I am obsessed with bowel movements! As a Holistic Nutritionist, I am interested in how often, the shape and how difficult or easy it is to poop. The reason is our poop tells us so much about our bodies! If you are like me, you were told growing up that everybody's schedule to poop is different. It may be everyday or it may be once every 3-4 days. Whatever your body's routine is, it is OK and normal for you.
This is one of the biggest lies we have been told about our health! It is not normal to go days without pooping. When you aren't pooping everyday, your body is holding onto toxins and waste that does not need to stay in your body. It makes you feel uncomfortable, sluggish, weighed down and affects your health. Here is the truth about why you need to poop daily.
IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Have you heard of the gut-brain axis? It is the study of how the health of our digestive system affects other parts of our body, such as our brain. When any part of the digestive system is not working properly it can affect our mood. Feeling overwhelmed? The stomach is not working efficiently. If you are resistant to change, the small intestines has a role in making you feel that way. The large intestines can make you feel like you can't let go and you may keep emotions locked inside. Our gut has a communication pathway to the brain that links our emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with what is happening with our digestive functions. (Source: NIH) There are ways to improve your mood but first diagnosing what is the true cause is important.
PREVENTS GROWTH OF BAD BACTERIA
Your poop is a combination of waste and water. Part of what is in the waste is good bacteria needed to fight pathogens and bad bacteria from affecting the digestive tract. This is important because if the bad bacteria takes over in your gut, it will effect the form and frequency of bowel movements. This is why constipation and diarrhea happen. There is an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Any number of reasons can cause constipation or diarrhea. Taking antibiotics, eating too much sugar or eating food grown with pesticides. A more serious gut health issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, Chron's or SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) also have an imbalance in bacteria in the gut. Taking a probiotic that is either specifically studied for a gut health issue or to just support good daily health is a great way to ensure bowel movements.
KEEPS YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM HEALTHY
When we are pooping everyday we are confirming our digestive system is healthy. Since poop is 75% water, when we are hydrated our poop is regular. Too much water content in our poop results in constipation (I know this is counter intuitive) and too little water results in diarrhea. Constipation means waste has been sitting in our digestive system and the muscle contractions used to push the waste through the body are slow. When waste sits in our body, it absorbs more water resulting in hard stool that is hard to eliminate. While diarrhea means that the waste is moving too quickly through our body and the water content cannot be absorbed so it is released when we poop. Also, pooping helps keep our digestive tract strong. The physical mechanism of the body pushing poop through the body results in strengthening and toning of the digestive tract muscles through contractions.
Now that we know why a daily poop is important to our health, let's look at what makes a productive poop? According to the Energetic Health Institute:
1 bowel movement per day is the minimum, 1 per major meal is optimal
Ideally within two hours of waking up
It feels complete
Can pass within minutes
Brown in color
You may be wondering what you can do to have a daily poop. Here are a few to consider:
EAT ORGANIC FOOD
The truth is when we eat pesticides and chemicals, it disrupts our entire body. Our body does not distinguish between what foods we are eating. It distinguishes by nutrients. Every time we eat we either give our body foods that it can use to be healthy or foods that have no nutritional value. When we eat foods grown with pesticides, the body is looking for nutrients the food does not have. The body works really hard to find the nutrients which means it gets tired. When our body is tired, disease and illness sets in.
Often, when I tell people to eat organic, they immediately tell me the food is too expensive. That is not the case anymore. Organic offerings have grown substantially and I can typically find organic food cheaper than non-organic. It is like anything, you need to know your prices.
EAT FRUITS, VEGETABLES & WHOLE GRAINS
Eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day will ensure a daily poop. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps bind to water in your body allowing for bulking of the stool. However, there is a catch. If you aren't drinking enough water when you eat fiber, you can cause constipation. Strive to eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. You can even try to eat only fruits and vegetables one day a week to reduce meat consumption and provide your body even more health benefits than just a healthy digestive tract. Another caveat for eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is to avoid those that you are sensitive to or have an allergy. Not sure if you do? Take an at home food allergy test from EverlyWell. It is better to know than guess.
Stress is so harmful for our bodies. It even harms the digestive tract. Recall earlier about how gut health impacts our moods? Stress can result in erratic bowel movements. There are many ways to reduce stress, you just need to try some and see what works for you. Meditation is a great relaxing exercise that is free and can be done anywhere. There are a lot of free YouTube videos and websites that can guide you through meditation. Daily exercise not only helps reduce stress but improves the strength of the muscles needed to poop daily. Simply walking 30 minutes a day will help you poop regularly.
I hope this post on why you need to poop daily makes you think about your current pooping schedule. Once I learned that a daily poop should happen within two hours of waking and it passes within minutes, it really made me examine my current eating habits. After going organic and starting a meditation practice, I really noticed a difference in my daily habits. Now, when I am off my routine, my poop reminds me and I try to get back to my routine as fast as possible.
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