If you have a “gut feeling” that going vegan will help your bowel movements, you’re not wrong. Among all the wonderful benefits of being vegan—like sparing animals, reducing your environmental footprint, and protecting yourself from heart disease, cancer, and other health issues—there’s another major plus-side: curbing constipation.
It may be taboo to talk about poo, but constipation is a widespread issue. Studies show that up to 20% of Americans suffer from chronic constipation, accounting for millions of doctors’ visits each year. Since 1997, the number of patients admitted to the hospital primarily for constipation has more than doubled. If left untreated, chronic constipation can lead to painful health ailments such as hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, and other related diseases that affect your overall health.
Talk About a Pain in the Butt
So what’s causing America’s constipation epidemic? Nutritionists are blaming a serious lack of dietary fiber—something that many vegan foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, are rich in. Research shows that only 5% of Americans are getting enough fiber daily—an issue nutritionists call the “fiber gap.”
Do Vegans Really ‘Go’ More?
They say that beans—the “magical fruit”—are the number one food for going number two, but you can enjoy a variety of nutritious, fiber-rich vegan foods that promote good digestion by reducing the amount of sugar your blood absorbs.
Eating fiber-rich vegan foods has been linked to more frequent bowel movements and softer stools. And because vegans may consume up to twice as much fiber as meat-eaters do on average, they’re less likely to suffer from constipation and other related complications. A University of Oxford study found that vegans had more frequent bowel movements than vegetarians, who had more frequent bowel movements than meat-eaters.
Listen to Your Gut—Go Vegan!
Going vegan won’t just help you with constipation issues—it could improve your overall health. Studies have shown that vegans enjoy a lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower overall cancer rates. Research has also found that going vegan can enhance your immune system.
Additionally, going vegan helps the countless animals who are exploited and killed in the meat, egg, and dairy industries. Cows, chickens, pigs, fish, and other animals used for food are intelligent, complex living beings who deserve our empathy and compassion. Be kind to them and yourself by going vegan today.
Need Resources for Being a Healthy Vegan?
Check out PETA’s simple guide for meeting your nutritional needs with vegan foods, tips for vegan gut-friendly foods, and easy, healthy vegan recipes. Our vegan starter kit comes with everything you need to make the switch: