FAOT

14 Healthy Foods That Help You Poop

Constipation is a common problem affecting an estimated 20% of the population.

Delayed colonic transit, or a decrease in the movement of food through the digestive system, is one of the most common causes.

A low-fiber diet, old age and physical inactivity can also contribute to constipation.

While remedies for constipation typically include laxatives, stool softeners and fiber supplements, incorporating a few regularity-boosting foods into your diet can be a safe and effective alternative.

This article lists 14 healthy foods that can help you poop.

1. Apples

Apples are a good source of fiber, with one small apple (5.3 ounces or 149 grams) providing 4 grams of fiber.

Fiber passes through your intestines undigested, helping with the formation of stool and promoting regular bowel movements.

Apples also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which is known for its laxative effect.

In one study, 80 participants with constipation took pectin supplements.

After four weeks, pectin sped up transit time in the colon, reduced the symptoms of constipation and even improved digestive health by increasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Apples can be used as a healthy topping for foods like yogurt and oatmeal or enjoyed on their own as a convenient and nutritious snack.

2. Prunes

Prunes are often used as a natural laxative — and for good reason.

Not only do they contain 2 grams of fiber per 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, but they’re also a good source of sorbitol.

Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is poorly digested in the body. It helps alleviate constipation by drawing water into the intestines, spurring a bowel movement.

One review looked at four studies measuring the effectiveness of prunes on constipation. It found that prunes can help soften stool, improve consistency and increase stool frequency.

Another study showed that 40 participants with constipation who were given prunes experienced improvements in both stool frequency and consistency, compared to participants treated with psyllium fiber supplements.

Prunes add a hint of sweetness when used to garnish salads and pilafs. A small glass of prune juice with no added sugar can also be a quick and convenient way to get the same constipation-busting benefits found in whole prunes.

3. Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit is especially high in fiber, which makes it an excellent food to help promote regularity.

Just one medium kiwi (2.7 ounces or 76 grams) contains 2.3 grams of fiber.

Kiwifruit has been shown to stimulate movement in the digestive tract, helping to induce a bowel movement.

One 2007 study gave 33 constipated and 20 non-constipated participants kiwifruit twice daily over a four-week period.

Kiwifruit helped to speed up intestinal transit time, decrease laxative use and improve symptoms of constipation.

Try adding kiwifruit to your next smoothie for a tasty, high-fiber treat.

4. Flaxseeds

In addition to their wide variety of health benefits, flaxseeds’ high fiber content and ability to promote regularity definitely make them stand out.

Each one-tablespoon (10-gram) serving of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

One animal study supplemented mice with flaxseeds for 14 days and studied the effects on constipation.

Not only did flaxseeds speed up intestinal transit, but they also increased stool frequency and stool weight in both normal and constipated mice.

Another animal study showed that flaxseed can help treat both constipation and diarrhea. It was found to increase stool frequency and also have an anti-diarrheal effect, reducing diarrhea by up to 84%.

Flaxseeds can add extra fiber and texture when sprinkled onto oats, yogurt, soups and shakes.

Pears can help alleviate constipation in a few different ways.

First, they are high in fiber. One medium pear (6.3 ounces or 178 grams) contains 6 grams of fiber, meeting up to 24% of your daily fiber needs.

Pears are also high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as an osmotic agent to pull water into the intestines and stimulate a bowel movement.

Furthermore, pears contain fructose, a type of sugar that can only be absorbed in limited amounts.

This is due to the way in which fructose is metabolized in your body. Not only is it absorbed at a slower rate, but also large amounts of fructose can only be metabolized by your liver.

Moreover, some individuals may have fructose malabsorption, a condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb fructose.

Like sorbitol, unabsorbed fructose acts as a natural laxative by bringing water into the intestines.

Pears are incredibly versatile and easy to add to your diet. They can be included in salads and sandwiches or consumed raw for a sweet snack.

Most varieties of beans are high in fiber and can help maintain regularity.

For example, black beans boast 7.5 grams of fiber per cooked half cup (86 grams), while a half cup (91 grams) of cooked navy beans contains 9.5 grams of fiber.

