The subject of poop might not be a pleasant one, but the fact of the matter is if you don’t have regular bowel movements, your body will eventually begin to reabsorb the waste – which includes things like pesticides, drugs, chemicals, plastic, heavy metals and excess oestrogen!
If you suffer from constipation, by gradually increasing sources of soluble fibre in your diet you can help soften your stools, making them easier to pass. Eating enough fibre will also help to improve your digestive health by providing fuel for the good bacteria in the large intestine as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Dietary fibre or ‘roughage’ is a form of carbohydrate known as non-glycaemic because its sugar units are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fibre passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
There are two different types of fibre– soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre (lentils, peas and beans – including peanuts – as well as oats, barley, fruits, vegetables and potatoes) dissolve in the water in your digestive system and help with both diarrhoea and constipation whilst insoluble fibre (found in foods such as wheat, corn, wholemeal bread, brown rice, bran, whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, vegetables and peels of fruits) is best for constipation only.
In general, to keep your bowels healthy, you should try to include as many plant foods in your diet as possible, drink plenty of water and eat plenty of healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, walnuts, almond and pumpkin seeds, wild salmon).