What does your poop say about your health?
Poop is a bad potty word with my kids, but it is common talk with my clients. Your bowels say a lot about your health! Your digestion is one of the most important components of your metabolism so your bowels can be directly related to your weight and many other health issues.
What affects bowel movements?
Diet: Processed foods, fried foods, heavy meats, and simple carbohydrates can negatively affect your bowels, leaving you either constipated or causing diarrhea. Whole foods are healing for your digestive system.
Dehydration: Low water intake leads to a slow digestive tract and constipation. If you have shifted to a healthy high fiber diet but are still lacking water, this can lead to painful constipation.
Stress/Anxiety: Your mental health plays a huge role on all systems of the body, especially your digestive system. When your stress levels rise, your hormones are altered, which changes your digestion speed. This can lead to diarrhea, constipation, gas, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Medications: Many medications can have a negative effect on your bowel movements:
- Prescription painkillers
- High blood pressure medications
How do I improve my bowel movements & health?
Try these helpful tips to keep your bowels moving properly.
- Stay hydrated! Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and cut down on caffeinated beverages, like coffee and soda. These drinks can cause dehydration.
- Eat a whole-fiber diet with lots of fiber, like greens, veggies, fruit, beans, whole grains (preferably gluten-free), nuts, and seeds.
- Eat small frequent meals and do not skip breakfast.
- Stay active! Exercise at least three times a week and try to do something active every day. Yoga is a great way to exercise the gastrointestinal tract.
- Probiotics are my favorite digestive supplement. Adding billions of healthy bacteria help to naturally bulk up your stool and boost your immune system. Aim for 5 billion to 50 billion bacteria in your daily probiotic supplement, depending on your symptoms. I carry two different probiotics that I use with clients. My maintenance probiotic contains 8 billion of acidophilus and bifidus bacteria. My IBS clients need more support. They utilize my high dose 50 billion probiotic with specific bacteria strains for the colon.
- Detoxify your diet and body. A whole food detox program is a great way to reboot the liver, gastrointestinal tract and metabolism. When completing my detox program, clients always note that their bowels improve greatly!
- Sticky poop. Do you have “skid marks” in your toilet? This can be an indicator that you are consuming too much unhealthy dietary fat. Sticky poop also can be related to a food intolerance to gluten or dairy.
- Poop that floats. Poop that floats is a sign that you have a high fiber diet. The interaction of fiber and bacteria causes gas, which allows the poop to float in water.
- Poop that sinks. This may indicate that you need more dietary fiber in your diet. Try eating dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, etc. Boost that dietary fiber!
- The infrequent pooper. Do you have “rabbit turds?” Everyone’s body is different and some people poop less often than other people, but if you tend to lean toward constipation (longer than two to three days without a BM), then this is unhealthy, toxic and inflammatory. Follow my healthy tips.
Betsy Markle is a registered dietitian, holistic nutritionist, certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Also known as “The Realistic Nutritionist,” Betsy is best at simplifying the confusing world of nutrition and wellness. Visit RealisticNutrition.com to learn more about her realistic menu plans and detox programs. She can be reached at Betsy@RealisticNutrition.com or 805-252-3656
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