After tucking into a corn on the cob — or another corn-heavy dish — you’ll may find that the little yellow kernels linger all the way through your body until ejected in its original form via the toilet. This is a completely normal but interesting phenomenon.
Basically, corn is super indigestible by your body. The outer shell of corn is made of cellulose, and according to Healthline, your body doesn’t contain enzymes that are actually able to break down the cellulose.
But, your body is able to break down the inner layer of the corn kernel, as this is almost purely made up of starch, says mindbodygreen (mbg). So, when you see kernels in your stool, it’s pretty much just the outer shell and that’s why it still looks intact.
There are a number of other foods that also remain largely undigested by the body including beans, peas, seeds like sunflower, flax and sesame seeds as well as grains like quinoa.
Seeing corn in your stool isn’t anything to worry about — it’s definitely not a reflection on the function of your body — as your body isn’t meant to break down all fibrous foods, says Healthline. In fact, fibrous foods are great for keeping everything moving in the world of excretion.
“Insoluble fibre stays in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, increases stool bulk, and helps to push waste through your system,” women’s health dietitian, Valerie Agyeman, R.D., told mbg.
Eating slower and taking note of how many times you chew your food before swallowing can make these particles appear smaller in your stool. Chewing your food thoroughly also helps your body properly absorb nutrients from the food and makes it easier for your body to break it down.
If you’re experiencing a lot of undigested foods in your stool and it’s passing through your system quickly, your body might be struggling with digestion. It’s best to chat with your GP if this is happening to you, as this could be a symptom of celiac or Crohn’s disease.
The more you know!