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Originally from Central America, avocado fruits are known as one of the most nutrient-rich fruits on the planet; they contain plenty of beneficial mono and unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, and minerals.
Because of avocados’ low sugar and carbohydrate content, they become the go-to fruits for low carbs and ketogenic diet enthusiasts. But have you ever wondered why you have the urge to go poop every time you eat avocado? Here is what I discovered about the power of avocados as a natural laxative.
Do avocados make you poop? Is avocado a laxative?
Avocados are a natural laxative that makes you poop due to their relatively high amount of dietary fiber, which helps cleanse out your bowels and boost bowel movement efficiency. They are also rich in magnesium, which attracts water into your intestines, softening your poop, and making it easy to pass.
Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate found in every edible plant food, including typical fruits like avocado, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Around 7% by weight of a typical avocado is fiber, which comprises both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. This property alone makes this fruit remarkable since not many foods contain that much fiber and not many fruits contain both types of fibers.
Unlike other carbohydrate types, such as starch, your body cannot digest fibers into sugar molecules readily. So they will be flushed out of your body in your poop undigested.
An average-sized avocado contains about 25% soluble fiber and 75% insoluble fiber.
Soluble fibers can dissolve in water and help your body absorb nutrients and control blood cholesterol and sugar level.
They help retain more water in your feces. Since your feces contain more water, it will be much bigger and softer, allowing it to pass through the intestine easily.
They also feed the gut microbiota in your intestine, which are essential for optimum body function.
In addition, soluble fiber helps you control your appetite and make you feel full longer; when combined with water, it becomes a gel-like substance and stays in your stomach for some time.
On the other hand, insoluble fibers are not capable of dissolving in water. They play a vital role in promoting bowel regularity and digestive health. Insoluble fibers add bulk to your poop and facilitate the movement of foods and wastes in your intestine, thereby preventing constipation.
Insoluble fibers help clean out your bowels by enhancing your bowel movements efficiency. So your risk of becoming constipated and developing colorectal cancer decreases.
Since avocados are rich in fiber, you will visit the bathroom to poop more frequently when eating them in large quantities.
Precaution: Although high-fiber foods are great for your well-being, consuming too much fiber too fast can lead to abdominal bloating, intestinal gas, and cramping. So if you plan to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, increase it gradually over a few weeks to enable your digestive system’s natural bacterial to adjust to the changes. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water since fiber pulls water into the bowel. You might get dehydrated if you don’t drink enough fluids.
Aside from soluble and insoluble fibers, avocados are a great source of dietary magnesium.
Your body utilizes magnesium for more than 300 biochemical reactions. Just as this mineral is essential for your heart, it is important for peristaltic movement, which moves food through your gut when digested.
Magnesium relaxes your digestive tract’s muscle and works as an osmotic laxative, which means it pulls water into your intestines to soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
If you do not consume enough magnesium, your bowel slows down and you might become constipated and experience a stomach cramp.
How much fiber and magnesium do avocados contain?
This means that if you eat one cup of sliced, raw avocado, you can get up to 39% of the recommended amount of fiber your body needs every day.
So your body can get the recommended daily fiber by eating around 2 ½ cups of sliced avocado.
On the other hand, one cup of sliced or cubed, raw avocado contains about 44 milligrams of magnesium, which provides 11%DV.
Since one cup of sliced, raw avocado, gives you around 11% of the recommended magnesium intake per day, you can fulfill your body’s daily magnesium requirement by eating around 9 cups of sliced avocado.
Can avocados cause diarrhea or constipation?
Avocados may result in diarrhea or loose stools if you eat them in excess at once due to the high amount of fiber in them. Apart from diarrhea, eating too much fiber in a diet can lead to other gastrointestinal distress, such as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and constipation.
Moreover, fiber can bind to magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and other minerals, decreasing their absorption in your body. So if your diet contains too much fiber, you may experience nutrient deficiencies over time.
Other signs of eating too much fiber are early satiety or a decrease in appetite.
That’s why although avocados are tasty and rich in nutrients, you should eat them in moderation, especially if you have an upset tummy.
Also, it is best to get your fiber from various types of food, so you are not dependent on only one food source.
Try to balance your diet and get your fiber from vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, and other fruits sources.
If you accidentally ingest too many avocados or fiber and having these uncomfortable symptoms, you can try counteracting the effects with the following tips:
- Drink a lot of water
- Stay away from high-fiber and fiber-fortified foods
- Consume a bland diet
- Stop eating fiber supplements
- Perform light physical activities, such as walking, as much as you can
If you start feeling better, you can include fiber-rich foods again into your diet gradually.
Nice to know: While you may experience dire consequences when eating too much fiber, eating too much magnesium which naturally exists in foods is not harmful to your body. Still, although there is no restriction on magnesium intake from food, magnesium obtained from medications and dietary supplements should not be eaten above the recommended upper limit without due advice of the healthcare providers. Eating too much magnesium from these sources may cause side effects like diarrhea and cramps.
How many avocados should you limit yourself to eat per day?
Avocados provide many health benefits. So you should include them in your diet. However, eating too much of a good thing is not always a great idea.
Apart from the odds of getting constipated or having diarrhea when eating too many avocados in a day, you can easily add up more calories per day if you overeat avocados since they are not calorie-free.
One cup of cubed avocado generally contains around 240 calories or approximately 12% of most people’s daily calorie requirement.
Moreover, even though they contain heart-healthy fats, these fats provide the same calories as fats that can clog your artery.
Therefore, eating them in a reasonable amount is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and body.
Ariana Cucuzza, a functional medicine dietitian from Cleveland Clinic, recommends eating about half to one avocado per day.
A study released by the Journal of the American Heart Association discovered that eating one avocado per day help improve the levels of bad cholesterols in obese and overweight people.
Other foods that make you poop immediately
- Aloe vera juice
- Chia seeds
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower
- Flax seeds
- Leafy greens like spinach
- Oatmeal or oat bran
- Olive oils
- Sweet potatoes
Avocados contain a high amount of substances that help you poop, which include dietary fiber and magnesium. That’s why avocados are great natural laxatives.
They contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fibers help retain more water in your poop so it will become softer and larger, allowing it to pass easily through your intestine. On the other hand, insoluble fibers add bulk to your poop, promote bowel regularity, and ease the wastes and food movement in your intestine.
Magnesium helps relax the muscle in your digestive tract and serves as an osmotic laxative, pulling in water into your intestines and making your poop softer and easier to pass along the intestines. Insufficient magnesium intake may slow down your bowel and make you constipated.
Even though avocados are nutrient-dense and benefit your health, you should eat them in moderation since they are loaded with fiber and high in calories. Eating too much fiber at once may result in gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence, and abdominal pain.
What happens if you eat too many avocados?
Although avocados provide many health benefits, you may experience side effects when eating them in excess. These include weight gain, inflammation, and adverse gastrointestinal effects like upset stomach, gas, and bloating. Their satiating property may cause you to neglect other essential nutrients.
Is it okay to eat one avocado a day?
Eating half to one avocado per day is recommended by dietitians. A study from Penn State found that eating one avocado every day helps lower bad cholesterol levels in obese and overweight people. Experts recommend adding it to a healthy diet, such as eating it as a veggie dip or on a whole-wheat toast.