As a nutritionist I am very interested in poop. Yup, the turd is the word when it comes to indicators of health.
As you likely know, what you eat is processed by your digestive tract which itself is lined with some pretty amazing cellular action. These cells offer up nutrients to be absorbed into your bloodstream, such as sugars, amino acids, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The waste matter is then escorted through your digestive system and is shown the door, so to speak.
So without further adoody, let’s get our hands dirty.
What does a healthy bowel movement look like? I’m so glad you asked!
Class-A poops usually look like a “C” or an “S” shape (after all, it takes a pretty curvy pathway before it can greet you on the outside).
A healthy poop will be well formed but soft. Hard, pellet-like poop indicates dehydration or an imbalance in the diet. Watery or loose poop can indicate an infection, an imbalance somewhere in the gut, or a food allergy or sensitivity. Get it checked out.
For the average person it is quite normal and healthy to have 2 or 3 bowel movements a day. This is usually in synch with the amount of meals you may have eaten.
Visits to the toilet are the way your body gets rid of toxins, excess hormones, and dead cells – so it’s important to make sure this process is occurring with some regularity (that’s why it’s called being regular). If you generally only have 3 or 4 bowel movements per week OR if you go more than 4 times per day, it might be a signal to talk to your doctor.
Let’s talk about my favourite four f-bombs – Fiber, Fluids, Fitness, and Flora – and how they can influence the quality of your bowel movements.
There are actually 2 kinds of fiber to be aware of:
Your bowel needs adequate fluid to move things efficiently and effectively. Water is absorbed by soluble fiber, which means you need to stay hydrated in order to stay in the flow.
A couple of tips to ensure good hydration:
While you’re feeling the burn your bowel is feeling the love. Movement stimulates peristalsis, the nature contraction of your intestines. Exercise can also help with constipation.
Don’t forget to take in extra fluids pre and post workouts.
There are trillions of bacteria in your digestive tract, both good and bad. Probiotic bacteria are the good guys and they are involved in digestion, brain, and immune function.
Probiotic food sources include fermented foods like tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut. High fiber foods are considered “prebiotic” meaning they provide the food your probiotic “good guys” like to eat. A healthy balance of probiotic bacteria is key to overall vibrant health.
So there it is, your “tour of doody”.
It is unfortunately very common for men and women over 40 to experience changes to bowel and digestive function. If this is something you are experiencing, let’s figure out how to get your backside back on track. Get in touch!
“Tour of doody (the poop article)” was written by Nutritionist & Orthomolecular Practitioner Tricia Pearson. Thanks for reading!
Tricia Pearson is a Certified Nutritionist specializing in cancer and diabetes. Check out Tricia's services and find out how to harvest the best of your health.
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