Proper bowel health ensures that food is efficiently digested, nutrients and water are efficiently absorbed, and waste is passing through and excreted smoothly.
For some reason, there seems to be a taboo surrounding the topic of bowel health in regular conversation and day-to-day living, but this doesn't make sense because it is a normal part of life. I, myself, have always been passionate about bowel health and that passion only grew as I got older and learned about nutrition and health and experienced some health issues connected to my bowel. Growing up, I would always get really sick once a year, and one year, I apparently became so progressively constipated, I couldn't walk, literally. I was in a wheelchair on the way to the emergency room and after I got released. After that, I started to take better care of my bowel and since I am studying nutrition in undergrad, I learned even more about the importance of proper bowel health.
The bowel is made up of the small intestine, large intestine, and the rectum. The small intestine is the primary site of nutrient absorption in the body. The large intestine absorbs water from indigestible foods and has bacteria that further aids in fermentation of certain foods. The rectum is where all undigested foods and waste stay until it is time for excretion. Promoting bowel health is to ensure that food is efficiently digested, nutrients and water are efficiently absorbed, and waste is passing through and excreted smoothly. There are various factors that affect bowel health including diet, exercise, and intestinal microbiota makeup and diversity. Some specific things you can do are eating both soluble in insoluble fibers daily, drinking adequate amounts of water, (the rule of thumb is that if your pee is yellow, you're not drinking enough water), exercising daily, being sure not to hold poop or gas in, and using the correct pooping position when on the toilet.
Soluble fibers that are digestible and attract water which helps slow digestion. This is good for when you might be experiencing diarrhea. Some places you can get soluble fibers from include:
Insoluble fiber is not digestible so it adds bulk to the stool (poop) and allows for the quick passing of food through the digestive tract. This is especially good if you are struggling with constipation. You can get insoluble fiber from sources including:
- Whole grains
- Fruit skins
Holding in your poop or gas is not good for you. Aside from the extreme stomach discomfort, they're actually some serious side effects including the hardening of your stool. Holding in your poop when you're supposed to release it can convince your brain and body that you no longer have to poop when that's not the case. It can also lead to poop getting so hard that when you actually go to release it you will be constipated. If you do this enough times, you might eventually need laxatives in order to pass your stool or you might need to get your surgically removed from you. Holding in your stool can make your stomach distended and bloated. To help prevent this, poop when your brain tells your body to because it is a normal part of life and use the correct pooping position. When you were seated on the toilet, you want to have your back slightly bent at about 45° but kept straight and you want to have your feet elevated off the ground. There are several places you can get something to use and elevate your feet when using the toilet.
You can always find something that is about seven inches high and wide enough for you to rest your feet on when using the toilet. I have a bucket that I just lay on one of its side instead of paying money for a poop stool.
There are many benefits to keeping your bowel healthy and having good habits when it comes to bowel health. You can have better energy throughout the day, help reduce bloating and keep your stomach small, and limit restrictions on what you can eat allowing you to enjoy all the delicacies life has to offer. Put your health first above any other thing or opinion because it is one of the few things in your control in this world and you can live a full life when you are healthy. Promote talking about ways to keep your bowel healthy. I hope this article was helpful and encouraging! Stay healthy, live happily!