How often should you be having bowel movements?

What are foods that keep you regular?

These aren’t exactly questions people ask each other openly.

But just because most people are uncomfortable discussing digestive health doesn’t mean people aren’t thinking about digestive health.

Between 15% and 20% of the American population deals with ongoing constipation issues. Which is why it’s important that you have answers.

You deserve to understand what’s normal. And know all the foods that can keep you regular – including the ones you don’t expect!

Identifying the Problem

The most important thing to know about digestive health is that not everyone has a bowel movement every day. For some people, a few as three bowel movements a week is perfectly normal.

And the number of bowel movements a person has per week decreases as they age. So even if you’ve been going to the bathroom every day, so long as you are eating foods that keep you regular and otherwise maintaining your digestive health, don’t worry too much about missing the occasional day or two.

That being said, if you are physically uncomfortable, or even if you’ll just feel better emotionally, always talk to your doctor if you’re concerned there’s a problem.

Identifying the Solution

If you’re looking to get things moving again, or hoping to keep things regular, food can be your first line of defense. Consider adding these ten surprising foods that keep you regular into your diet.

Kiwi. Instead of reaching for a strawberry or blueberry every time, mix it up with this exotic fruit. A medium kiwi has 2.5 g of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals that keep your digestive system healthy. And in at least one study, eating two kiwis a day helped with regularity in people who had been struggling.

Green beans. You probably know that leafy greens help keep you regular, but you don’t have to lock yourself into salads to maintain digestive health. Instead, steam a cup of green beans and get four grams of fiber!

Potatoes. White potatoes are often vilified because they’re so starchy, but when it comes to foods that keep you regular, it’s worth revisiting them. Eating a small baked potato with the skin on will get you three grams of fiber. And if you just can’t bring yourself to go back to white potatoes, a medium skin-in sweet potato is worth nearly four grams of fiber. The key is to leave off the high calorie, high fat toppings. But given how delicious potatoes are on their own, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Brown rice. If you love rice, but are hoping to reduce refined grains in your diet, you have an alternative. With four grams of fiber and all the benefits of whole grains, dig into a serving of brown rice instead of white rice to stay healthy and regular.

Popcorn. Like potatoes, popcorn sometimes gets a bad rap, and that’s a shame. Because it’s not the popcorn that’s unhealthy – if it’s prepared properly. Stay away from microwave popcorn and lay off the buttery topping. Instead, air pop or use just a little olive oil to pop popcorn on the stovetop and make a healthy snack that will also help keep things moving.

Beans/Legumes. Not only are beans great for keeping you regular, but they help keep your digestive system healthy by maintaining the proper balance of bacteria in your gut, as well. Add them to salads, soups, or casseroles. And with so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find at least one variety you love.

Coffee. If you’ve ever wondered why that morning coffee is so helpful, you’re about to learn. First, your body is designed to go to the bathroom in the mornings. That’s when your colon and digestive track are most active. Then, coffee stimulates those contractions, making them even more effective.

Yogurt. When it comes to a healthy gut, you’re probably very familiar with yogurt. But when it comes to foods that keep you regular, you may skip over it. But part of having a healthy gut is having healthy bowels, too. Not only does yogurt help with regularity, it also helps with softness if that’s been a problem.

Nuts. No matter which nut you prefer, one ounce provides right around three grams of fiber. Plus, they’re a good source of omega-3s – especially walnuts – which is also helpful when it comes to battling constipation.

Seeds. Too often seeds get grouped in with nuts so people forget they are a food that keeps you regular in their own right! If you’re dealing with nut allergies, seeds may be the alternative you’ve been looking for. Not only are they high in fiber, but they can add a crunchy texture to soups, salads, and breads. Try sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or BenVia Gold chia seeds for a delicious addition to just about any recipe.

You know that leafy greens and berries are excellent ways to maintain a healthy digestive system. But sometimes, it’s nice to be able to expand your dietary choices, too! That’s why it’s nice to know about these foods that keep you regular, too. Because healthy shouldn’t mean boring.