Popcorn is one of the best foods you can eat to relieve constipation. Constipation is defined as pooping less than three times per week. Most people experience constipation from time to time, but as many as four million Americans have recurring bouts – known as chronic constipation.
Popcorn often gets a bad rap for being the cause of constipation. But it is actually a good food to eat if you want to avoid constipation or are already suffering from it. Let’s look into the impact of popcorn on constipation further.
Is Popcorn Good for Constipation?
Yes, popcorn is good for constipation as it is high in fiber.
Does Popcorn Make You Poop or Constipated?
It’s possible that popcorn can make you both poop and get constipated. Air-popped popcorn is great for dealing with constipation. But if you eat popcorn covered in butter or salt, it can contribute to constipation.
One cup of buttered popcorn contains around 8 g of fat. Studies have found that fat is a leading cause of constipation.
Adding salt to your popcorn isn’t a good idea either as your body will try to regulate the salt in your body by taking water from the intestines. This then causes constipation.
Some people will go the other way and experience diarrhea after eating popcorn. This may be because of an underlying health problem, consuming too much popcorn, or the body passing the excess fiber too quickly.
Why Popcorn is Good for Constipation
Popcorn is good for constipation because it’s packed full of insoluble fiber. Eating more insoluble fiber is a good way to relieve constipation as it helps to move food through the digestive tract.
3 cups of air-popped popcorn typically contains 3.6 g of fiber. This is 14% of a woman’s recommended daily intake of fiber and more than 9% of a man’s recommended daily intake of fiber.
Research shows that 95% of Americans don’t eat enough fiber, so adding popcorn to your diet is a good way to increase the amount of fiber you eat.
Is Popcorn Hard on Your Digestive System?
In general, popcorn is not hard on your digestive system. However, if you have one of the following medical conditions, you may find that popcorn causes digestive problems:
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
People with Crohn’s disease, colitis, and IBD have problems digesting whole grains. Corn typically has thick skin which people with these conditions find tough to digest.
IBS sufferers often have difficulties with the insoluble fiber found in popcorn which is why they may need to avoid eating it. Signs that a person with IBS has problems digesting insoluble fiber include:
- Passing Gas
- Stomach cramps
Will Eating Too Much Popcorn Cause Stomach Problems?
Yes, it’s highly likely that eating too much popcorn will cause stomach problems. If you don’t usually eat a high-fiber diet, your stomach may start hurting if you suddenly eat a large amount of popcorn in one sitting. To avoid this, it’s best to stick to small portions.
The Popcorn Board recommends that 3 cups of popcorn is equal to one serving. However, if you go to the theater, serving sizes are much bigger.
- A small is usually between 8 and 11 cups
- A medium is between 12 and 15 cups
- A large is typically between 16 and 20 cups
Theater popcorn is usually laden with oil and butter too. This makes movie theater popcorn a high-fiber and high-fat snack that may cause stomach complaints. You may be able to avoid this problem by sharing your popcorn with a friend.
How to Deal with Constipation Caused by Popcorn
Constipation caused by popcorn is easily fixed in one of the following ways:
- Eat more fiber – foods high in soluble fiber can move things along in your digestive tract. Opt for fruit, veggies, and whole grains for the best results.
- Drink lots of water – around 80% of people don’t drink enough water. This can cause constipation on its own but add popcorn to the mix and you’ll struggle to poop even more. Get things moving by increasing your water consumption to at least eight 8 oz glasses per day.
- Exercise – exercise will help get things moving in your digestive tract and bowel, making it easier to poop.
- Have a coffee – caffeine helps to make your colon contract, so it’s worth having a coffee if you’ve got constipation caused by popcorn.
- Take a stool softener – if food, drink, and exercise don’t work, consider taking a stool softener to ease your constipation.
How to Deal with Diarrhea Caused by Popcorn
If you start pooping after eating popcorn, the first thing you should do is stop eating popcorn until the diarrhea passes. You should also avoid other foods high in fiber, such as:
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
- Some fruit and vegetables, including raspberries, peas, broccoli, carrots, and apples
Make sure you drink plenty of water to replace the liquids you’ve lost through pooping. Other things that may help include:
- Eating small amounts of low-fiber foods, such as toast and crackers
- Taking diarrhea-relief medications
- Taking probiotics
Constipation is a problematic condition that, in most cases, popcorn can help with. Just be careful with the type of popcorn you eat and how much of it you consume to reap the best benefits.
Check out our article on Smartfood Popcorn next.
Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!