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How Your Poop Says Much About Your Digestive Health

How Your Poop Says Much About Your Digestive Health

As Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut”, and there is so much truth in that as evidenced in very concrete studies being carried out. Our gastrointestinal system is said to be like a second brain to our bodies because of the 100 million nerve endings that line our gastrointestinal tracts. According to Dr. Douglas Lord, any problems that arise in our gastrointestinal system might impact a great deal of many things such as our moods, memory, and even our immune system.

One way to find out whether our gastrointestinal system is functioning optimally is by simply looking at the color of our poop. Different colors can indicate whether our intestines and the overall digestive system is healthy. However, color itself is not the only indicator of digestive health, even the frequency, shape and odor of your poop are important things to look out for when determining whether your gut is healthy. Below, are the different colors and what they actually mean.

Poop Color:

1. Black stool

According to Mayo Clinic, if your stool is black in color, it could mean that there is a bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, most probably in the stomach area. Possible dietary causes might be due to iron supplements, black licorice or even bismuth subsalicylate, an anti-diarrhea medicine known to cause black stools.

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2. Green stool

Green stool is an indication that your food might be passing through your intestines too quickly and that the bile does not have enough time to be broken down. Possible causes of this could be too much leafy vegetables or ingesting too much green coloring.

3. Light or white colored stool

If your stool is white in color, it could mean that there is not enough bile produced in your stool and it might indicate that there is a blockage in your bile duct. This might be caused by anti-diarrhea medicine or other medications.

4. Yellow or greasy stool

Yellow and greasy stool and sometimes even foul-smelling can be indicators that there is too much fat in your diet. Or it could also mean that there is a malabsorption disorder which is caused by lactose intolerance, intestinal damage or even celiac disease – which means your body is hypersensitive to gluten, hence resulting in a difficulty to digest food.

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5. RED STOOL

If your stool is red, do not panic. It could simply mean simple issues such as hemorrhoids (enlarged veins near the rectal area bursting) or anal fissures which are caused by the tear of the anal canal linings. These issues can be easily solved through over-the-counter medications. But just to make sure, it is best to check with your physician.

Poop Shape:

bristolstoolchart

    Another great way to find out whether your digestive health is optimal is through understanding the Bristol Stool Chart.

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    Problems such as constipation can be looked out for if you come across stool shapes in the form of Type 1 and Type 2 where the stool is lumpy and hard or sausage like respectively. To deal with constipation, you might want to engage in exercise regularly, ensure that you’re drinking enough fluids and also making sure that you’re ingesting enough vegetables, fruits and fiber.

    Your digestive health is normal if the shape and texture of your stool are like Type 3 and 4.

    For Type 5, this would be an ideal shape for people who has a bowel movement 2-3 times daily, especially after major meals.

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    For Type 6 when the stool is of mushy consistency, it is considered a borderline normal situation as such kinds of stool could be an indicator of a hyperactive colon or the body is in a stressed state, hence releasing more water and increasing blood pressure. Too much spices in your diet and possibly consuming too much water with high mineral content can cause your stool to be shaped as such.

    Lastly, Type 7 is of course, diarrhea. Constipation in the large intestine can cause the liquid contents from the small intestine to go nowhere else but down to the rectum while only a small amount of water is absorbed. Hence, people who experience diarrhea might also experience dehydration.

    Poop Odor

    Poop odor can also tell a lot about your intestinal health. You should know that stinky poop odors are normal and that you’ll hardly get poop that doesn’t smell. But having unbearably smelly stool frequently could mean an underlying problem with your intestinal health and stool usually come runny and soft. Causes of such stool could be malabsorption, an infection in the intestines, or even allergies. If your stool is always foul-smelling, it’s best to get it checked with a physician.

    Poop Frequency

    According to Doctor Mercola, having bowel movements 3 times a day or 3 times per week is considered normal. Constipation occurs if there is no bowel movement for 3 straight days, of which Doctor Mercola has instructed people who suffer from constipation to get into the squat position which can help. And of course, more than 3 times a day would be considered as diarrhea.

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

    Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

    Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

    If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

    When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

    In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

    1. Salmon

    Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

    It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

    Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

    Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

    Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

    Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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    2. Blueberries

    Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

    Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

    Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

    Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

    Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

    3. Turmeric

    Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

    Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

    Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

    Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

    Curcumin has also been shown to:

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    • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
    • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
    • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
    • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

    4. Coffee

    Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

    Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

    Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

    Coffee can also:

    • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
    • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
    • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
    • Improve your memory.
    • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

    5. Broccoli

    What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

    Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

    Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

    Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

    Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

    6. Bone broth

    Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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    Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

    Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

    Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

    Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

    With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

    Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

    7. Walnuts

    Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

    Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

    Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

    Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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    8. Eggs

    For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

    Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

    Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

    9. Dark chocolate

    You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

    Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

    Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

    Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

    Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

    Conclusion

    Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

    In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

    If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
    [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
    [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
    [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
    [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
    [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
    [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
    [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
    [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
    [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
    [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
    [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
    [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
    [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
    [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
    [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
    [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
    [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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