The Ultimate List of Foods that Bind vs. Those Foods that Loosen Stools

Nov 20, 2019

Most people get a little grumpy when their colon is acting up — when they’re not pooping one to three times a day or their stools are too hard or too soft. After all, many doctors have begun to refer to the gut as the body’s “second brain,” due to the fact that the neurons that line the gut are so numerous and form such an extensive and complex network. In fact, Scientific American published an article about this very topic back in 2010 entitled “Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being.”

In line with our singular objective of “changing the way we poop, one ‘stool’ at a time” and our other objective of improving your overall well-being, on March 2, 2017, we published a blog post entitled “10 Tips for More Predictable Poops.” In that post, we include short lists of foods that bind and foods that loosen stools. In this post, we expand those lists.

Note: Keep in mind that regulating bowel movements involves attention to several factors, including diet, exercise, fluid intake, lifestyle, and healthy intestinal flora. Perhaps most important in respect to regularity is that last factor — restoring and maintaining healthy intestinal flora. For more about that topic, refer to “Restoring Intestinal Floral Leads to a Healthy Gut and Happy Poop.” The foods you consume play an important role not only in providing the nutrition your body requires, but also in feeding your gut microbes what they need to thrive and maintain a healthy balance. In fact, everything you ingest impacts your gut.

Foods That Bind

When you suffer from diarrhea, your doctor is likely to recommend a temporary shift to the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce (not apples), and toast. In fact, any bland, low-fat, low-fiber diet is likely to help alleviate diarrhea. By bland, low-fat, low-fiber, we’re referring to foods such as white bread, peeled potatoes, peeled and cooked fruit, white pasta, and rice.

Another way to approach this is to avoid spicy, fatty, fried, or raw food and any food that’s difficult to chew.

A third approach is to eat foods on the following lists.

Foods made from refined, white flour

  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Pretzels
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Cakes


  • White rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice crackers

Low-fat meats

  • Baked or broiled chicken without the skin
  • Lean beef
  • Fish
  • Turkey

Certain dairy products (but avoid if you are lactose intolerance)

  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Hard cheeses
  • Low-fat milk

Low-fiber veggies

  • Green beans
  • Carrots (preferably boiled)
  • Peeled potatoes
  • Peeled zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus tips
  • Acorn squash

Low-fiber fruits

  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Other peeled and cooked fruits
  • Clear fruit juices (preferably diluted)

Other foods worthy of mention

  • Peanut butter
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Popsicles
  • Fruit juices (preferably diluted)
  • Clear broth

Foods That Fluff

Constipated? If so, your doctor is likely to recommend increasing your fluid intake and consuming high-fiber foods to make your stools more fluffy. Yes, we said fluffy! You may also be advised to take a fiber supplement, such as psyllium, the main ingredient in Citrucel and Metamucil.

Following are lists of foods high in fiber, often with a high water content, which can also help with constipation.

Note: We have intentionally omitted foods that loosen stools but may irritate your gut, such as greasy or fried foods, high-fat meats, coffee (which is acidic), and chocolate.


  • Corn
  • Whole grains
  • Whole grain breads and pastas
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Rye bread
  • Popcorn (‘poopcorn,’ anyone?)
  • Oatmeal
  • High-fiber cereal
  • Brown rice (yes, some types of rice can bind and loosen stools)

Legumes (beans)

  • Soybeans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Split peas
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Great northern beans
  • Black-eyed peas (the food, not the band)
  • Baked beans
  • Hummus
  • Tofu


  • Artichokes
  • Green peas
  • Parsnips
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Lettuce (iceberg’s not the best)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Okra
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Fruits and berries

  • Prunes, raisins, and other dried fruits
  • Prune juice
  • Kiwis
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Persimmons
  • Figs
  • Berries (especially blueberries)

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed (ground)

Foods That Restore and Support Regular Bowel Movements

Some foods perform double-duty, helping to regulated bowel movements and prevent both diarrhea and constipation. These foods deserve some special attention.

Probiotic foods

Probiotic foods contain live cultures of bacteria and yeasts that are gut-friendly. The following foods contain probiotics:

  • Live-cultured yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Prebiotic foods

Prebiotic foods contain fiber that makes its way to the large intestine largely undigested, where it feeds microbes that promote regularity. Consider it fertilizer for your gut flora. The following foods are considered good prebiotics:

  • Chicory root
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Dandelion greens
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Kiwi
  • Aloe Vera juice
  • Unfiltered apple cider vinegar

You can also take supplements to help restore and maintain healthy intestinal flora. Our product, Good Move! has been developed to promote healthy digestion through a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. It contains all natural ingredients and organic herbs and is suitable for both raw and vegan diets.

If you’ve struggled with digestive issues, including chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation, and you’ve discovered a treatment regime that has helped you restore and maintain regular bowel movements, please don’t keep that a secret. Post a comment here to share your solution. You might just put another person on the road to health and happiness.

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Disclaimer: This blog post on foods that bind vs. those foods that loosen stools, provides general information and discussion about medical issues and health-related subject matter. The words and other content provided in this post, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If you or any other person has a medical concern, consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care professional immediately and do not rely on the information presented in this post. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog post or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.