Gut health has become a hot topic. You cannot go far without seeing an article, ad or product that is promoting the importance of gut health. But do you really understand the hype?
Most of the time we just ingest food without even thinking about it. While we may think it is not affecting us, our body is thinking otherwise. Digestion, mood, health and even the way you think are linked to your “second brain,” also known as your gut.
If it is so important, you might be wondering: “How can I tell if my gut is healthy and functioning properly?” Here are five things that indicate proper gut health gut.
1. Gut Transit Time
Gut transit time refers to how long it takes for the food you eat to digest and travel through your gut. While this varies widely between people. Ideal gut transit time is around 28 hours.
Speak with your doctor if your transit time seems too short or too long. It may indicate a problem, such as food intolerance, constipation, or dumping syndrome – a condition in which food travels too quickly from your stomach to your small intestine.
2. No Bloat
Gas is a byproduct of the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut. Gas aids in normal digestion. People with healthy gut activity typically fart 10 to 20 times a day.
If you have persistent bloating, gut pain, nausea, weight loss, or pass excessive gas, you should speak to a gastroenterologist. These could be indicators for an underlying digestive condition, such as ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease.
3. Regular Bowel Movement Patterns
There are no set rules as to how often you should pass a stool. This varies significantly between individuals. Generally, moving your bowels between three times a day and three times a week is considered healthy. You should also be doing it during the day. Having a normal pattern is what is important.
Major changes in your normal habits or having to get up at night to pass a stool are signs of a gut health issue. You should speak with your doctor.
4. Healthy Stools
The color and consistency of your stools are important indicators of your gut health. You know your gut is healthy when your stool:
- Has a smooth texture
- Has a sausage shape that passes as a single large stool or in a few smaller pieces
- Sinks in the toilet bowl
Unhealthy stools can be a warning sign of a poor diet, dehydration, food intolerances, stress, or underlying health issues. Stools that are lumpy or hard; too soft or runny; or of a different color unrelated to what you just ate usually signify an unhealthy gut. If you are experiencing any of these situations, you should see a gut health specialist.
5. Comfortable Bowel Movements
Being able to pass a stool comfortably is a sign of a healthy gut. If you are having to strain or are experiencing pain or discomfort when passing a stool, visit your doctor. It could be a sign of an underlying problem, such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Get Expert Gut Health Care in Toms River, NJ
Your gut is largely responsible for the critical functions of your entire body. Additionally, 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. To learn more about taking care of your gut health or to schedule a consultation with one of the knowledgeable gut health experts at Ocean Family Gastroenterology, call 732-281-1590 or online HERE.