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Foods That Soften Stool

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid - 3 Nov, 2013

foods-that-soften-stoolRegular bowel movements are needed to remove toxins and wastes from your body. It is important to consume a variety of foods that soften stool. Junk foods, processed and refined foods, fatty foods, alcohol, dehydration and dairy products can cause constipation, a gastrointestinal condition the causes irregular bowel movements and /or hard, dry stools. When you are constipated you have a difficult time passing stools.

This condition occurs when toxins and waste move too slowly through your digestive system and intestines. Depending on the severity, constipation can last for a day or it may persist for weeks. Symptoms may include: fatigue, painful bowel movements, hard/dry stools, bloating and lower abdominal cramps. Constipation can also exacerbate gastrointestinal disorders such as: ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis.

Laxative and/or stool softeners may be used to loosen and/or soften the stool, but these remedies only work for a short amount of time. Moreover, using laxatives and stool softeners for a long amount of time can actually do more harm than good because they can interfere with your body’s ability to naturally eliminate waste and toxins.

The best way to treat or prevent constipation is to include foods that soften stool into your daily diet. Increasing your daily intake of water and fiber-rich foods will not only regulate your bowel movements, but also reduce your risk of constipation. If you are wondering what foods soften stool, you have come to the right place. This article will help you pick the best foods for constipation.

Foods that help soften stool

Prunes

A food that softens stool is prunes. Prunes are dried plums that can help loosen stools. These healthy fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, sorbitol (a sugar-alcohol) and I satin (a crystalline compound); substances that can have a relaxing effect in your body and prevent harmful free-radicals from disrupting your digestive process and/or damaging your intestinal lining. Prunes can also encourage intestinal muscle contractions (to eliminate toxins and waste) and decrease intestinal inflammation. Grab a handful of prunes when you feel yourself straining to have a bowel movement.

Apples

Another good food for bowel movement is apples. Apple are rich in pectin (a type of fiber that bulks up your stools) and vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that strengthens your immune system, protects your body from damaging free-radicals and lowers your risk of constipation and intestinal damage. They also have a high water content, which accelerates the movement of toxins and waste through your intestines. Foods that soften stool, like apples, contain small seeds that are easily absorbed by your digestive system and eliminated from your body. Apples have the ability to soften your stools and relieve constipation in the matter of hours. Bite into an apple when you have a hard time producing a bowel movement or if you experience dry, hard stool.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is another stool softener food that is used as a remedy for constipation. Fenugreek is an herb that is rich in fiber. It is important to note that its use for constipation or stool softening has not been scientifically proven for safety or effectiveness at this time. Other herbal foods that soften stool include: cascara segrada and senna leaves. Contact your physician before using herbs to treat constipation and/or dry, hard stools.

Flaxseeds

Another food to help relieve constipation is flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and essential fatty acids, healthy fats that soften stool and ease constipation. The best way to use flaxseeds as a stool softener is to add approximately 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to your cereal or meals.

Bran Cereals

Other foods that soften stool include bran cereals (Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran and Oat Bran warm cereal). Bran cereals are rich in fiber, which aid in digestion and support regular bowel movements. Bran cereals can also ease stomach cramps often associated with constipation. Other cereals that soften stool are: Cream of Wheat and grits. Boost your fiber intake by adding almonds to your bran cereal.

Carrots

Carrots are foods that soften stool. Raw vegetables, like carrots, not only increase the amount of oxygen transported to your intestines, they also aid in digestion and soften hard, dry stools. Other foods that help soften stool include: broccoli, greens, cabbage, celery and lettuce.

Water and Warm Liquids

Water and warm liquids can soften stool. Liquids can help ease pressure in your intestines caused by hard, dry stools. In addition, warm liquids like coffee, hot lemon water and tea are considered natural laxatives that push waste and toxins through your intestines. Drinking approximately 2 liters of liquids (preferably water) a day can promote regular bowel movements and lower your risk of constipation. Grab of a bottle of water when you feel yourself becoming dehydrated.

Beans

Foods that soften stool include beans. Legumes, like adzuki beans and soybeans, are rich in calcium, zinc, iron, protein and fiber, nutrients that soften stool, regulate normal bowel movements, aid in digestion, repair injuries and strengthen your immune system. Add beans into your diet by fixing a pot of chili or making bean burritos for dinner.

Aloe Vera Juice

Another natural stool softener is Aloe Vera juice. This type of juice can be purchased at your local drugstore, grocery store or health food store. It is considered a natural laxative that can accelerate the elimination of toxins and waste. It can also soften hard, dry stools and encourage regular bowel movements. It is important to follow the directions on the bottle as to avoid adnominal pain and cramps. You can also purchase Aloe Vera in dried herbal form, but the juice provides the most benefits. Soften your stool with a glass of fresh fruit and Aloe Vera juice.

Dried Apricots

Dried apricots are fruits that help with constipation. Dried apricots are rich in fiber, which aids in digestion. When the dried apricots come in contact with your digestive fluids it softens and loosens your stools. Relieve constipation by snacking on dried apricots when you have problems producing a bowel movement. Other fiber-rich foods that soften stool include: strawberries, blueberries, pears, bananas and avocados.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a food that softens stool. Yogurt is rich in probiotics, healthy bacteria that helps keep your digestive system and intestines healthy. This natural stool softener increases, eases and improve the consistency and frequency of your bowel movements. Other probiotic foods good for constipation and/or dry stool include: kefir, sauerkraut and Kombucha tea. Relieve painful and/or difficult bowel movements by snacking on a cup of yogurt each day.

Almonds

One of the best foods for constipation is almonds. Almonds contain a large amount of fiber, which softens stool and relieves constipation. These nuts help move food, toxins and waste through your intestines. It is important to drink plenty of water with the almonds to prevent constipation. Lower your risk of constipation by munching on 10 to 15 almonds a day.

 


References:
Balch, P. A. (2010). Prescription for nutritional healing. New York, NY: Avery Trade.
Castleman, M. (2010). The new healing herbs. New York, NY: Bantam.
Mayo Clinic. (2013). Constipation. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/constipation/DS00063/DSECTION=prevention
Mayo Clinic. (2013). Water: How much water should you drink every day? Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
The Dr. Oz Show. (2013). How Is constipation treated? Retrieved from http://www.sharecare.com/health/constipation-treatment/how-is-constipation-treated

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