Poop: we all do it, but not many people like to talk about it (I think that’s normal). But it’s a very important thing to know about, because it can give some insight into your health and digestive function.
The above graphic is called the Bristol Stool Chart and is the “gold standard” when it comes to interpreting poop health.
Not only does the form of your poop matter, but the frequency and transit time matters as well.
- Normal – 1 time up to 3 times a day of normal-looking poop
- Constipated – less than once daily (yes, that is constipation and is NOT normal)
- Frequent – more than 3 times a day
- Diarrhea is kind of obvious. If your poop is regularly liquidy or mushy, you have a problem
We’re talking about the time it takes for food to enter your digestive tract until it lands in the toilet. If transit time is too slow, that can indicate problems. Conversely, if it’s too fast, that can pose problems as well. Your body isn’t getting adequate time to digest and absorb all the essential nutrients.
There are many reasons you could have less than ideal digestion. It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution.
Good habits to form
- eat slowly
- chew your food thoroughly
- eat a diet of whole foods, including organic fruits/veg, nuts/seeds, beans, whole grains, organic and grass fed meats, eggs, dairy (make sure grains and beans are soaked for better absorption)
- drink plenty of water each day
- consume prebiotics found in chicory and dandelion root, onions, garlic, etc.
- add probiotics such as kombucha, plain yogurt, kimchi and other fermented foods
For the occasional poop problem
- If poop is hard, constipated or you skipped a day: You could just need more water or more fiber
- Diarrhea: If you’re super-stressed, then try deep breathing, meditating or having a warm bath. Or maybe you caught a stomach bug. Give it a day or two for your body to work things out.
For prolonged or chronic poop problems consider
- food allergies
- insufficient bile or stomach acid
It’s important not to wait too long before seeking help! The digestive system really is the center of your health.