Beans also contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help ease constipation in different ways.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like consistency, softening stool and making it easier to pass.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract intact and adds bulk to stool.

One 2016 study showed that including a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet can effectively reduce constipation, while also reducing bloating and gas.

If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your fiber intake, beans are a good way to do so. Add them to soups, dips or side dishes for a delicious dose of fiber.

7. Rhubarb

Both rhubarb’s fiber content and natural laxative properties encourage regularity.

Each stalk of rhubarb (1.8 ounces or 51 grams) includes 1 gram of fiber, which is mostly bulk-promoting insoluble fiber.

Rhubarb also contains a compound called sennoside A, which has a laxative effect in the body. In fact, sennosides are even found in herbal laxatives like senna.

Sennoside A works by decreasing levels of AQP3, a protein that controls water transport in the intestines.

Decreased levels of AQP3 result in increased water absorption, which softens stool and promotes a bowel movement.

Rhubarb can be used in a variety of baked goods, added to yogurt or even be added to oatmeal for a kick of added flavor.

8. Artichokes

Research shows that artichokes have a prebiotic effect, which can be beneficial for gut health and maintaining regularity.

Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that works by feeding the good bacteria found in your colon, helping to optimize your digestive health.

Consuming prebiotics may also help relieve constipation.

A 2017 review looked at five studies including 199 participants and concluded that prebiotics increased stool frequency and improved consistency (27).

Artichokes, in particular, are a good source of prebiotics that can boost beneficial bacteria in the gut.

One study had 32 participants supplement with fiber extracted from globe artichokes. After three weeks, they found that concentrations of beneficial bacteria had increased, while amounts of harmful gut bacteria had decreased.

Another study looked at the effects of artichoke leaf extract on 208 participants with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Not only did artichokes reduce the incidence of IBS, but they also helped normalize bowel pattern.

Artichokes are available in both fresh and jarred form and can be used in everything from creamy dips to flavorful tarts.

9. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains probiotics, a form of healthy gut bacteria that may help alleviate constipation.

Probiotics have been shown to increase stool frequency, improve stool consistency and help reduce intestinal transit time to speed up bowel movements.

Several studies have demonstrated that kefir, in particular, may promote regularity.

In one study, 20 participants with constipation were given kefir for four weeks.

Kefir was found to decrease laxative use, speed up intestinal transit, increase stool frequency and improve consistency.

An animal study found similar results, demonstrating that kefir increased moisture and bulk in the stool to reduce constipation.

Kefir makes the perfect base for smoothies or salad dressings. Alternatively, try making a probiotic-rich parfait using kefir and topping it with fruit, flaxseeds or oats for an extra boost of fiber.

10. Figs

Figs are an excellent way to get more fiber into your diet to encourage regular bowel movements.

Dried figs, especially, can provide a concentrated dose of fiber.

A half cup (75 grams) of dried figs contains 7.5 grams of fiber, which can fulfill up to 30% of your daily fiber needs.

A 2011 animal study looked at the effects of fig paste on constipation over a three-week period. It found that fig paste increased stool weight and reduced intestinal transit time, making it a natural remedy for constipation.

Another study in humans found that giving fig paste to 40 participants with constipation helped speed up colonic transit, improve stool consistency and alleviate abdominal discomfort.

While figs can be consumed on their own, they can also be boiled into a tasty jam that goes great with bruschetta, pizzas and sandwiches.

11. Sweet Potatoes

In addition to providing a host of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also contain a good amount of fiber that can help increase regularity.

One medium sweet potato (4 ounces or 114 grams) contains 4 grams of fiber.

The fiber found in sweet potatoes is mostly insoluble and includes a few specific types, such as cellulose, lignin and pectin.

Thanks to their fiber content, some studies have shown that sweet potatoes may help promote bowel movements.

A 2016 study measured the effects of sweet potato intake on constipation in 57 leukemia patients who were undergoing chemotherapy.

After just four days, most markers of constipation had improved, and the participants consuming sweet potatoes had significantly less straining and discomfort than the control group.

Sweet potatoes can be mashed, baked, sautéed or roasted and used in place of white potatoes in any of your favorite recipes.

