Let’s start here. We’ve put together some top tips to help you look after your bowel so that the restroom really is a restroom.
Why is it important?
First, we must help you understand why healthy bowels are so important. The consequences of failing to look after your inside squiggly bits can mean constipation, inflammation, and even bowel incontinence (the inability to control when you poop).
A healthy colon helps you avoid these uncomfortable (and sometimes serious) issues. Plus, the things that make your bowel happy – such as fruit and veg, water, and no smoking – also make your heart, skin, liver, and brain happy. It’s a win-win… win-win-win.
Looking after your bowels doesn’t have to be complicated, either. A few simple lifestyle changes and a different mindset will do the world of good.
Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day
We already know how important it is to drink plenty of water each day – we’re told often enough!
Good hydration levels keep everything moving swiftly in the digestion department. Simply put, drinking the recommended six to eight glasses of water throughout each day enhances the functioning of the colon, keeps it clean, and improves regularity.
Bonus tip: Purchase a reusable water bottle so that you can keep hydrated while on the go and help the environment at the same time.
Eat lots of high-fibre foods
Become a subscriber to the life of fibre. Introduce more high-fibre food into your daily meals and snacks, and benefit from not only a lower risk of bowel cancer, but also heart disease, strokes, and type two diabetes.
Additionally, a diet that’s rich in fibre helps digestion and prevents constipation, so your number twos come and go as they should.
Bonus tip: Try to get as much fibre as possible into your first meal of the day as it’ll keep you fuller for longer, as well as gift the body with slow burning energy to see you through the day. Look for cereal, yoghurt, and granola bars with a high fibre count.
When nature calls, don’t delay
As soon as you feel the urge to ‘drop the kids off at the pool’, you should do exactly that. Well, maybe find somewhere appropriate first. Frequently holding it in can cause an array of problems, including constipation and inflammation.
Do this often enough and you could lose the urge completely, which may lead to faecal incontinence (involuntary soiling). If you think pooping in a public toilet is embarrassing, well… You know where we’re going with this.
Bonus tip: If you’re somebody who struggles with the idea of having a number two in public, carry around an ‘emergency poo kit’. It could include pre-poo toilet spray to mask the smell, your favourite toilet paper, and a bottle of hand sanitiser.
If you’re a smoker, this is just another reason to quit! We’re not here to lecture you, but there really is no denying the insurmountable evidence stacked up against just how harmful tobacco is for the body.
In terms of gut health specifically, researchers have understood people who smoke have an increased chance of Chrohn’s disease because of the tobacco’s inflammatory effect on the bowel. Smoking negatively impacts the entire body, so of course this would extend to the digestive system.
Bonus tip: Prefer your turkey hot? Don’t abruptly stop the habit if you don’t think this will work for you long term; there’s nothing wrong with leaning on nicotine replacement therapy! Speak to a healthcare provider about the patches, gum, or sprays available to you.
Don’t disavow the bowel
You might not have given much thought to just how important your bowel is, or maybe you just avoid the topic completely because it makes you feel uncomfortable.
The time to stop that is…now! We must look after every single part of our body, including (in some cases, especially) the bowel. Yes, it may feel a little uncomfortable researching and discussing poop, but do you know what’s even more uncomfortable? Constipation and bowel inflammation.
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