Okay guys, you might not want to be reading this over your breakfast but poop is serious business!
I want to talk to you about your digestion. Many people suffer from digestive issues such as bloating, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, stomach cramps etc., and perhaps take medication to manage them. The problem is that these are usually just symptoms of an underlying cause and it’s quite likely that medication is not tackling that cause – which means, without any significant changes you will likely experience the symptoms for the rest of your life. This is a shame as such symptoms are usually due to something going on in the body that can, with a bit of time and effort, be identified and treated, resulting in either complete elimination of the symptoms or at the very least, significant improvement.
Bowel Transit Time
The ‘Bowel Transit Time’ refers to the length of time that it takes your body to process your food before excretion, having passed through the digestive system.
The ideal transit time is somewhere between 12 – 24 hours. The variation can be down to factors such as the food consumed, level of hydration, exercise and medication to name a few. Anything less than this means that you are processing the food too quickly and no matter how well you eat, you may actually be malnourished as your body is not actually absorbing the nutrients, especially so if your stools tend to be on the loose side. Nutritional deficiencies often show up in the form of anaemia, muscle cramps and osteoporosis.
If the digestive process is regularly taking long than 48 hours (though some doctors say 72 hours), the food is sitting for too long in the colon, allowing toxins to build up and putrefaction to occur and do damage. Possible consequences include candida, diverticulosis and cancer.
The Poop Test
Of course there are plenty of laboratory tests that a doctor can run to check your health status but there’s a simple way to test your Bowel Transit Time at home!
Eat a reasonably large quantity of sweetcorn, sunflower seeds or beetroot and literally check your poop until you see them pass through. The sweetcorn and sunflower seeds (as long as you don’t grind them up), will pass through reasonably whole, whereas the beetroot will turn your poop an interesting shade of pink apparently. Personally I have only tested with the sweetcorn and sunflower seeds. Don’t be scared, you don’t need to go fishing, just a quick visual check will!
If you have seeds on your breakfast every day as I do, you will need to have a break for a few days to do the test as you won’t know which day’s seeds you are passing!
So the upshot is, even if you have regular, easy bowel movements, food may not be passing through at the optimum time, so give this home test a try.
Should you find that your bowel transit time is too fast or too slow you should consider speaking to your doctor or feel free to get in touch with me. After a full consultation, I would likely suggest eliminating a range of foods from your diet that are likely triggers as well as introducing foods which naturally promote healthy digestion along with digestive enzymes and probiotics.
In addition, these simple actions can also assist the digestion process:
– Properly chewing food until it is soft and mushy before swallowing
– Smaller and more frequent meals so as not to overload the body in one go
– Taking a walk after a meal
– Not eating too close to bedtime
– Eating in a calm environment as opposed to ‘on the go’
So there you have it, the scoop on poop! Now go and conduct your own test!
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.