What Your Poop Says About Gut Health?
You may already know that your poop can reflect your gut health and sometimes even emotional health.
Constipation or diarrhea may develop when you eat something that “doesn’t agree with you” or when you’re very nervous.
And if you’re not getting enough of fiber and water, it will probably reflect in your poop.
What about the all-important gut microbes? If they’re not happy, it’ll probably show in your poop.
Here’s a trivia question for you:
Did you know there is an “official” standard for poop? It is used to help diagnose conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Meet the Bristol Stool Scale
The Bristol Stool Scale was created at the prestigious University of Bristol in the UK back in 1997.
You can see the chart here.
The scale breaks down type of poop into seven different categories ranging from type 1 which is very constipated, to type 7 which is diarrhea:
1 – Separate hard lumps (very constipated).
2 – Lumpy and sausage-like (slightly constipated).
3 – Sausage shaped with cracks in the surface (normal)
4 – Smooth, soft sausage (normal).
5 – Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (lacking fiber).
6 – Mushy consistency with ragged edges (inflammation).
7 – Liquid consistency with no solid pieces (inflammation).
Other “poop” factors to consider
You probably guessed that the shapes described in the Bristol Stool Scale are not the only thing to consider for poop health.
Think about how often you go. At least once per day and up to 3 times per day is pretty good. Less than once, or more than three can mean there is something going on.
What about how hard you have to try to go? You want it to be as effortless as possible.
And the color? It should be brown from the bile that you need to break down the fats you ingest.
And if it’s green after a day of massive veggies, or red after that large glass of beet juice, you’re just fine.
But if you see an abnormal color, like red or even black, that you can’t explain based on what you ate or drank in the last day or two, you probably want to get that checked out.
What do you do when you have “imperfect” poop?
The first thing to consider is how imperfect it is, and how often it is like that? Once in a while, things aren’t going to be perfect and that’s okay.
If you know you need to get more fiber or water then try increasing it.
If you haven’t had enough probiotic foods then try getting more of them.
If you’re particularly stressed, then try deep diaphragmatic breathing, going for a walk, or having a warm bath.
And don’t forget the two most basic pieces of nutrition advice:
- First, eat a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, including a lot of fruits & veggies (and their “fibrous” skins, wherever possible). The fiber in these foods is not only helpful for pushing food through your gut, but feeds gut-friendly microbes.
- The second piece of advice is to eat slowly, and mindfully, chewing thoroughly.
These are good habits for anyone and everyone, even when you have perfect poop!
Long-term issues might require a more thorough review with a qualified health care practitioner.
Don’t suffer from poop issues for too long, book your complementary visit HERE to discover how I can help you resolve your digestive concerns.
Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe (Serves 6)
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 2 probiotic capsules
- Open the probiotic capsules and empty contents into the blender. Blend with coconut milk.
- Transfer to a sanitized glass jar (make sure it’s not still hot – you don’t want those probiotics to die).
- Store it in a warm place for 24-48 hours. If it’s not thick enough for you, you can let it ferment for another 24 hours.
- Add your favourite yogurt toppings, and store the rest for up to a week in the fridge.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Fermenting food is not an exact science. If this doesn’t work out as you’d like it to, try different brands of coconut milk and/or probiotics.
Dr. Anna ND
- 6 reasons you should care about your poop health. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/poop-health
- Bristol Stool Scale. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale