I did it. I mentioned ‘poo’ in my title, and it feels good (and slightly naughty)! We need to be talking about our bowel habits more. The appearance of your of stool is largely a result of your diet & digestion, fluids, medications and lifestyle.
I'm one of those, slightly embarrassing and at times, awkward people, who openly talk about bowel movements to anyone! I don’t expect you to start talking poo to the next person you sit next to on the bus. But, it’d be great if you started checking out the toilet bowl once you’ve been and identified what your poo looks like and what it might be telling you.
Did you know, there's such a thing as a poo chart? This will help you.
Bristol stool chart
There are seven types of stools (faeces) according to the Bristol Stool Chart. The Bristol Stool Chart or Bristol Stool Scale is a medical aid designed to classify faeces into seven groups.
What should my stools look like?
The Bristol Stool Chart shows seven categories of stool. Every person will have different bowel habits, but the important thing is that your stools are soft and easy to pass – like types 3 and 4 below. Types 1 -2 indicate constipation, types 3-4 are ideal stools that are easier to pass and types 5-7 may indicate diarrhoea and urgency.
Healthy bowels = regular bowel movements
But what's regular? We’re all different but being regular really means that soft yet well-formed bowel motions are easily passed and that this happens anywhere from 1–2 times a day, ideally daily.
If you're not getting stools similar to image 3 or 4 you're going to want to look at this more closely. Adequate water intake, fibre and probiotics in foods or probiotic supplementation are three of the best places to start. These three are scientifically proven to support bowel regularity, aid digestion and reduce and relieve constipation, diarrhoea and urgency.
3 Tips For Healthy Bowels:
1. ADEQUATE WATER INTAKE:
Calculate how much water YOU need to drink per day.
Calculate your weight in kgs X 0.33 = mls to drink daily
For example, 70 kgs X 0.33 = 2.37 L of water per day, for basic metabolic function. You may need to increase your water intake for exercise, breast feeding, hot weather etc.
**This is a guide only - you may need specific requirements based on your needs. Speak to a Naturopath or GP if you need further support.
2. INCREASE YOUR VEGETABLE INTAKE
Aim for 6 serves of vegetables per day, which will give you nearly 75% of your fibre requirements. One serve is close to 1 cup of vegetables, so eat up! :-)
3. INCREASE PROBIOTICS
Probiotics are bacteria that live in your gut and support digestion, support production of specific vitamins such as B vitamins, are immune supportive and have anti-biotic properties. You can slowly increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods such as Greek yoghurt/coconut yoghurt, kombucha, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, tamari, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, pickles and olives.
If you experience signs or symptoms that your gut function isn’t optimal, such as reflux, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation or irregular bowel movements, you’ll benefit from probiotics in a supplemented form.
Now, you don't want to pick up any ol' probiotic from the chemist or health food shop though. Specific probiotics perform specific jobs in the gut. As an example, the SB strain of probiotics is the best one to relieves and reduces frequency of diarrhoea (research comes predominantly from SB strain), while another strain, such as HN019 and B-420 is used for weight management and to lower LDL cholesterol. To find the best probiotic strain for YOU, based on your gut health and general health, you'll want to get a personalised prescription from a Naturopath... That's ME! Click here and send me an email and we can tee up a consultation to get you and your bowels on track!
Olivia McFadyen, based in Lane Cove & Berowra Heights on Sydney's North Shore, is a Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath and doTERRA Wellness Advocate (aka essential oil lover). Olivia is your girl-next-door Naturopath; there's no calorie counting, deprivation or fad, just practical nutritional recommendations, which includes 7-day meal templates, meal ideas, recipes and shopping lists, and easy-to-apply lifestyle recommendations. She services her patients by offering in-clinic and Skype consultations and corporate workshops. Olivia also loves collaborating with fellow health enthusiasts; she offers essential oil workshops, that take place in the clinic in Lane Cove or Berowra, or in the comfort of your own home, with your loved ones. She looks forward to connecting with you