Quite often in clinic I spend time asking and talking about my patient’s poo! Many people squirm in their seats and apologise about this conversation, but this is so important! It says a lot about the person’s digestion and health. If you find that you never look in the toilet, it’s probably time you started having a second glance. The stool is made up of water (75%), bacteria, fibre, dead tissues and other waste material and the way it looks can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your body.
The stool can shed light on a person’s intestinal health, electrolyte and hydration status, fibre intake, overall dietary intake, bacterial health, iron status, liver health and bile production, how well a person is digesting their food and it can also highlight simple things like poor chewing and stress. This is a subject that never phases me, is very normal and we all do it.
In rural areas in Africa the average person’s stool motion per day was 2 cups versus a standard American’s at 1/2 cup per day! Plus the stool transit time for the westerner was more than double.
The larger and fatter the stool the better! The easier it is the pass the better! The stool must not be too soft or too hard, too light or too dark, it should have a medium brown colour. It is ideal to empty your bowels daily and even twice daily with the sensation of feeling completely empty effortlessly.
Did you know that there is a relationship between slow bowels with lack of complete emptying and depression? Surprising? But we make so much of our serotonin in our digestive systems and an unhealthy gut creates an environment for an unhealthy mood.
What your poo says about your digestion and health!
Other helpful tips for a great poo!
When sitting on the toilet remember to relax, breathe deeply to allow the bowel to relax, and never push! Also remember not to sweat the small stuff too much as anxiety and stress play such a role in poor digestion and poor bowel habits.
If pain and digestive discomfort or IBS symptoms persists try our helpful tips and guidelines.
Liver and bile production can be improved by including lemon or apple cider vinegar in warm water sipped slowly before meals. This will improve your digestive acids and enzyme production due to the acetic acid and citric acid content. Include bitter foods to stimulate healthy bile production such as endive, radicchio, chicory (witlof), bitter melons, limes, beetroot leaves, collard greens, watercress, rocket (arugula), dandelion leaves and olives.
If you suspect you may have food intolerances a reboot can help to identify any possible allergens. Here is more on the Reboot as an Elimination diet.
If you are worried or have any concerns about your bowels or health it is always best and highly recommended to have a check-up with your doctor.
Claire Georgiou is an Australian Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist who has completed a Bachelor of Health Science (C.Med) and an Advanced Diploma of Nutrition, Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine. With over 13 years of clinical experience working in Sydney and London specializing in liver disease, autoimmune disease, thyroid conditions, diabetes, insulin resistance, digestive disorders, chronic infections, children’s health, fertility and pregnancy care, Claire uses nutritional dietary guidance, juices, superfoods, herbal medicine, supplements and lifestyle advice to support her clients' health goals. Claire has worked for and closely with Dr. Sandra Cabot, who is known as the Liver Cleansing Doctor and who has written over 25 health related books, for more than seven years. Claire has also previously worked with other health and vitamin support companies that offer people in remote areas with health, lifestyle and dietary advice. Claire started working for Joe Cross three years ago after the release of his first movie Fat, Sick &Nearly Dead supporting Rebooters who are partaking in juice cleanses. She writes health related articles, creates healthy recipes, juices and smoothies and is one of the nutritionists who runs the Guided Reboot programs.
More posts from Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND