6 Gross Things Your Body Does That Mean You’ve Got a Healthy Gut

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Oops! You just passed gas and, well, it’s embarrassing. Another oops! You’ve suddenly grown a bloated stomach right after a high-fiber meal and for some odd reason, you feel like you need to let your belt out a notch. If you’re worried about these conditions from time to time, don’t be, Bustle says (although if things like this happen excessively, it’s a different story).

There are several bodily processes that can both embarrass and worry us, if we don’t understand what’s normal and what’s not. For example, while pooping once a day is the “norm” we hear about, it’s perfectly OK and normal to go more than once a day. And that bloat? It’s a normal side effect after eating a high-fiber meal, and will go away as your digestive system does its job.

Aside from passing gas, probably the most “gross” or uncomfortable topic to talk about — that most people try to avoid — is the condition of your poop and what’s normal and what’s not. If you can get beyond the gross factor, however, you’ll soon realize that knowing the signs of healthy and unhealthy poop (or stool, if you prefer a more clinical term) is important.

This is because the appearance and frequency of your stool give you lots of clues about how your gastrointestinal tract is functioning. They even can signal serious disease processes that could be occurring, if you know what to look for. To that end (no pun intended) the size, shape and color of your bowel movements are features that can tell you lots about your gut health.

Put plainly, the "perfect" stool should be shaped like a torpedo. It should be smooth, soft and easy to pass, as opposed to small and hard (pellet-like) or overly loose.

Frequency of defecation is another indicator: Studies show that anything from three times a week to three days a week is now considered normal. A healthy stool will also be medium to light brown, soft and smooth and about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long.

On the flip side, if your stool is regularly hard to pass, hard and lumpy — or consistently watery — or narrow, or black and tarry, you may need to speak with your physician to find out whether you have a health concern that needs addressing. If nothing else, it’s important to remember to eat a balanced, unprocessed, whole foods diet with plenty of fiber, which is crucial to passing healthy stools.

Another factor that can help you pass more normal stools is to address your sitting position while you’re on the toilet. There’s a good chance you don’t put much thought into the best position in which to poop, but studies — and nature — show that the best position for elimination is not the one that the traditional American toilet puts you in. Actually, squatting rather than sitting not only is the most natural position, but may even help protect you from certain diseases.

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