Wait, we’re talking about Poop now?
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Wait, we’re talking about Poop now?

KEVIN LAND

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Let’s talk about POOP!

Even though it’s something EVERY person on this planet does regularly, poop is not something we like to discuss. Instead, we close the door, cover the smell, and eliminate all evidence that any such deed occurred. As a gut health advocate, I want to open this dialogue because poop is the number one way to tell if we’re off track from a gut health perspective.

How often you poop, how it comes out, and how it looks in the loo is a great way to know if things are “as they should be” in your microbiome. If you’re not sure why you’d care about your microbiome, be sure to read this overview first to get some context on how your gut is tied to so many aspects of overall health.

Simply put, everyone should be pooping:

  • Everyday
  • The effort should be easy
  • It should look like a smooth sausage or snake (type 3 and 4 in the Bristol stool chart, below)

Unfortunately, most health care providers are behind the times on the current gut health research and may tell you defecating a few times a week is “normal.” The evidence, however, clearly suggests that daily is ideal:

  • Several studies show that daily defecation is linked to a healthy microbiome
  • A 13-year study demonstrates that bowel movements every 2 days over a decade is enough to increase cardiovascular disease (the less you poo per week, the worse the risk)
  • Another study shows that pooping every 3 days is significantly linked to increased colorectal cancer
  • After a review of ALL the evidence, this study concludes suboptimal pooping (less than 1 a day) is directly linked to increased mortality

Simply put, if you’re not pooping every day, if you struggle to go, and/or if it looks like any other “type” in the chart above, besides 3 or 4, most days of the week -- something might be off in your gut.

The good news is that our behaviors and diet can truly change our digestion. Things like increased fiber, fruits and vegetable, and water intake have been heavily researched and demonstrated shifts in transit time and consistency.

In my practice and history around the subject, I have found that the following are great things to try if things are “off:”

  • Set an appointment with a gut health expert, like Dr Mary Pardee, to approach the issue with comprehensive care
  • Buy yourself a microbiome stool kit, like Viome, and discover specifically what your body and gut are missing and what you can do about it
  • Try a high-quality pro-biotic (learn more about probiotics here)
  • Increase the amount of pre-biotics in your diet (learn more about prebiotics here)
  • Try eating a fermented food every day (read here to learn more)
  • Start the day with a glass of warm lemon water (yes, even before your morning coffee)
  • Drink at least a ½ gallon of still water daily
  • Exercise 5-6 days a week

Whatever you do, make sure you AT LEAST start playing a more active role in your visits to the toilet. You should turn around before you flush and be curious! If things are off, begin your journey on finding the right solution for you – remember, we are not all the same. How much fiber you need to get “regular” may be 3X more than someone else needs, so try not to compare notes here. FOLLOW YOUR GUT means YOU tapping into YOU and finding out what works best! :)

Today's blog is written by our very own Daina Trout, MS, MPH

Daina is not just our Co-Founder, she is also a nutritionist that has spent her adult life dedicated to finding and sharing health and wellness through food. With 2 masters' degrees in nutritional biochemistry and public health, Daina has called upon her education often while leading the way at Health-Ade - from how we make every batch of kombucha, to how we talk about gut health to consumers, to even how healthy our employee workplace is! She even writes a few blogs here and there. Happy reading! :)

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