12. Lentils

This edible pulse is packed with fiber, making it an excellent addition to your diet to relieve constipation.

In fact, a half cup (99 grams) of boiled lentils contains an impressive 8 grams.

Additionally, eating lentils can increase the production of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid found in the colon. It increases the movement of the digestive tract to promote bowel movements.

One animal study looked at the effects of butyrate on the digestive tract and found that it helped speed up intestinal transit, making it a potential treatment for constipation.

Lentils add a rich, hearty flavor to soups and salads alike, while also providing plenty of added fiber and health benefits.

13. Chia Seeds

Just one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber.

In fact, chia seeds are made up of about 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the most fiber-dense foods available.

Specifically, chia seeds are a good source of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel that softens and moistens stool for easier passage.

One study found that chia seeds could absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, allowing for even easier elimination.

Try mixing chia seeds into smoothies, puddings and yogurts to pack in a few extra grams of soluble fiber.

14. Oat Bran

Oat bran is the fiber-rich outer casing of the oat grain.

Though it’s not as widely consumed as rolled or old-fashioned oats, oat bran contains significantly more fiber.

Just one-third cup (31 grams) of oat bran contains about 5 grams of fiber, which is about 43% more than traditional oat varieties.

One study gave 15 elderly participants oat bran over a 12-week period and compared the results with a control group.

Not only was oat bran well tolerated, but it also helped participants maintain their body weight and decreased laxative use by 59%, making it a safe and effective natural remedy for constipation.

Though oatmeal and oat bran come from the same oat groat, they vary in terms of texture and taste. Oat bran works especially well when used in recipes for granola mixes and breads.

The Bottom Line

Constipation is a common problem that affects most people at some point and can eventually lead to a more serious digestive problem like IBS. Getting medical attention at an Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Clinic is important for anyone who experiences any digestive irritation or irregularity.

Though medications and supplements can help, achieving regularity is possible for most people with a high-fiber, healthy diet and a few regularity-boosting foods.

Including a few servings of these foods each day, along with plenty of water and regular physical activity, can help increase stool frequency, improve consistency and eliminate constipation once and for all.

Fireside

Thank you to everyone who commented in the last post. I have to say that I totally agree! Actually writing blog posts is not time-consuming, it is the social media part that accompanies it. When I first started blogging, I thought that photo editing was challenging but now I have everything down packed and I can edit many photos in a short amount of time. I love reading all my friend’s blogs in the morning and when I have short windows throughout the day but do not always have time to comment. I always felt really guilty and would wait to make my rounds before posting a new entry on my blog before realizing that it was really unproductive. Not being so rigid about that took away a lot of the anxiety I had with this hobby and now I can say I fully enjoy it again. 🙂

If possible, do you mind answering the question posted on the bottom?

Anyways, enough of blogger talk. We have food to mesmerize over! I first heard of Chino while eating at Z Cuisine in Denver with my sister back in January. (mmm..still having dreams about their cassoulet)

Our waiter/bartender gave me the inside scoop of this place since his brother-in-law was part of the opening team. I kept it in the back of my mind and my eyes lit up when I saw the sign being put up as I was driving down Guerrero Street. That was a few months ago and I finally had a chance to stop by last Thursday.

I heard from friends that their ambiance was playful but did not expect such a sensory overload. I loved the hanging lights and it made me feel like I should have been dining al fresco under the stars.

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The decor fit the fusion mood perfectly and it was cute to look at various things from my childhood. I do not know if any of you ever made a trip to Toy Boat in the Richmond but that was the first thought to come to my mind with all the vintage 70s toys.

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It did not take us long to get into business since I am pretty knowledgable with Chinese dishes. Our first selection was the (wait for it) Nick Balla’s Dope Ass Japan-O-Mission Wings ($9) with fishy-limey-hot-n-sour sauce.

I expected something different based on their over compensated menu name but these wings still got the job done. I loved how crispy the skin was but the spicy lover in me wished that they had a little bit of kick.

Also, my favorite part about Chino is that everything on their menu is less than $10. You cannot even get a kids meal at McDonald’s in San Francisco for less than $10 these days so I thought it was awesome for them to use that price point.

