Before you think we’re trying to gross you out, one’s bowel movement is important not just for infants or seniors but for at any point in one’s life. That’s because your gut health is important, as we’ve mentioned many a times. If you have diarrhoea, constipation or other forms of stomach/intestinal discomfort, it could mean that your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients you need.
While your poop isn’t the most accurate measure of your health, it does give you an indication of it. So next time you’re headed off to the loo, you might want to check your stool against this Bristol Stool Form Scale and understand your health a little bit better.
Constipated or Diarrhoea
If you have stools that range from Types 1-2, it means that you’re constipated . While if you have stools that range from Types 6-7, it means that you have diarrhoea and if you get this frequently (discounting those instances of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or food poisoning). For both instances, some of the questions that you should be asking yourself:
- Am I drinking enough water?
- Am I consuming sufficient good fats?
- Am I eating a good amount of fibre per meal?
- Have I been eating too much fried foods?
- Have I developed intolerance to dairy or gluten?
- Have I drunk a lot of alcohol recently?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, then scroll down to see what types of foods to avoid.
When things are normal
If your gastrointestinal health is balanced, your poop should look like Types 3-5. Well done! Nonetheless, do look out for signs of it thinning (your stool should be thick and not pencil-like) and if so, you may want to check with your doctor to ensure that there aren’t any polyps growing in your colon.
In terms of frequency, you should be going to poop at least once a day. Any less and you should really think whether you’ve been eating sufficient fibre or drinking enough water.
Foods to avoid
In order to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, you will need probiotics and prebiotics to feed them. As such, if you have unhealthy looking poop or you feel bloated and gassy after certain meals, it’s time to look at what you put into your mouth and see what might be messing with your system.
Sorry, we all know how yummy anything fried tastes and we all know that fried foods can clog up our arteries but the fats can also do some damage to our guts. Studies have shown that diets high in saturated fats can increase constipation and can increase the amount of bad gut bacteria, which is associated with inflammatory bowel diseases.
While we all know that alcoholic drinks are full of sugar and empty calories, a night of drinking can also cause diarrhoea because ethanol has been found to accelerate digestion but it can also lead to constipation due to its diuretic effect (which causes dehydration).
Do note that it is normal for people to lose their ability to digest a lot of diary as they grow older. This doesn’t mean to avoid it totally as intolerances can vary. For example, you may be able to eat cheese but not drink milk while others are able to have both but not be able to have ice cream.
If you notice some diary products that causes you to bloat or run to the toilets, then you definitely should avoid those. You may want to try fermented milk products such as kefir or yoghurt, which contain probiotics and therefore are beneficial to your digestive health.
Some people are mildly gluten intolerant and cutting out major sources of gluten such as bread and pizza can help some feel a lot better. However, if you still feel bloated or have stomach discomfort after doing so, you may need to seek medical help to properly diagnose whether you have celiac disease.
In poop conclusion
Eat healthily on a regular basis and you should not have any issues! If you want to be even more proactive, you may want to speak to your doctor about getting a gut health test and that can help you determine which foods you have to especially avoid. After all, every body is different!
Photo credits: Bristol Stool Form Scale, Marina Bay Sands and Pixabay