The effect of healthy plant food has on your body and energy levels can be incredible. Studies and research suggest that people adopting a well-planned plant-based diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), lower rates of obesity, and overall a happier and healthier person. But one of the unexpected side effects for many people is how it affects our bowel movements. Does that mean vegans can also be even better poopers than omnivores? 

Causes of constipation

There are many things that cause constipation. There are primary causes and secondary causes. Examples of primary reasons are colorectal dysfunction, slow transit, dyssynergic defecation, overuse of laxatives, immobility, sedentary lifestyle, low fiber diet, ignoring the urge to defecate, inadequate fluid intake, changes in routine, lack of regular exercise, stress, and pregnancy. 

At the same time, the examples of the secondary causes are hypothyroidism, neurologic, myogenic disorders, medication, colon disease, etc. You can see many things that cause constipation. If you have constipation, try to find the root of the cause, so you could work on treating it.

What is considered as chronic constipation or regular constipation?

"The American College of Gastroenterology Chronic Constipation Task Force defined chronic constipation as "unsatisfactory defecation characterized by infrequent stool, difficult stool passage or both at least for the previous three months". 

Difficult stool passage includes straining, a sense of difficulty passing stool, incomplete evacuation, hard/lumpy stool, prolonged time to stool or need for manual maneuvers to pass stool." But the general definition for constipation is "described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week."

Does a vegan diet help you to poop better?

Adopting a vegan or plant-based diet would increase your intake of fiber. This will help you go, believe it or not. Maybe some of you have experienced it. In terms of diet, it has been noted that lack of fiber (not consuming enough fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, whole grains) is one of the causes of chronic constipation. 

"Studies have indicated that a high-fiber diet increases stool weight, resulting in a decreased colon transit time." Although, when experiencing chronic constipation, adding much fiber to the diet right away would not help them either. So wisdom is needed here. Please talk to your doctor or dietitian to discuss further and to see your previous medical history. 

In general comparison, vegans consumed more fiber and "had a greater frequency of defecation and passed softer stools" compared to omnivores and vegetarians. In the study, vegans eat about 47 grams of fiber a day on average, while 23 grams among omnivores and 37 grams among vegetarians. 

By becoming vegan, you will help yourself to be more regular, more satisfied in doing number 2. Combining it with regular exercise, stress management, not ignoring the urge to defecate, and other healthy habits would help you poop better.