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I grew up with three brothers so for me it was normal to talk about poo and toilet habits (even at the table dinner table). It seemed normal and I always have a look. It may seem like a vulgar subject however gut health important topic. At the end of the day, what you deposit in your toilet says A LOT about your health. In fact, if you ignore it and don’t pay attention to what poo and wee you are producing, you could be flushing your health away. Do you look in your toilet before you flush? If not, you should be and here’s why.
The average individual produces about five TONS of poo in their lifetime. Even more interesting is that people who poo once a day are releasing around one ounce of excrement per 12 pounds of body weight, meaning that a 160-pound person will produce just under a pound of poo a day . Although once a day may be the average, that does not necessarily make it the standard.
Is my gut healthy? How often should we poo?
Normal bowel habits vary from person to person. This is because we are all different. You may be surprised to know that three poo’s a day to three per week is considered within the normal range. What’s more important than how often you poo however is the ease with which you can. You shouldn’t need to push or strain. It should take no more effort than urinating or passing gas. The thing to watch for is a sudden change in your poo habits. Your habits can be affected by many things. From diet, medications and exercise through to sleep, travel, illness, and stress, just to name but a few.
When looking at gut health, what is ‘normal’ poo?
Did you know that your poo is about 75% water? The rest is a combination of fibre, live and dead bacteria, miscellaneous cells and mucus . The characteristics of your poo will tell you how happy and healthy your gut is. You can look at the colour, odour, shape, size, and even the sound it makes when it hits the water.
The Bristol Stool Chart is a handy tool that may help you learn what you’re going for, the ideal being Type 4.
Fibre helps with bulk and keeping it all together (how a poo should be). If your poo is on the softer side, short of diarrhoea, it could be related to a number of things such as artificial sweeteners (Sorbitol, Aspartame and Splenda), increased exercise, stress, food allergies/intolerances and drinking more water.
Now lets talk about urine for a little bit here. The colour will let you know whether you are dehydrated or not. The darker the colour, the more dehydrated you are. Most people do not drink enough water on a daily basis. I always tell my clients to aim for at least 2 litres of water per day. I am afraid that coffee and fizzy drinks do not count as suitable water intake as they are diuretics and could also cause digestive discomfort.
An example of dehydrated urine: you’ll notice that after a night out drinking alcohol your urine may be quite dark. You should drink a few pints of water upon waking before consuming anything else. Try squeezing a whole lemon into your glass of water to aid in flushing toxins out and adding some vitamin C.
When considering gut health, what can we do to poo better?
Most poo issues can be prevented or resolved by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you aren’t achieving poo perfection according to the Bristol Stool Chart, look at the following areas below and consider making changes that will ultimately benefit your overall health and well-being.
- Remove all sources of gluten from your diet (the most common sources are wheat, barley, rye, spelt and other grains)
- Eat the rainbow. Consuming a wide variety of whole foods rich in fresh fruit and veg can dramatically improve your gut health.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners, excess sugar, chemical additives, excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, and processed foods.
- Boost your intestinal flora by eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir.
- Try increasing your fibre intake. Some great options are chia and flaxseeds.
- Make sure you stay hydrated with fresh, pure water.
- Get plenty of exercise daily
- Avoid pharmaceutical drugs, such as painkillers, Antidepressants, and antibiotics as they can all cause a variety of gut problems.
- Address emotional challenges such as stress and anxiety.
- Consider squatting instead of sitting when doing a poo. Squatting straightens your rectum, relaxes the muscle fibres in the rectum and encourages the complete emptying of your bowel without straining. Try getting a step to elevate your feet to be in more of a squat like position.
Lets conclude this lovely little write up about poo as I am sure you have enjoyed learning about all that is brown. Try to remember when you go to the toilet next, check out what’s in it as this could seriously help you understand what’s happening with your gut health and what you can do to improve it.
If you wanted to learn more about your own digestive and gut health then why not hire a health coach. I focus specifically on restoring gut health as a means to restore overall health. I am obsessed with helping my clients understand foods that work for their body, restoring their energy levels, stop food cravings, flatten their stomachs and crave exercising.
Get in touch today for a FREE discovery call to see if we are a good fit to work together – www.larajezeph.com/contact/discovery-call.
Join the FREE community of women wanting to improve their gut health – www.facebook.com/groups/digestivehealth