What should I eat and drink if I want to have regular bowel movements?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your digestive health and your trips to the bathroom. Find out which foods will keep you going regularly. Don't let a trip to the bathroom leave you frustrated. Try these helpful tips on how to keep your gastrointestinal (GI) tract in tip-top shape:

  • Whole Grains: Replace the white flour in your diet with whole grains. Look for whole grain bread and pasta to add the right amount of roughage to your system. Combined with adequate hydration, this will keep things moving smoothly. If whole grain pasta isn't your thing, try Jerusalem artichoke pasta, which has high levels of insoluble fiber as well.
  • Peppermint Herbal Tea: To relieve constipation, sip on this delicious yet potent tea. Certain medications may cause constipation as an uncomfortable side effect, but this tea is sure to improve motility in the GI tract and get you going.
  • Sugar: Though it's tempting to get your sugar fix from artificial sweeteners, they can leave you running to the bathroom. Our bodies don't absorb artificial sweeteners correctly, so they suck water into the intestinal system. Because this water doesn't get absorbed back out, it results in watery stools. A teaspoon of sugar is only 16 calories, so skip the fake stuff and replace it with the real thing to solve artificial sweetener-related diarrhea.
  • B.O.A.T.: To start your day off right, make sure your breakfast is packed with fiber-rich foods. B.O.A.T. stands for bananas, oatmeal (especially steel-cut), applesauce and toast (whole grain). Eating these four foods is a sure-fire way to stay regular.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.