all behave differently. Constipation is also not all about food, there are lots of behavioural strategies that can also help, so stay tuned for another article on those! In the meantime, for more personalised advice, our expert dietitians offer virtual consults and would love to help you to resolve digestive issues and make peace with food. Book an appointment today and let’s get you feeling your best.