In this 3 part series of Get Healthy, we talk about the foundations to good health: breathing, digestion & sleep. Before you read on, understand that all 3 areas are closely linked and can easily affect one another.

Part 2 – Digestion

The digestive system is complex. We could write pages and pages of detailed information, which would quite frankly bore you to tears. Instead, do a simple assessment of your digestive health and then follow our basic strategies, day in, day out for a number of weeks and see if this makes a difference. For the majority of our clients it works.

Assessing your digestive health

No need for blood tests, saliva or stool samples yet. The first & best place to start is your poop.

How should it look?

Pictures of poo

It should look like type 3 or 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart

How should it smell?

It shouldn’t smell offensive.

Transit time?

Do the beetroot test; Eat 2-3 beetroots and note the time between eating and excreting (red poop). The ideal is 12-24hrs.

Strategies to Improve Digestion

1. Switch on your parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system

If you are in fight or flight mode then your body is not going to prioritise digestion. Take a few minutes before you eat to activate your rest & digest nervous system with some diaphragmatic breathing. See part 1 for breathing technique videos.

2. Chew your food & don’t rush

Are you the person that scoffs food down to crack on with the working day? If so then this strategy is a priority for you.

Digestion starts in the mouth and is very important. Chewing your food properly increases the surface area of your food making it easier to digest later in the process. It is also the first area of carbohydrate digestion.

Allocate 10-15 minutes of time away from work to be mindful of eating.

Chew your food enough so that it is broken down into small pieces. 5-10 chews for soft food and up to 30 chews for denser food.

3. Hydration

Staying hydrated will improve transit time and poop consistency. We recommend 1 litre of water for every 25kg of bodyweight. So for example if your bodyweight is 75kg then aim for 3 litres per day.

4. Fibre

Adequate fibre intake will improve bowel health whilst adding bulk to your stools. We recommend the following fibre targets below:

Women 30-35g per day

Men 40-45g per day

For more information see our post on fibre.

Implement the strategies above for the next 4-6 weeks and monitor your poop. If you see no improvement or change in this time then further investigating may be required.

Any questions about this post please get in contact.