How To Poop Better & Easier: 11 Natural Remedies To Try At Home
Poop isn't exactly something people bring up in everyday conversation, but it’s a massive indicator of your current health. Maintaining healthy bowel movements is critical for digestion, gut health, detoxification, immune health, cardiometabolic health, and so much more. If you’re pooping on an inconsistent schedule or feeling stopped up, there may be a number of underlying causes.
Luckily, diet and lifestyle are often to blame, which means small and consistent changes can make a big difference in the health of your stool. Here, we’ve outlined a number of strategies you can try out to help promote regularity and teach your body how to poop better and easier.
Eat more fiber.
Fiber, a unique and indigestible type of complex carbohydrate found exclusively in plants, helps promote healthy bowel movements by creating bulk and moving waste through the digestive system and out in a timely fashion.*
“Fiber helps promote digestive regularity, which is good for the gut. Soluble fiber, in particular, helps build stool bulk, while insoluble fiber helps speed up transit time,”* explains registered dietitian and mbg Collective member Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN.
According to the National Academies, the daily nutritional requirement for dietary fiber is at least 21 grams of fiber per day for women (and an additional 3-4 grams if they’re pregnant or breastfeeding, respectively) and at least 30 grams per day for men. This hefty daily fiber need takes some real intention and a plant-plentiful dietary approach.
In reality, most Americans are only consuming about 16 grams of daily fiber (yikes!), with only 5% of the U.S. population achieving sufficient intake. Translation? Our country has a serious fiber problem.
To up your fiber intake, Cording recommends including a combination of soluble fiber (e.g., beans, lentils, oat bran, nuts, seeds, fruit, and some vegetables) and insoluble fiber (e.g., wheat bran, whole grain products, and vegetables) to your daily meals.
“If you’re working on increasing your fiber intake, do so gradually, and increase your fluid intake as well to help keep things moving through the GI tract,” she suggests. “For digestive comfort, spread your fiber intake throughout the day, aiming to have at least one high-fiber food per meal.”
Adding a high-quality fiber supplement (like mindbodygreen’s organic fiber potency+) to your daily routine can also help you and your family achieve daily fiber needs. This plant-powered fiber powder delivers a versatile, USDA certified organic blend of soluble and insoluble fibers (for a total six grams of dietary fiber) from organic guar bean, a mushroom trio (reishi, maitake, oyster), and green kiwifruit all the way from New Zealand, plus a targeted Bacillus subtilis probiotic strain for incremental benefits. Together, these ingredients support regularity, gut motility, healthy bowel movements, and all-around stellar gut health.*
RELATED: How Much Fiber You Need Per Day + How To Increase Your Intake
Consume prebiotics and probiotics.
Together, prebiotics and probiotics stimulate beneficial gut bacteria growth and encourage regular bowel movements. Prebiotics (the food that gut microbes feed on) are found in supplements, greens powders, and foods like asparagus, artichokes, and green (raw) bananas. Probiotics, on the other hand, are the actual living organisms that take up residence in the gut. You can find probiotics in supplements or fermented foods (e.g., kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and apple cider vinegar). Here are our favorite probiotic supplements.
Drink plenty of water.
Water helps nudge waste out of your colon, so drinking plenty of water daily is vital for healthy bowel movements. This is because it softens stool1, making it easier to pass. You should aim for a daily water intake of approximately two to three liters (i.e., 9 to 13 cups), but the exact amount you need to drink each day will depend on your activity levels. (For specific estimates, talk to your health care provider or a registered dietitian.)
Create a routine.
Believe it or not, your routine can dramatically impact the health and regularity of your bowel movements. Creating a consistent routine not only signals to the body that it’s time to go, but also makes necessary steps (like drinking enough water) a daily habit.
To promote a healthy evacuation, your morning may include drinking an entire glass of water upon waking and a smoothie rich in healthy fats and fiber. You might follow this up with some stretching or aerobic movement, more hydration, and start sipping on some coffee while getting ready.
And while that morning scenario is broad (please, personalize for your life!) and everyone's poop timing and cadence is unique, the point is that our bodies crave routine, and that can definitely look like nutrient-dense eating, plenty of water, physical activity, and more (because these healthy lifestyle strategies help move stool through your colon and on out).
Add herbs and spices to your dishes.
Herbs and spices are an integral part of healthful nutrition, as well as integrative medicine practices that have been used to encourage digestion and bowel movements in many cultures around the world.
For example: In a 2019 Food Science & Nutrition review, researchers found that ginger root has gastroprotective properties and helps support GI motility. According to a recent review from The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, botanicals like rhubarb, senna leaf, and aloe also have polyphenols that help promote regularity.
Include more physical activity.
You already know that exercise is good for your health, but it may improve your digestion as well. Getting regular exercise is one important, science-backed way to promote healthy bowel movements 2and regularity, according to a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis from the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.
That doesn't mean you need to hit the gym every day to poop better, but consider adding some yoga, walking, or light core work into your daily routine.
Do some breathwork.
When the flow of breath is labored or short, the mind becomes agitated and feelings of stress and anxiousness increase. As a result, your digestion can be negatively affected.
Thankfully, deep breathing exercises can help relieve stress and, in turn, support digestion. Diaphramatic breathing in particular (also known as deep belly breathing) may especially help with digestive health.
Make room for unsaturated fats.
Getting plenty of healthy, polyunsaturated fats (from foods such as olive oil, avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds) is important for a nutritious diet and can help lubricate the bowels and move waste through the colon. Alternatively, saturated fat (like the kind in fried foods) may stop you up. In fact, in a recent Nutrients review, researchers found an association between saturated fat intake3 and suboptimal poop frequency.
Change up your poop position.
To help your body poop easier, consider elevating your feet slightly while you're on the toilet. A stool like the Squatty Potty can promote ideal alignment and optimal stool evacuation.
Acupuncture may help you poop better by stimulating specific pressure points and relieving tension. In a 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis from Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers deemed acupuncture an effective practice for increasing stool frequency4 and improving stool formation.
Take magnesium to promote laxation.
If you're hitting your daily fiber needs, staying well hydrated, engaging in regular movement, and the like (i.e., see poop strategies above)—but things still aren't moving along to your satisfaction, consider magnesium. This essential macromineral is a common nutrient gap in our nation, and it also happens to also promote bowel movements.
Dietary magnesium inputs (whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish) can be complemented with a magnesium supplement as needed. This multifaceted mineral aids in muscle and nervous system relaxation, and magnesium citrate can be particularly beneficial for your trips to the bathroom.
That said, you should always speak to your health care provider about incorporating new supplements into your regimen, as well as your digestive goals and progress.
From adding acupuncture and exercise to your normal routine to upping your fiber, probiotic, and water intake, there are a number of natural (and science-backed) strategies that can help promote healthy bowel movements. However, if digestive issues persist, it’s smart to bring them to your health care practitioner's attention to make sure there isn’t a bigger problem at hand.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.