Charmin toilet paper commercials tell us we should “enjoy the go.” And quite honestly, they are right! I can tell you from years of prepping for natural bodybuilding shows where diet and exercise are your main focus for most waking hours of the day, nothing feels better than your morning trip to the bathroom! I know most people don’t like to talk about their poop patterns. I happen to love it! But we need to know what to do if “the go” doesn’t go so well.
First of all, let’s review that a healthy colon is essential to a well working digestive system and overall good health. When one part of the process isn’t working correctly, it can disrupt your whole digestive process of breaking down food and removing waste from your body. This waste is made up of what is left after your digestive system absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink. The quality of your bowel movements is a result of how well your digestive tract functions. Sometimes bowel movements aren’t normal. Diarrhea happens when movements pass through the system too quickly. Constipation occurs when they pass through too slowly. Incontinence is a problem controlling your bowel movements. From there, other abnormalities with bowel function may be a sign of an irritable bowel, such as food allergies, diverticulitis, colitis, etc.
I want to share with you 5 tips to better poops, cuz when the going get rough you gotta change a few things!
- Drink more water. We all know that staying hydrated is crucial to good health, and we need that for our poops as well. What does water have to do with bowel movements? If we don’t consume enough water, our bodies pull water from the large intestine to get what it needs for all of our cells. This means it pulls water out of the forming stool, which can lead to harder, more difficult-to-pass movements.
- Normal bowel movements require ample amounts of fibre, approximately 35 grams worth per day. Fibre is the part of plant food that we can’t digest, therefore it makes up the framework for the poops. We can find fibre in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, becoming gel-like, making poop soft. Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water, providing bulk to your poop. Both types of fibre are essential for well-formed, normal bowel movements. Fibre supplements are also an option, but use cautiously. They can become habit forming, where they should only be used as a bowel “encourager.” And, like point #1 states, drink water with added fibre to support the fibre intake.
- Be mindful of irritating foods. How much coffee are you drinking? Does your body seem to react to spicy foods? How do you feel after eating dairy or gluten? Does alcohol seem to trouble your tummy? Every body is different, so be mindful of how yours responds to the foods and drinks you consume. Keeping a food journal for a couple weeks is a great way to track this.
- Get physical! Our bodies were made to move, so get moving. Is your lifestyle an active one, or do you find most of your day is spent sitting? Your colon uses a muscular motion called parastalis, and motion promotes motion. So get out for a walk, run or bike ride. Step away from your chair and do squats, hip circles or lunges. Hit the gym a few days a week. When we move we stimulate bowel function, so get going!
5. Be mindful of your movement. As soon as you feel the urge to go, as slight as that urge might be, head for the loo. Once there, don’t expect things to go super quickly. There’s something to be said about