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I am happy that I cleared up a question burning in the back of my mind for at least 10 years after ordering this dish. Rice cakes are called lean gao in Chinese and I was never able to talk to anyone about it since I did not have the English translation. We ordered these “spicy porkey rice cakes” ($7) with hot pepper paste and braised bok choy and imagine my surprise when I bit into it and realized exactly what it was! Now I am not constrained to the Chinese translation and can order rice cakes at whichever Chinese restaurant I choose. Land of the free, right?

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The staff shipped me to the back to check out the dumpling masters at work. I had a good chat with them in Chinese and they were really fun to talk to. These dumplings look green, I wonder what they were wrapping!

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Chino’s quintessential dish is the Xiao Long Bao ($9) which is what sparked the idea for the restaurant. If you never had XLB before, it’s basically a soup dumpling originating from Shanghai. You take a small bite first to release the steaming hot broth (make sure everything stays in your spoon) and then you eat everything in one bite. When I went to Shanghai a few years ago, I ate almost 30 of these bad boys. They are so good.

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My favorite dish of the night, of course, was the braised pork noodles ($8) with sichuan peppercorns, peanuts and Chinese mustard greens. I could probably use my search bar and pull up 500 times I mentioned how much I love sichuan peppercorns (and how they are my favorite flavor in the whole world) but 501 times will not hurt. Seriously so good, I wish I had ordered two of these so I can have one the next day.

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The cold sesame noodles ($6) were served with cucumber, summer squash and mushroom. I am usually a big fan of cold asian noodles and was really glad I ordered this. However, the dish could have used a teeny bit more flavor. Bland is a frightful word to use when describing food but that is the best adjective my dining companions could come up with.

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Overall, I might have fell into the buzz and hype which is hard not to do with this food-driven city, but I also made sure to keep in mind they have only been opened for less than a month and are still working out the kinks. Totally understandable. I love the ethos of this restaurant and see the great potential they have down the road.

PS: Easy Breezy for dessert.

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What do you wish to see more of on the blog? Restaurants? Recipes? Lifestyle posts? Miscellaneous? All? None? I am putting my big girl panties on for the comment section and can handle any dish you wish to share. 🙂

Four Corners of Italy

I find that people who do not blog cannot phantom how time consuming it really is. Although I have been down to one post a week these past few months (and I am so not happy with that), it is still nice to enlist help from some of my friends. Taylor is one of my guest stars on this blog (along with Abs and a few other pretty ladies) and I wanted to treat her to lunch to thank her for all of her dedicated help behind-the-scenes. I drag her to restaurants with me on a bi-weekly basis, sometimes make her proofread the night before when my brain stops functioning and she will walk around the Embarcadero all day with me to ensure that I complete my deadlines for side projects without complaining once. She is mostly open to trying new foods and provides valuable opinions about the dishes we try out.

So to celebrate our first day of summer school and as a thank you, I took her to Barbacco for lunch in the Financial District. We do not venture to that area a lot because parking is overwhelming and it is so far from the Mission. It was a nice change to see everyone in their business suits instead of rolled up hipster jeans.

I have heard so many good things about Barbacco and their fancier sister restaurant Perbacco, which is only two doors down. The restaurant is narrow but stretches really far into the back and you could not help but notice the abundance of communal tables; everything seemed very casual and comfortable. The place was jammed even on a mid-day Monday but luckily we got a great seat at the bar.

We started finalizing our dining options while sipping on fresh-made strawberry mint limonatas ($3).

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Before we get started, I wanted to just briefly mention that this lunch reminded me of my time in Denver. Crusty bread made an appearance in almost every dish.

Our first of the first courses was two unique bruschettes ($3/each). These thick crostinis are Acme brand and were so crunchy and perfect. One of our bruschetta was assembled with roasted peaches + prosciutto di parma and the other with asparagus, meyer lemon, capers and red onion. I loved that we did not have to stick to one flavor combination and we were allowed to branch out and get different kinds. Next time I am coming for the chicken liver pate and lardo with onion.

