The Scoop On Poop: How Healthy Is Your Gut?
Written by: Sheree Trask
|While most people don’t like to discuss what goes on in the bathroom, it’s important to remember that elimination is natural and healthy and guess what, everybody does it! What we put into our bodies must come out. Our bodies were not designed to hold in waste; doing so can cause big problems and is often the culprit to much more than just an upset tummy, some of which include: changes in mood, irregular sleep patterns and skin problems, just to name a few.
|Eliminate, don’t discriminateAll poop is created equal…or is it?An ideal bowel movement is said to be medium brown, the color of plain cardboard. It should leave the body easily with no straining or discomfort. The consistency should be like that of toothpaste, and be approximately 4 to 8 inches long. Stool should enter the water smoothly and slowly fall once it reaches the water. There should be little gas or odor.
Do you know what your bowel movements are telling you?
Probiotics: Healthy Gut Flora Superhero
How healthy is your gut?
Probiotics are a type of living bacteria that actually benefit your health when taken in the appropriate amounts. This friendly bacteria, located in the gastrointestinal tract, comes in a variety of forms. With more than 400 different bacteria living in the human gastrointestinal tract, the most common forms of intestinal probiotics are L. acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum.
These bacteria act as balancing agents for non-friendly, pathogenic, gut-bacteria such as Candida or E. coli. When there are not enough of the “good-guys” or healthy bacteria, a number of bacteria-related health problems such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, candidiasis (an overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans) and even anxiety can arise.
There are many health benefits to taking a daily probiotic, some of which include:
- Enhanced immune system response
- Help in reducing the negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics (antibiotics not only take out the bad bacteria, but the good too!)
- Increase ability to digest food
- May help to reduce lactose intolerance (“…a 2010 study found that children given a probiotic supplement experienced significant changes in lactose digestion. The probiotics present in fermented foods such as yogurt, as well as those contained in supplements, break down lactose.” – Source: PubMed)
- Reduce incidence of yeast infections, vaginosis and candidiasis
- Increase ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
- Alleviate many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS
- Act as a remedy for bad breath (halitosis)
- Increase ability to synthesize vitamin B
- Prevent or reduce the severity of colds & flu
Leaky Gut / Dysbiosis
Think about this… When your gut is imbalanced, such as with dysbiosis or leaky gut, you literally have holes in your gut lining. Picture it this way:
You have a window screen that is designed to keep bugs out, right? Now imagine holes in your screen. The bugs would be able to fly right in, wouldn’t they? Your gut is the same way. Holes in your “screen,” or lining, allow for “bugs” (toxins, etc.) to seep into your bloodstream and create enormous problems for your overall health, internally and over time, externally as well.
When this happens, your immune system becomes confused and begins attacking itself, thus creating Autoimmunity (literally, the attack of self). Of course, this doesn’t happen in every case, but in every case of Autoimmunity, it’s well researched that leaky gut is present, often undetected.
I personally take probiotics daily and over the years I have noticed a huge difference in my health. Although I have Lupus and Hashimoto’s, I’ve been able to heal my gut to the point where my diseases are in remission and I don’t take any medications at all. I focus on gut healing foods and supplements, daily movement, reducing stress (and dealing with it with grace when it does arise) and a positive mindset.
Aim for at least 10 probiotic strains and at least 10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per capsule. These are best taken on an empty stomach, or with a juice or smoothie. Refrain from taking your probiotic with any other supplements or medications (with the exception of L-glutamine, which is used to help further heal and seal your gut lining).
When taking antibiotics, double your dosage of probiotics while on the medication and for the same duration of the treatment plan afterwards to rebuild your healthy gut flora. Example: a 2-week round of RX would require a double-dose for 28 days (14 during and 14 after). From there, you can go back to your regular dose. This is especially helpful for women, where yeast infections commonly occur after the use of antibiotics.
If you’re interested in a digestive enzyme, which helps your body assimilate, digest and absorb foods (nutrients) it may not be able to do on its own, there are a few that I like, but this one is easily accessible online and works great. I take one with my meal when eating out, just to be safe.
So you see, the health of our gut ultimately determines the health of our entire body. Like I always say… heal the gut, heal the body! You’re so worth the effort!
Certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach; Writer and Editorial Director
It was through her own personal health journey with misdiagnosis and multiple autoimmune diseases that she found her purpose, which is to help educate, empower and encourage others to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Sheree uses a whole-body approach to healing, focusing on food as medicine, positive mindset, daily movement, stress management, optimal sleep and spirituality. She specializes in a holistic approach to healing autoimmune diseases, with a focus on gut health.
Latest posts by sheree trask (see all)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS