When people aren’t pooping enough per day, or their stools are too hard or soft, they’re bound to get grumpy. Factors including poor diet, lack of exercise, and not using proper pooping posture can cause irritable bowels and behavior. Regardless of the cause, the connection between digestive issues and mood has been well documented. Many doctors have begun to refer to the gut as the body’s “second brain” since the neurons that line the gut form such an extensive and complex network. Scientific American published an article about this topic in 2010 entitled Think Twice: How the Gut’s ‘Second Brain’ Influences Mood and Well-Being.
The foods you consume are essential in providing the nutrition your body requires and feeding your gut microbes what they need to thrive and maintain a healthy balance. Eating healthy food and using a toilet stool are simple things you can do to enjoy more satisfying poops and alleviate gastrointestinal problems.
In line with our mission to help the world poop better, 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: Remember that regulating bowel movements involves attention to several factors, including diet, exercise, fluid intake, lifestyle, and maintaining healthy intestinal flora. Refer to our article Restoring Intestinal Floral Leads to a Healthy Gut and Happy Poop for more information on the topic.
Foods That Bind
When you suffer from diarrhea, your doctor will likely recommend a temporary shift to the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce (not apples), and toast. 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 is difficult to chew.
Implementing these dietary restrictions and adding a Squatty Potty into your toilet routine can lead to smoother, healthier movements. Using a specially designed toilet stool, helps undo the kink in your digestive system without any extra effort on your end. Not sure which toilet stool is suitable for you? Use our guide to find the stool that will work best for your behind.
A third approach is to stay disciplined and eat foods from the following lists.
Foods made from refined, white flour
- Hot and cold cereals
- White rice
- Rice cakes
- Rice crackers
- Baked or broiled chicken without the skin
- Lean beef
Certain dairy products (but avoid if you are lactose intolerant)
- Low-fat yogurt
- Hard cheeses
- Low-fat milk
- Green beans
- Carrots (preferably boiled)
- Peeled potatoes
- Peeled zucchini
- Asparagus tips
- Acorn squash
- Other peeled and cooked fruits
- Clear fruit juices (preferably diluted)
Other foods worthy of mention
- Peanut butter
- Gelatin (Jell-O)
- Fruit juices (preferably diluted)
- Clear broth
Foods That Fluff
Constipated? Your doctor will likely recommend increasing your fluid intake and consuming high-fiber foods to make your stools more fluffy. Yes, we said fluffy! Your doctor may also advise you to take a fiber supplement, such as psyllium, the main ingredient in Citrucel and Metamucil.
Drinking more water, eating more fiber, and utilizing a Squatty Potty to ease constraints on your digestive tract will help your poo slide right out of you.
The following foods are high in fiber and often have a high water content, which can also help 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.
- Whole grains
- Whole-grain breads and pastas
- Rye bread
- Popcorn (‘poopcorn,’ anyone?)
- High-fiber cereal
- Brown rice (yes, some types of rice can bind and loosen stools)
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Split peas
- Mung beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Great northern beans
- Black-eyed peas (the food, not the band)
- Baked beans
- Green peas
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Lettuce (iceberg’s not the best)
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
Fruits and berries
- Prunes, raisins, and other dried fruits
- Prune juice
- Berries (especially blueberries)
Nuts and seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Flaxseed (ground)
Foods That Restore and Support Regular Bowel Movements
Some foods perform double-duty, helping regulate bowel movements and prevent diarrhea and constipation. These foods deserve some special attention. Adding supercharged probiotic and prebiotic foods before propping your legs up on a bathroom stool will allow your colon to straighten and your waste to come out cleaner. Pooping with your feet on the ground can cause a kink in your intestinal tract, which can lead to disruptions. Squatty Potty undoes this kink so you can do your business and get on with your day.
Probiotic foods contain live cultures of bacteria and yeasts that are gut-friendly. The following foods contain probiotics:
- Live-cultured yogurt
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
- Aloe Vera juice
- Unfiltered apple cider vinegar
The Final Turd
In addition to consuming the healthy foods from the list above, assuming a squatting position using a toilet stool can help you make and take better bowel movements. While we can’t make you add these foods to your grocery list, a Squatty Potty can help you enjoy more satisfying bathroom experiences.
Disclaimer: This blog post on foods that bind vs. those 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. Do not rely on the information presented in this post. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay 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.