Have you ever wondered how often you should poo, or if your poo was healthy? Okay, after we get passed the awkwardness of this topic most of us would admit we are a little intrigued, and it’s important to remember that how often we use our bowels and what our poo looks like tells us a LOT about our general health and wellbeing…
Without realizing it many of us put ‘clag-like’ products into our bodies 3-5 times a day – such as white bread, multi-grain breads (grains and seeds simply added to the ‘glue’ in many multi-grain bread varieties doesn’t really help that much either) and other white flour products.
We race around and forget to eat fruit and vegetables, drink water or exercise, and then we may wonder why we have bloated tummies and only poo once every few days.
Unfortunately, if we don’t tune in to our bowel health and teach our children to do the same -then over a period of time our whole body including our brain function will start to be affected.
What Makes Poo Healthy?
So now that we’ve started to tackle this topic we need to really engage – you are going to have to look twice at your poo or teach your child to look at their poo —YEP that’s right you will need to actually look at the shape and then the colour.
A Healthy Poo:
- Tells us when it is ready to come out
- Slips out easily
- Needs no coaxing
- Is well formed (poo should look like a brown banana with a point at one end or take on an S shape)
- Is well hydrated (poo that looks like little balls wadded together has been in the colon too long)
What Is Not A Good Sign?
- Having no urge
- It hurts
- It takes a long time
- Is always very loose and fast
- Looks like little balls or pieces
- There’s blood or mucus
Tips To Foster Bowel Health
- If you are a parent it is important to make poo habits and digestive health part of natural family conversation. The easier it is to talk about poo the easier it is too correct poor habits.
- Two to three good bowel movements a day is considered optimal digestive health; in fact, many children poo after each meal.
- Drink plenty of water – on average at least 30ml for every kilogram (or 1ounce for every pound). Here are some examples:
- if your child weighs 40kgs x 30mls they should be drinking at least 1200ml (1.2 litres) of water, or
- an 80kg person x 30mls = 2400mls (2.4 litres)
- Cut out too much coffee (dries out the bowel), refined sugars (breeds bad bacteria), antibiotics (avoid wherever possible as they strip away good bacteria) and processed foods – you could just remember to cut out CRAP, but that would be cheeky!
- Eat stacks of fruit and vegetables, strive for 10-15 pieces a day. One ‘piece’ is considered roughly the size or length of your hand – such as one apple or one carrot.
- Remember to chew not just swallow food. Slow down be mindful of what your’e eating. Chewing food and then continued chewing of our food helps kick start the digestive process.
- Focus on eating foods that ‘look-like’ how nature intended them. Consume foods that look the same as they did when they were extracted from the ground or the garden. Remember there are no white bread plants!!
- Eat whole- grain products preferably kamut, spelt and quinoa and gluten free grains as they help flush fat and cholesterol out of your system. Don’t mistake whole-wheat products for whole-grain.
- Perform some form of sweaty exercise 5 days a week. When we are stagnant our bowels become stagnant.
- De-stress and slow life down. When we stress we typically are not moving with the flow of life. De-stress and let your life and bowels flow.
- Check your ‘bowel transit time’. When the digestive system is working well, bowel transit time ranges from 12 to 24 hours.
To easily test transit time, simply eat a brightly coloured food such as beetroot (at least one or two whole beets), take a mental note of the time it is eaten, and then check each motion to see when a dark red poo emerges.
Alternative foods you could trial include corn and sesame seeds. Ironically, corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and is extremely hard for the body to digest and assimilate.
As corn passes through the digestive tract mostly undigested, it is a particularly useful food for this transit test.
7 Reasons We May Become Constipated:
We can’t poo when:
- We haven’t drunk enough water
- We haven’t eaten enough fibre or bulk (fruits and vegetables)
- Our spine is not aligned (vertebral subluxations affects nerve messages between the brain and bowel) Chiropractic assists the nervous system re-create body order
- Our foods are not well combined (an imbalance in consistency or flavouring)
- We haven’t exercised enough
- We are emotionally tense
- We keep ourselves too busy (we rush them from one activity to another
So while poo may be an awkward topic, it makes sense to check-in with our body and identify how our bowels are coping with our lifestyle stressors. If we have children then it is wise to make bowel health a very normal part of family discussion.
Clearly we are not just talking about bathroom habits – we are appreciating that a lack of health affects so many aspects of our lives. When our bowels work well they extract the vitamins and minerals we need to thrive and they remove the toxins we gather from modern living.
Good bowel health gives us energy and vitality and allows us to fight off infections and illness. Healthy bowels create healthy bodies.
When our body is working well then so too are our minds and we are then better able to integrate and connect with the world around us.
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Yours in Health,
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
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