Let’s face it: poop is gross. But regular healthy poop is a critical indication of your health. Before you run away screaming chew on this:
A 125 pound female who doesn’t poop regularly can store up to 10 pounds of clogged fecal matter in her system. An obese person can store as much as 30 pounds of waste. During Elvis Presley’s autopsy, a whopping 50 pounds of impacted poop remained in his abdomen. Repulsed? You should be. This mass of food matter builds up along the intestinal walls and colon until it ferments. The fermentation causes a putrid odor to emanate from the mouth and skin. Constipation also causes headaches, fatigue, and mood swings.
Overhauling your nutrition should be a priority anyway to protect your heart, stave off type II diabetes, and lower blood pressure. If you want to lose weight, getting your bowels to move everyday is a fantastic place to start. Why are healthy bowel movements so complicated?
From infant to toddler age, we aren’t exposed to large amounts of processed foods, junk foods, and high glycemic carbohydrates so we poop regularly and effortlessly. What enters the digestive system also exits in a timely manner everyday. Despite a lot of the frank-n’-foods children often eat, they still usually poop consistently because their hormones haven’t kicked in yet and their enzyme production is still sky-high. Post-adolescence through adulthood, our digestive systems react to the quality of the foods we eat. Elimination is a direct reflection of nutrition.
So what makes for a good poo? It’s no surprise that the top five elements of a great daily poop also jive with the top five tips for efficient weight loss:
1) Hydration: drink 80-90 ounces of water a day. Drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning can help get the bowels going.
2) Fiber: Getting 25-30 grams of fiber everyday. Vegetables! Not just salad veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Eat fiber powerhouse veggies like artichokes, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Aim for nine servings a day. Whole grains like quinoa, bulgur, and brown rice. Beans, figs, prunes, and almonds.
3) Exercise: Moving the body everyday decreases food travel time through the large intestine and stimulates intestinal muscle contractions.
4) Stress: The colon is sensitive to stress and easily agitated when stress flares up hormones–especially cortisol and corticosteroids. Unmanaged stress can restrict waste movement through the colon and cause increased appetite and weight gain.
5) Friendly Bacteria: You have heard of probiotics? The microorganisms such as bifidobacteria usually consumed as part of fermented foods or yogurt infused with live cultures. These promote optimal digestion to prevent a build-up of toxic waste materials. Friendly bacteria also prevent infection by harmful bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
What should an ideal poo resemble? Medium brown, exiting the body easily with no straining or discomfort with the consistency of toothpaste, and approximately 4 to 8 inches long. Stool should enter the water smoothly with little gas and strong odor. And healthy people poop 7-13 times per week in case you thought it was normal to poop every three days!