Fact: it’s hard to enjoy life when your digestive system is in distress. For this reason, and for your overall health, it is important to ensure your stools are healthy and regular. Comfortable bowel movements can be achieved by watching what you eat and drink, as what comes out reflects what goes in.
Ideally, your poop should be smooth, solid – but not too heavy – and easy to pass. Hard, dry and infrequent bowel movements are signs of constipation, while diarrhea or stools that are light-colored and runny can signal that your body is disagreeing with something you are eating, unless there is an underlying health problem.
To help regulate your digestion, it is important to include an adequate amount of fiber in your daily diet. The USDA recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women, and 38 grams for men.
The secret to healthy poop is to eat whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables and a balanced amount of fats, which help glide things along.
Raw, Organic Fruits and Veggies: While a variety of fruits and vegetables are great for fiber intake and digestive health, it is even more beneficial to eat them raw, and with the skins intact when possible, such as on apples, peaches and pears. Green veggies are especially conducive to healthy poops.
In a study performed by the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, vegetables in the broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprout family were linked to a lower risk of colon cancer in the upper part of the large intestine, while dark yellow vegetables such as pumpkin and carrot were found to reduce colon cancer risk in the right-hand section of the bowel. Stick to organic fruits and vegetables to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
Beans: Beans pack as much as twice the amount of fiber that most vegetables have. Including a few servings of beans each week will keep your gastrointestinal system working at full speed and ward off constipation. Just a half a cup of navy beans provides almost 10 grams for fiber, the same for kidney beans.
Although lima, black and pinto have a little less, they still add 6 grams of fiber per half-cup. Beans are easy to add to any meal and mix well with salad, soups and pasta. Buy organic dry beans and soak them overnight to get the most nutrient value.
Avocados and Olive Oil: Including healthy fats in your diet can help keep you regular, and reduce constipation. Avocados and olive oil are two of the best sources, along with nuts, fish oils and flax seeds. There are 86 mcg of beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, in one avocado.
Vitamin A is a key to keeping the epithelial cells that line your digestive tract in good health. These cells protect your intestines from damage and bacterial infections. An additional bonus to avocados: just one contains 9.2 grams of fiber.
When increasing your fiber intake, do it gradually to avoid upsetting your stomach. Also, remember to drink plenty of water – at least 8 cups per day – to keep things moving properly. You will be well on your way to healthier and happier bathroom visits in no time!
-The Alternative Daily