Whether you’re backed up or having a case of the runs, the foods we put on our plate play a major role in healing our digestive health. Here are 5 tips to get things back to normal in no time – and how to keep it that way.
Take a look below at a few of the common poo problems that could be making your day a bit, well, crappy.
- Having to go to the toilet too often (more than 3 times a day) or not often enough (3 times a week or less)
- Excessive straining
- Poo that is black, red, yellow or green in colour
- Greasy, loose stools
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Cramping and bloating
How to fix it.
One of the best ways to address poo problems is to address the root: gut health. If you’re struggling with constipation, diarrhea, bloating or trapped gas, it could be a sign of trouble in your gut. We all have our own gut microbiome made up of a 100 trillion bacteria – both good and bad. When the balance tips towards bad bacteria, we end up with a host of issues, with colon and digestive issues at the top of the list.
Research shows the connection between what we put on our plates and how often we pick up infections, with one study revealing the vital role the gut microbiome plays in regulating the immune response to pathogens.
A simple way to tip the balance back in your favour is by loading up on good bacteria which help heal the gut and improve our digestion – these are known as probiotics. Fermented foods make for an exceptional source of these probiotics, not to mention to vitamins and minerals they have in spades. Take a look at some of the nutritious options you can stock up on:
- Yoghurt and kefir
- Sauerkraut and kimchi
- Tempeh and natto
Yoga is a low-impact activity you can do anywhere – even at home on your own. If you’re struggling with constipation, trapped wind or pains related to being blocked up, there are a few easy yoga poses that will offer some relief.
- The “Half Spinal Twist” pose: To do this pose, sit down and extend your legs out in front of you. Then, bend your right leg and put that foot down on the outer side of your left leg. Bend the left leg and sit on it and then move your left hand on your right knee, twisting so that you’re looking over your right shoulder. Now simply hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths and repeat the process on the other side.
- The “Legs up the Wall” pose: For this one, you’ll need to be by a wall, with your back on the ground. Then, slowly walk your legs up the wall so that they’re fully extended. Hold it as long as it feels comfortable.
- The Wind-Relieving” pose: For this exercise, lie down on your back and extend one leg, while pulling the other up to your chest. Hold it there with your hands for 10 to 20 breaths. Then swap legs and repeat – you can even try pulling both knees up to your chest.
- The “Bow” pose: Lie on your stomach and bend your knees, then reach backward to hold your ankles. Now move your chest away from the floor slowly and lift your thighs off of the floor. Hold this for a few breaths.
Eat more fibre.
Fibre, fibre, fibre – you might be sick of hearing about the importance of this stuff, but there’s a reason this suggestion tops most constipation treatment lists. It’s a natural stool softener that adds bulk to your poo, making for an easier bathroom trip. But it’s not just good for when you’re blocked up, it helps with all manner of digestive issues, including bloating and cramping. This is because it helps strengthen your gut health and improves the digestive process. Try these foods:
- Whole fruit and veggies
- Whole grains and legumes
- Flax seeds and chia seeds
- Psyllium husk
Drink more water.
Dehydration is one of the major causes of digestive and colon issues, so if you haven’t been keeping your fluids up, this could be the culprit. If you’re struggling with constipation, which affects 24% of Aussies, drinking water will reduce the liquid sapped from your colon, making for easier-to-pass poos. Also consider drinking warm water, with studies finding it helps break down food better and reduce the chances of constipation. Water also plays an important role in helping your kidneys do their job of flushing out toxins.
Tip: For a digestive boost, add a squeeze of lemon to your water.
Nix the sugar.
Sugar can do a number on your gut health, by altering the gut microbiome. Research shows it lowers microbial diversity and raises our risks for infection and inflammation, for instance, Proteobacteria is a type of bacteria that has been found in excessive levels in those with high-sugar diets, and too much of this bacterium is an indicator of a dysregulated microbiome – also known as dysbiosis. The result? Increased risk for metabolic conditions, autoimmune diseases and a host of poo problems.
The average Aussie is consuming 15 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which is more than double the limit for women. It’s easy to max out on this ubiquitous substance, considering you can find it in anything from yoghurt to muesli bars and cereal. Be sure to check your product labels and replace added sugars with high-fibre foods and healthy fats. Studies have also shown that these fats can reduce inflammation, which in turn improves our gut health and reduces the risk for autoimmune gut conditions which wreak havoc on our bowels. Healthy fats also keep us fuller for longer and have been found to decrease appetite and curb sugar cravings – meaning we won’t end up snacking on unhealthy foods, which then throw our microbiome out of whack.
Need a hand quitting your sugar habit? We have just the solution. We're hosting the 8-Week Program where we’ll be ditching sugar and learning some easy tips and tricks to keep cravings at bay.
When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
If you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it – JOIN NOW!