While you may not jump to talk about the goings on of your digestive tract, it sure can come in handy to know the
signs of a healthy gut, including all the "gross" things that mean it's working properly. And that's because, when it comes to your overall health, gut really is everything.
"Having a healthy gut is extremely important for a myriad of reasons, including
reducing inflammation in the body, which can otherwise be associated with a number of ... diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and more," Kara Landau, a NYC-based registered dietitian and founder at Uplift Food, tells Bustle. "A healthy gut lining also leads to enhanced nutrient absorption from the foods that you eat, leading to proper hormone production and overall wellbeing."
A healthy gut can also
mean a healthier mind. "With 90 percent of your mood calming serotonin found within your gut, it has been shown that a healthy gut can support a good mood, both via its anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its stimulation of serotonin release," Landau says. So really, the healthier your gut, the healthier you'll feel.
With all of that said, here are a few "gross" things your body might do if you have
good gut health, according to experts.
Going To The Bathroom More Than Once A Day
There's nothing wrong with pooping more than once a day, if that's what your body needs to do naturally. "It’s a good thing to have movement in the gut rather than constipation so that toxins are effectively eliminated,"
Deanna Minich, MS, PhD, FACN, CNS, IFMCP, tells Bustle.
Of course, how much you poop will vary each day, since it's affected by what you eat, how much you exercise, and even things like
your stress levels. Some days you might poop twice, while others you won't poop at all. And that's OK.
You may want to see a doctor, though, if you're pooping more frequently than usual or if your stool looks different. Loose or watery poop can be a
sign of a heath issue that you'll need to get checked out.
Experiencing Fast Bowel Movements
If you sit down to go to the bathroom, and it's over before you know it, then you likely have good gut health — especially if the bowel movements (BMs) are well-formed.
"Well-formed and big BMs mean your digestive system and gut health is on point,"
Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a Chinese and integrative medicine expert, tells Bustle. "Extra bonus if they are every day at the same time."
The ideal poops, according to WebMD,
are easy to pass and not too watery. When they're hard and pebbly, it may be a sign of constipation. And when they're liquid-y or mushy, that's often a sign of diarrhea — which is something you may want to point out to your doctor.
To learn more about the different poop formations, take a look at the
Bristol Stool chart, which breaks bowel movements down into types and sizes. And rates them on a scale of one to seven.
Having Long "Snake-Like" Bowel Movements
If your bowel movements are long and snake-like, congratulations. This is one of the "best" types of poops to have, as it's a sign of good digestion.
"This tells me that [the] gut is appropriately digesting and absorbing the nutrients from [your] food and that [your] immune system is happy with the content of [your]
gut micro-environment," functional medicine pioneer, Elroy Vojdani, MD, IFMCP, tells Bustle. "Having a large daily bowel movement is the ultimate sign of good gut health."
Experiencing Occasional Bouts Of Diarrhea
You should never ignore frequent diarrhea, as it may be a sign of a health issue, such as food poisoning or a virus. But if you occasionally have to rush to the bathroom after a meal, it's likely just your body's way of doing you a favor.
"If you eat something that your body views as a potential threat, it will try to get rid of it as quickly as possible, and one of the ways the body does this is by having it exit south,"
Jaime Morocco, a holistic health coach, tells Bustle. "Of course consistent diarrhea could be a sign of a more serious health problem so be sure to check with your doctor."
While you'll want to see a doctor if you're
experiencing painful bloating on a regular basis — as it can be a sign of an underlying health issue — there's nothing abnormal about slight bloating throughout the day.
"Remember the stomach/gut area is one of the most dynamic areas of your body in that it is constantly processing food and breaking it down,"
Fiorella DiCarlo RD, CDN, tells Bustle.
If you bloat after eating a high-fiber meal, for example, it's just a side effect of digestion. "Do not dismay," DiCarlo says. "Gaseous breakdown from fibrous foods or live active cultures can temporarily bloat you ... but these can all be good signs of healthy gut!"
While passing gas can definitely be "gross," doing so throughout the day is a good thing — especially if it doesn't have a foul odor.
"This tells us that the
bacteria inside the gut are happy and healthy and are getting the food that they need to thrive," Dr. Vojdani says. "We have somewhere between a pound or two of those little guys living in all of us, so we want them to be happy too." If you're passing gas frequently, though, of it it has a foul odor, check with your doctor.
The body can do some pretty gross things. But often, it's all a sign of good health. If you're pooping twice a day, passing gas, or feeling bloating, you're in good company! Do, however, let your doctor know if anything feels out of the ordinary, so they can double check and ensure you have
good gut health.