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What might be the hidden gem of salamis is ‘Nduja ($6). I have only seen it at one other restaurant and it is SO underrated. It is a spicy, spreadable smoked Calabrian salami that does not look too appealing at first. However, be prepared to have your life changed once you take your first bite. It is pretty salty on it’s own but fares well when eaten with the crusty bread. The smokiness of the salami added a complex flavor that we thoroughly enjoyed. Taylor was a little apprehensive at first but she instantly changed her mind and declared it her new favorite.

Half way through, our friendly waiter asked us what we thought it was made out of. I hesitantly answered pork because it seemed like a trick question. He laughed and said it was made out of liver and kidneys specifically and he always waits until his diners had a chance to taste it before sharing his fun fact. This is why you cannot knock things before you try them!

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The restaurant was filled with light and good vibes. We usually do not eat at the bar so it was a nice change of experience.

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This is our new favorite waiter, Vicenzo. It is pronounced with a hard C because duh, Italian. Whatever photography skills (see dark picture above) he lacks is made up with his charismatic personality.

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Taylor and I shared two entrees for our main course. The first being orecchiette ($13) with cavolo nero, fennel sausage and pecorino cheese. In other words, it is basically a fancy kale pesto pasta. Surprisingly, it is hard to find good pasta in the city but this one was very fresh, vibrant and had an amazing texture. There were little criss crosses on the back of the orrechiette.

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The next entree was Barbacco’s famous polpette ($13). If I had to describe these in one word, it would be “wow”. These Sicilian meat balls were ground and rolled with pine nuts and raisins. They were accompanied by braised chard and a spicy tomato sugo. At this point, I was stuffed to the brim but had to eat at least half of a meatball. Let’s just say that they were the perfect after school snack.

I am not a fan of rock hard meatballs and these were the complete opposite. The insides were airy and had large chunks of garlic (and other ingredients) rolled in. The synergy of flavors were balanced out by the crusty bread but still left an explosion of spice.

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And to complete our meal was an olive oil panna cotta with marinated peaches and a brown sugar crumble. This is the second time I had an olive oil dessert and it was a lot better than the first. The taste of the olive oil was subtle and paired well with the texture of the sugar crumbles. I love that they used seasonal peaches because they are so sweet right now! Seriously, I buy maybe 10 at the Farmer’s Market each week and I have not had a sour one yet.

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This is one of those few meals where every single dish knocks your socks off. I cannot wait to come back! Now I am in a pasta mood. Abby, SPQR next week?

How many hours a week would you say you spend on your blog?

Favorite type of pasta? Mine is bucatini.


Arepas Para Mi

I originally wrote about The Palace when I tried their “baller on a budget” tasting menu. Um, five courses for $50? Sign me up.

A few weeks ago, I heard through the grapevines that they were opening for brunch and I wanted to check it out. I am a fan of Chef Manny and was interested in what he was going to bring to the table.

You should already know that I had to bring my tasting team with me.

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I gave away what we ate in the above picture, but the first dish to come out was an eggs benedict with pork (I cannot remember which cut for the life of me) and arugula. No brunch is complete without a runny yolk somewhere in the mix.

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See? How magical does that yolk look? The best part of eating runny eggs is cutting into the albumen and having the yolk flow all over your plate like hot lava.

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The menu leaned very Argentinian and their focus are arepas. We ordered two, one steak with avocado and the other one chicken. I never had an arepa before so I could not compare it to anything but I thought they had good flavor. It hurts me to say but I think it could have been executed a little better.

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I read somewhere that they were offering steak tartare but did not see it on the menu. Katerina, the wife of Chef Manny, took care of our table and I asked her if they would be offering it soon. I was so happy when she informed our table that the chef might be able to accommodate my request.

Chances are that it is going to be a good day when I get tartare before noon.

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The Palace has an open kitchen and I love watching the talent behind the counter. Here is a picture of the owner/chef Manny and a member of his support staff.

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Us girls spent the rest of the day BBQing and I could not help but show off my godson. I really do not care about dogs at all (especially little dogs) but he is just so sassy.

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How do you feel about runny yolks? Could not live without them.

Have you been barbecuing lately? I would normally answer no because my hair smells like meat after but we actually have been taking advantage of the grill in the backyard lately.