Let's face it: Pooping is a part of living. We all do it, even if we don't always talk about it. But maybe we should talk about it more because a lot of people are struggling to poop properly. That may seem funny, but trouble in that area can lead to a lot of discomfort and even health problems.
When it comes to poop, some poop consistencies are better than others. Lumpy ones can be tough to pass so you're faced with constipation, while liquid poop means you're at the other extreme, facing diarrhea. The goal is to get somewhere in the middle for a consistency that's just right for passing.
What you eat has a great effect on the consistency of your poop, but you don't have to sit and eat prunes all day.
Here are a variety of foods that could give you a better bowel movement:
It may seem surprising, but bone broth, such as chicken or beef bone broth, can help your poop whether you're pooping too much or too little.
The nutrients in it help your gut by supporting your digestion of fat, cutting down on inflammation and undoing intestinal wall damage.
These mixed drinks are great choices when you're trying to get flowing. Smoothies tend to contain a lot of fruit and water, which both promote the healthy movement of bowels.
Fruit and Vegetable Peels
Don't always peel your fruits and vegetables if you need help pooping. Leave the skin on to keep its insoluble fiber, which gives your poop bulk to help them move through your system. If you don't want them on the produce, add the peels to a recipe -- for example, add carrot peels to coleslaw or carrot cake.
Whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley or oats, give you a lot of insoluble fiber just like certain produce peels do. Wheat bran gives you the same benefit.
There are many ways to add more whole grains to your diet, such as in whole grain cereal, bread, pizza crust and other recipes -- even desserts!
Seeds are another source of insoluble fiber. Have a handful of seeds as a snack and add more flax seeds, sunflower seeds and other seeds to your cereal, yogurt and other meals and snacks.
You could even add some seeds to your smoothies for extra pooping power.
Various kinds of beans practically give you a superpower when it comes to pooping. Add beans with a lot of insoluble fiber to your diet, such as kidney, navy or pinto beans, when you need help getting everything flowing.
Certain vegetables contain plenty of insoluble fiber to help your stools move through your system. While many vegetables are higher in soluble fiber (which keeps food moving slower so your body absorbs nutrients and controls sugar better), certain ones give you lots of insoluble fiber that helps stools flow.
Examples include turnips, peas and okra.
A certain amount of fat is healthy in our diets, especially if it's healthy fat such as poly- and monounsaturated fat. These healthy fats are found in foods such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, avocados and fatty fish.
Fat can help push your bowel movements through to help when you're constipated. So don't only eat fiber when you're not flowing; try fat too.
If you need liquid poop to stop flowing so freely, have a banana and/or some applesauce. These yellow fruits are both part of the tried-and-true BRAT diet that helps ease diarrhea.
Other parts of the BRAT diet that help when you have diarrhea include rice and toast. Plain crackers could also help an upset stomach that has you running to the bathroom.
Don't forget to drink plenty of water or other fluids to help your body have its best poops. Your bowel movements need enough moisture to keep them moving, plus fiber can actually block your system without enough water to push it through. On the other side of the spectrum, water keeps you from getting dehydrated if you're losing too much fluid through diarrhea.
When you're having trouble in the bathroom, whether it's from straining to get your poop out or dealing with poop flowing too freely, concentrate on your diet to have more balance.
These are just some of the foods that can help you have better poops in a regular way. A healthy diet is essential to a healthy life, and that includes having healthy bowel movements.
Sharon Chen is the author of DelishPlan.com, where she helps busy professionals plan easy and delicious homemade meals in less time than they ever thought possible. Download her free Top 7 One-Dish Meals Mini Cookbook so that you can put scrumptious and healthy dinners on the table as quickly as possible.