It’s certainly not a glamorous topic, but what comes out of you can tell a lot about your internal health and even the posture that you use to “poop” can make a difference in how well you eliminate.
Intestinal health is a complex subject and many factors can affect how well or how often you use the restroom, but how it goes when you go can make a difference in your overall bowel health.
This is a subject that Mark Sisson has addressed a couple times, talking both about poop posture and texture/consistency. For the most part, a consistant real food diet and adequate sleep (to balance hormones) will keep things moving, but there are some factors you can optimize, especially if you suffer from constipation or digestive disorders.
I’ll attempt to make some suggestions in a classy way and keep the bathroom humor to a minimum!
If you didn’t think I was crazy already, this might change your mind…. from what I’ve read (and experienced) the position you are in while you are using the bathroom can make a big difference in the time it takes and how thoroughly you eliminate. My husband and I met on a cross-country walk and sometimes while walking through the desert there simply were not restrooms for many miles. In these cases we could either hold it for 8+ hours (not healthy!) or figure out how to do our business outside…
After I got past the ewww factor, I found that having to squat down outside actually made one much more efficient… Blatant TMI? Thought so… moving along…
Fast forward a few years and I’ve got potty training kids, so I discovered that there is actually a tool for helping improve bathroom posture that doubles as a potty training aid.
Ready for this… the Squatty Potty (not making this up) is a stool that slides alongside the toilet so it can be used even in small bathrooms. It’s durable bamboo and makes an excellent stool and potty training aid for kids. Adults can rest their feet on it while using the restroom to help make colon emptying more effective.
You can also accomplish this by simply squatting on the actual toilet seat (great for public restrooms!) though this takes a little more practice and balance!
Mark Sisson explains more of why this is helpful.
Obviously, diet can make a big difference in your poop, but it might be in ways you wouldn’t expect. Fat and protein often get blamed for constipation while processed foods and grains can actually be the culprit. Turns out the evidence supporting fiber’s role in colon health was shaky to begin with and has been debunked. Eating a lot of whole grains and taking fiber supplements doesn’t actually reduce the risk of colorectal cancer or other diseases.
What does lubricate the bowls and help with constipation? Healthy fats! Though it can take a few weeks to adjust to a higher fat diet, it will lead to more regularity in the long run. From Mark’s Daily Apple:
Aim for 6-12 servings of veggies and 1-2 servings of fruit. There is no good reason to overdo fiber. Excessive fiber intake can increase appetite and interfere with healthy digestion, mineral absorption, and elimination. Interestingly, what many folks don’t realize is that increasing fat intake can help with constipation and regular bowels. Try eating more olive oil, fish, avocados, nuts, and flax seeds.
The ideal diet for healthy poop? Whole foods like meats, lots of vegetables and healthy fats with minimal processed, canned and boxed foods. Also, lots of water and probiotic and Omega-3 supplements.
Stress and sleep can be major factors in how efficiently your bowels are working. A missed or shortened night sleep can not only give you the blood sugar levels of a Type II diabetic, they can alter hormone levels and slow down digestion.
A regular sleep schedule and working to reduce stress levels can help.
Your gut bacteria can also have a tremendous impact on bowel health and elimination and many people need to improve in this area. A quality probiotic can help, as can eating fermented foods and lots of beneficial fats.
Tips to Improve Intestinal Health
- Try squatting to poop or use something like the Squatty Potty to help. Surprisingly, this can make a big difference for some people.
- Drink enough water! This is the most simple and most often missed step to good elimination. Actual amount will vary by person but drink enough water that your urine is lightly colored and doesn’t have a strong smell.
- Eat enough healthy fats, especially from quality meats, coconut oil, and foods like olive oil, avocados and grassfed butter.
- Boost gut bacteria with probiotics, fermented foods, apple cider vinegar or kombucha.
- Get enough sleep!
- Herbs can help. My digestion tincture can help with short term digestive issues.
How is your intestinal health? Did you notice any changes when you started eating healthier? Share below!