Updated: Feb 4
Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut. A healthy gut = a healthy immune system. One of the easiest ways to tell how well your digestion is working, is to look at your poop. Color, shape, size and frequency of our bowel movements can offer a wealth of information about the current health of our body. Here’s what you should look for:
Color - If your stool has a brown color to it, it’s healthy! If it’s not brown on a consistent basis, consider what it’s telling you.
Red – Lower GI bleeding or consumption of beets.
Green – Undigested bile, antibiotics usage, Chron’s disease or an over abundance of greens.
Yellow – Gallbladder issues or giardia.
White – Antacid usage, liver disease or pancreatic disorder.
Black – Upper GI bleeding , excess meat consumption or iron supplementation.
Shape and size - The Bristol Stool chart above can offer you guidance on what to look for in your stool. Ideally, your stool should look like Types 3, 4 and to a lesser extent, 5. Type 4 is the desired outcome.
Frequency - Normal transit time from meal to bowel movement is 18 – 24 hours. If it’s less than 12 hours, it’s too short and you likely have a food intolerance or dysbiosis (unhealthy gut flora). If it’s longer than 24 hours, you are most likely constipated. You should have at least 1 – 2 bowel movements per day. Anything less than that means you are constipated and toxins are building up in your body. For constipation, try a magnesium supplement, (I like Biotics MG-zyme), before bedtime to get things moving and make sure to drink plenty of PURE water every day.
Use your eyes and your nose
Food particles - If you see food particles in your stool, then you simply are not digesting that food properly. This can happen with nuts if you don’t thoroughly chew them, but it’s also a sign of low stomach acid and malabsorption. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar with water before or during you meal will help get your gastric juices flowing.
Odor - If you have particularly strong smelling stool, it may be a result of food fermenting in your colon. It could be a sign of malabsorbtion or other serious diseases like Celiac or Chron's. And speaking of odor, passing gas is a natural act. However, pay attention to the odor here as they all indicate something going on in the gut.
Little odor – Carbohydrates are not getting digested.
Strong odor – Proteins are not getting digested.
Very strong odor – Fats and oils are rancidifying in the colon.
How to improve your bowel movements
Not everyone has a perfect bowel movement everyday. Lots of things play into it like stress, hydration and poor food choices. Now that you know what to look for, here are some simple steps to improving your poop:
Drink plenty of water, but don’t over due it. Too much water is attributed to diahhrea and too little to constipation. The right amount is roughly ½ your body weight in ounces.
Take a probiotic if you suspect less than optimal gut flora. I like Prescript Assist. Alternatively, you can snack on probiotic rich fermented foods like sauerkraut or kefir.
Increase the fiber in your diet if you are constipated. Fiber acts like a broom in your colon sweeping out your stool.
Remove gluten if you experience chronic diahhrea. You could have an intolerance to it.
Squat when you poop like our ancient ancestors. A product called the Squatty Potty has been developed just for this. Squatting allows our body a more natural elimination path and has been scientifically shown to relieve constipation and hemorrhoids.
Your goal, on a more consistent basis, is brown, Bristol type 4, frequency of 1-2 times a day, no food particles and no or low odor. The next time you go, you’ll be in the know!!! Happy squatting!
 Sikirov BA. Management of Hemorrhoids: A New Approach, Israel Journal of Medical Sciences, 1987: 23, 284-286