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What Our Poop Reveals About Digestive & Gut Health

Katie - Wellness Mama 88 Comments Updated: January 10, 2018 This post contains affiliate links

All living things eat, so Everyone Poops – Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Who hasn’t read that literary masterpiece to their kids at some point along the way? As parents, we spend the first 3-5 years of our children’s lives handling poop Every Single Day Poop

Between diaper changes and snack time, it’s easy to forget about our own poop And if your house is anything like mine, most bathroom breaks usually involve an unexpected toddler wandering in for the party But if we actually stop and take a look in the toilet bowl… our poop can be a very real indication of our overall health

What Your Poop is Telling You

We all poop It’s one of the few reminders we get about our health on a (hopefully) daily basis and yet, we don’t pay much attention to it Not only that, but we also don’t like to talk about it In our culture, sometimes it’s easier to talk to people about sex than poop

But the truth is: if you’re not pooping right… something could be terribly wrong inside your body

For example, recent research suggests that your brain and the good bacteria in your gut communicate directly, influencing your mood, your immune system, and your inflammation (1 and 2)

Next, there’s good short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in your colon, which have anti-inflammatory effects and increase insulin sensitivity (3)

Most of us spend the time and energy to consume healthy, non-GMO, organic food But are we digesting it well? Are we breaking down and absorbing those nutrients well? The quality of your poop is a direct indication of how well you’re digesting your food

If you’re poop isn’t healthy, your digestive tract is either moving too slow or too fast… which can lead to an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions like neurological disease, autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory conditions

Think of your poop like the annoying chirping sound your smoke detector makes when the battery is low It’s relentlessly letting you know the battery is low… and if you don’t do something about it, your house could burn down (with you and your family in it)

However if you’re pooping well… it could be an indication your body is relatively healthy and a good sign you’re winning when it comes to health

Where Does Your Poop Stack Up?

There’s four critical elements to a perfect poop If you’ve ever had one… you know how amazing they are But if you’re not sure, take this quiz and see where you stack up

1 How Often do You Poop?

The research suggests you should poop every day In fact, the range of “normal” is typically 1-3 times a day Poop is waste and you need to get rid of it every single day to make sure that you’re properly removing toxins and other waste material that’s gotta go Many people have a bowel movements every time they eat

The bottom line: If you find yourself pooping a couple times a week… or going 5+ times a day, you’re at risk of health problems

2 Are You Pushing Too Hard?

How easy is it for you to poop? It’s normal in our culture to take a newspaper or read a magazine for a half hour, battling to win the poop fight But the reality is that a “normal” poop shouldn’t take but a few minutes It should also be easy This isn’t childbirth Pushing typically leads to hemorrhoids which are all too common today but not normal

The bottom line: Normal poops strike a balance between not having to push or strain, but also not having so much urgency you barely can hold it If you’re spending 10+ minutes on the toilet or running to make it just in time, you’re not having normal bowel movements

3 Does Your Poop Look Like a Snake?

The most important part of a “normal” poop is the quality, so part of this quiz requires you to look down and see what’s really going on Thankfully, the folks at the University of Bristol published a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, gifting us with the Bristol Stool Chart (4)

Here it is in all its glory:

Start sizing up your recent BM’s with the knowledge that anything between a 1-3 is considered constipated, while 6’s and 7’s are considered diarrhea

The bottom line: A “normal” poop is “like a sausage or a snake, smooth and soft If your poops aren’t looking 4ish… you’re not normal

4: Are You Getting it all out?

For some people this is a non-issue… but part of a “normal” poop is having what’s so eloquently referred to as a “full evacuation” Are you getting all your poop out in one swift motion? Do you have to keep coming back to finish the job? Or do you feel like there’s always something left behind lingering and making you feel uncomfortable?

The bottom line: A “normal” poop is a complete poop If you never quite feel the relief I’m talking about here… you’re not having ideal bowel movements

How to Improve Your Poop

If your poop isn’t normal based on the quiz above, we know your digestive health isn’t what it should be So here’s a few tips to improve your digestive health and get closer to perfect poops

1 Eat Real Food

The biggest mistake we see is people that claim to eat healthy, but they’re still consuming things like grains, soy, and table sugar Stick to eating real food It’s one of the most important changes anyone with digestive problems can make

If you’re someone who’s struggling with constipation or diarrhea, a diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can help heal your gut and get control of your symptoms The most important thing you can do is listen to what your poop is telling you and continue to make changes to improve the food you’re eating

2 Eat Good Bugs

Our gut has a TON of bacteria, and a healthy gut flora is critical for healthy poop Consume good bugs every single day Start with foods like sauerkraut, kombucha or water kefir and see how well you tolerate them A high quality probiotic is one supplement that can also boost the immune system in the gut and improve digestive health

3 Eat More Fat

Fat has a direct impact on peristalsis… the waves our bodies make to get rid of poop Fat can be extremely helpful for people who are constipated Increase your healthy fats from sources like coconut oil, animal fat, olive oil, and fermented cod liver oil Or drink this coffee

Other Tips to Improve Poop Health

  1. Try squatting to poop or use something like the Squatty Potty to help Surprisingly, this can make a big difference for some people
  2. Drink enough water! This is the most simple and most often missed step to good elimination Actual amount will vary by person but drink enough water that your urine is lightly colored and doesn’t have a strong smell
  3. Eat enough healthy fats, especially from quality meats, coconut oil, and foods like olive oil, avocados and grass fed butter
  4. Boost gut bacteria with probiotics, fermented foods, apple cider vinegar or kombucha
  5. Get enough sleep!
  6. Herbs can help My digestion tincture can help with short term digestive issues

How does your poop stack up? Is it healthy or need some work? TMI? Share below!

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