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Foods That Cause Hard Stools

author image Maria Warren, R.N.
A registered nurse, Maria Warren has worked as a professional health writer since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Salem State College and a Master of Public Health in nutrition from Tufts University. Warren is currently working toward a nurse practitioner license.
Foods That Cause Hard Stools
Drink plenty of water each day to prevent constipation. Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Passing hard stools is usually as a result of constipation or the infrequent movement of the bowels. Most healthy people have at least three bowel movements per week, according to MedlinePlus. If you are unable to have a bowel movement or are having difficulty passing stool, contact your doctor. Your doctor will most likely advise you to limit consumption of foods that cause constipation.

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Low-Fiber Foods

White rice is a low-fiber food
White rice is a low-fiber food Photo Credit: Yelena Yemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

A diet that is low in fiber is more likely to cause hard stools, according to Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods and is important for softening stools because it absorbs large quantities of fluids. Limit consumption of low-fiber foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta, meat, fruits without skins, eggs, canned fruits and canned vegetables and fruit juice without pulp.

Fatty Foods

French fries
French fries Photo Credit: Kraivuttinun/iStock/Getty Images

Stools made from fatty food wastes are more likely to harden. Fatty foods move slowly in the bowel, which leads to the reabsorption of the water content of the stools. The more water is reabsorbed from the stools, the harder they become. Limit consumption of fatty foods such as whole milk, ice cream, whole-fat yogurt, french fries, creamy peanut butter, butter, margarine and salad dressings, according to

Processed Foods

Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eat more fruit and vegetables Photo Credit: Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If your are struggling with constipation, limit consumption of processed foods because they contain very little fiber. Examples of processed foods include crackers, prepackaged meals, cakes and donuts. Increase intake of foods rich in fiber such as bran, whole grain breads, whole grain cereals, brown rice, raw fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend you take an over-the-counter fiber supplement to increase regularity.

Foods For Prevention

Oatmeal Photo Credit: matka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, foods that are high in fiber can help you keep stools soft and maintain regular bowel movements. Foods recommended include beans, oatmeal, berries, winter squash, broccoli and leafy greens.

Other Prevention Techniques

Exercise at least 30 minutes per day
Exercise at least 30 minutes per day Photo Credit: YanLev/iStock/Getty Images

You can prevent hard stools by using the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to go. Drink plenty of water every day to help soften stool. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day to help make your bowels more active. Avoid relying on laxatives because they cause damage to your colon which can worsen constipation, according to World Gastroenterology Guidelines.

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