What Foods Soften Stools?

Assorted fruit salad
Fresh and dried fruit is high in fiber to help keep your bowel movements regular. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Your "normal" bowel movement may not be normal for someone else. While bowel movements vary from person to person, the signs of constipation are not normal. These include difficulty moving stool and hard or dry stools. An imbalanced diet can lead to constipation; certain foods can help soften stool to get your bowels moving. Add these foods to your daily diet along with plenty of water.

Step 1

Mix ground flaxseed into your fresh juice or yogurt. Flaxseed is high in soluble fiber that helps to absorb water in your intestines, softening stool and making bowel movements easier. Use whole, ground flaxseed and not flaxseed oil, which is not used for constipation. (ref1)

Step 2

Add grains and seeds to your diet. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends fenugreek seeds and barley. Add fenugreek seeds or barley to your soup, salads and stews. Both of these foods contain fiber that helps bulk up and soften stool, to ease constipation. (ref1)

Step 3

Snack on prunes for their mild laxative effect. A study published in "Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics" notes that eating 50 grams of prunes (5-6 prunes) gives you 6 grams of dietary fiber, helping to soften and move stool in the intestines. The skin of prunes also contain a substance that is a stimulant laxative. (ref4)

Step 4

Stir psyllium fiber with water and juice to make a fiber-rich drink. According to a study in "Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics," 11 grams of psyllium (1 tablespoon) provides 6 grams of fiber. This fiber bulks up and absorb water to help soften hard stools. (ref4)

Tip

Add fruit to your daily diet to ease constipation. Berries, apples, peaches, apricots, and plums contain essential fiber that your digestive system needs. Keep the peel on whenever possible; much of the fiber is in the skin.

You can also add fiber to your diet with wheat bran and oatmeal.

Warning

Eat prunes in moderation; too many can lead to diarrhea.

Consult your doctor about the right amount of fiber to eat each day. Too much fiber can lead to bloating, stomach pain, gas and constipation.

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