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It's something you do every morning (hopefully). You might not take much notice of your poop before you flush. But it's more than just the waste from yesterday's food. Your poop is an indicator of your overall health. What your poop looks like can tell you a lot about what's going on in your body. A properly formed poop means good health. An improper poop can provide an important warning sign of illness.
Poop is the measure of your digestive health and therefore measures how well your body is able to nourish itself. Your poop is 75% water. The rest is dead and live gut bacteria, protein, food waste, cells, fat, salt, stuff from the intestines and liver, any food that the body couldn't digest. The job of the intestines is not only to absorb the good stuff, but to keep out the bad stuff. Even your immunity is connected to your poop.So let's discover what makes a perfect poop. First there's the shape. Ideally your poop is roughly the size and shape of a banana. The amount of water and fiber you eat contributes to this. Fiber and water bulk up poop and hold it together so it doesn't break into pieces.
Its consistency should be soft, like dough. A five star poop is easy to pass without straining. Its surface will be smooth but not slimy. It may have slight cracks on the surfaces, but deep cracks indicate dryness. It passes out of your anus clean without residue on your derriere or the sides of the toilet. It may have an earthy smell, but won't emit an offensive odor requiring the use of a bathroom fan. It will float like a log on the surface of the water. Ideally, this outstanding poop will have the color of cinnamon brown, due to the presence of bilirubin. A grade 'A' poop like this leaves you feeling clear and satisfied.
Anything less than grade 'A' pooping is a sign of imbalance. Loose, muddy, or watery stools that have no form indicate digestive problems. Voluminous amounts of poop can feel satisfying in the moment, but are likely depriving you of nutrients in the long run. Stools that are small, dry or hard can be difficult to pass without straining. These stools will have deep cracks, break apart, or look like pebbles. While it is natural to pass some gas when eliminating your bowels, excessive gas is a sign of imbalance. Smelly stools indicate the stool is rotting in your intestinal tract. Stools that are yellow, light brown indicate bile insufficiency. Similary, stools should not be green, or very dark brown. Each of these improper poops has a story to tell and you would do yourself a lot of good to listen.
If you're wondering why you're feeling sluggish, congested, depressed or overweight - your poop could hold the answer. It could also tell you why you're tense, ungrounded, spacey, emaciated and weak. Poop may offer insights into why you get headaches, cramping, bloating, gas or burning sensations in the intestines or anus. Look for the wisdom in your poop!
So before you hastily flush and head out the door, take a moment to commune with your bowel movement. It likely holds the key to your health.
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BROWSE SIMILAR ARTICLES BY TOPIC
CLEARClear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
CONSTIPATIVEAn herb that binds stools / stops diarrhea. When used in excess, these herbs and foods can cause constipation.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives.
HIGH-FIBER-LAXATIVEA class of laxative that adds bulk and water to stools. The large size of the stool stimulates peristalsis so the stool can pass more easily through the colon. It is important to drink plenty of water when using high fiber laxatives, as they can be dehydr
STIMULANT-LAXATIVEStimulant laxatives induce bowel movements by stimulating peristaltic movement (the contraction of smooth muscle in the intestines). They are effective when used on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they can create dependency. Aka irritant laxativ
STOOL-SOFTENERSoftens hard and difficult to eliminate stool. Stool softeners are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Examples include warm milk with ghee.
DOWNWARDDownward-moving (Adho Gati Marga) substances move food downward in the GI tract, settle the nervous system, and relax muscles.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.