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Do you struggle with keeping regular? And I mean without the help of coffee? Well you’re not alone!
Many Aussie’s suffer from bloating, pain and that “meh” feeling due to irregular bowels & constipation!
If you suffer from irregular bowels and want to get your bowel motions back on track naturally, without using laxatives and medications, you can try the following healthy food & lifestyle changes.
But first, what is a healthy poop?
How To Keep Regular: A Healthy Stool
According to the Bristol Stool Chart, a ideal stools fall within the Type 3-4 category, whereby Type 1-2 indicates constipation.
So now that you know what your stool should be like, lets look 3 simple food & lifestyle changes that will help get your bowels back into regular action!
How To Keep Regular: 3 Healthy Changes
1. Eat More Fibre
There are 3 types of fibres found in plant foods:
1) Insoluble Fibre – this fibre helps soften your stools by absorbing water & forms a bulk in your digestive system, resulting in easy-to-pass, regular bowel movements. This type of fibre is found in the bran of grains and the skin of fruit & vegetables.
2) Soluble Fibre – this fibre helps control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as helping you feel fuller. It’s found in fruit, veg and grains like oats, legumes and seeds.
3) Fermentable Fibre / Resistance Starch – this fibre feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps produce compounds that are beneficial for protecting your digestive system. They are found in legumes, onion, cooked potatoes & rice.
The recommended dietary intake of fibre for adults is 25-30grams.
To get a good balance of fibre & achieve the 25-30g recommendation of fibre, you need to be eating a variety of plant foods like veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds & legumes. But remember, insoluble fibre is the most beneficial for promoting regularity as it helps food move quickly and easily through your digestive system. Research shows that the insoluble fibre from grains is the most important for regularity. These include:
- Bran – wheat, rice, oat
- High fibre breakfast cereals, especially those with bran
- Bread made with wheat or rye
- Wild, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, mullet and amaranth (FYI, these are gluten-free)
Try these healthy strategies to ensure you get enough fibre to promote regular bowel motions:
- Swap white bread for whole grain bread
- Include a grains like quinoa or wild rice at dinner – click here for a portion guide
- Sprinkle some bran flakes into your smoothies or onto your cereal or yoghurt
- Swap your fruit & veggie juice for a smoothie so it contains more of the fibre
- Don’t avoid oats and healthy whole grain cereals
- Have 2 pieces of fruit & 5 servings of vegetables each day and leave the skin on where possible i.e. don’t peel it
- Do meat free mondays and swap your steak for legumes, beans or falafels
- Make healthy snacks using oats and bran – click here for some recipes
2. Drink More Water
Water is essential for regular bowel movements & keeping your poop health. Water is absorbed by the insoluble fibre & helps softens the contents of your bowels, promoting regular and easy to pass poops. You should for a minimum of 2 litres per day. Click here
for 3 easy tips to increase your water intake.
Cardiovascular exercise helps strengthens your abdominal muscles & stimulates the intestinal muscles to move contents through your digestive system. So get your body moving up get your bowels moving!
Note – there are other factors that can impact your bowel movements including stress, food intolerances, allergies, IBS and the bacteria in your gut. Consult your GP or Dietitian for further advice.