Your poop can reveal a lot about your health. But what does healthy poop look like?

August 4, 2020

Your poop can reveal a lot about your health. But what does healthy poop look like?

In this blog post, we cover everything you've ever wanted to know about poop and what it can tell you about your health, including:

  • How looking at your poop is one of the easiest ways to monitor your health
  • The importance of knowing what is normal for you
  • What kinds of changes in texture, color or frequency to look out for, which could indicate a problem with your general health
  • Tips for how to achieve the perfect poop

What’s in my poop?

Everybody poops, but not everybody’s poop is the same. 

You can think of each poop as a message from your gut, which can tell you more about what’s going on inside of you (but maybe don’t strike up a conversation with it or you might get some strange looks when you exit the bathroom stall!). The final output of your digestive system represents a combination of what you’ve eaten, your hydration levels and your general health. 

Here’s the recipe for normal, healthy poop

  • Water (75 per cent)
  • Undigested food, mostly fiber
  • Microbes - those bugs that live in your gut
  • Waste products produced by your body, including broken down red blood cells
  • Dead cells shed from the lining of your gut
  • Slimy mucus

What does healthy poop look like?

Poop comes in different shapes, colors, textures, and smells (eeew…), but since it varies so much, it can be difficult to know  what the perfect poop looks like. Here are a few things to look out for the next time you go to the bathroom: 

  • A texture that’s just right – soft to firm sausages passed in a single piece or a few smaller pieces - not too hard, not too soft - that sinks in the toilet pan. Scientists and doctors use a handy tool called the Bristol stool scale to help you decide if your poop is the right consistency. Type 3 or 4 poop are the winners on this scale. 

The Bristol stool chart, which is a diagnostic medical tool designed to classify the form of human into seven categories.

  • Earthy tones are best – Poop should be medium to dark brown. Fun fact: This is the color that results from a combination of iron-rich pigments released from broken down red blood cells and bile (a yellowish fluid that helps you digest fat).
  • Steady paced  –  Early results from our PREDICT trials suggest that the time it takes for your food to make it into your poop (as indicated by the time it takes for our legendary blue muffins to give you blue poop), is linked to the diversity of your gut bugs (your microbiome). And as we’ve previously said, a microbiome with a diversity of 'good' bacteria is a healthy microbiome!
  • Consistent habit – The type and timing of your poop varies from person to person, but any major changes in your normal habits could indicate a more serious problem that should be investigated.

What does unhealthy poop look like?

Here are some things to look out for:

If you are concerned about your poop, or if something doesn’t seem normal for you, make sure you talk to your doctor to get to the bottom of it.

How to keep your poop healthy

Healthy poop means a happy, well-functioning gut. Unhealthy poop can be a warning sign of things like a poor-quality diet, stress, anxiety, dehydration, food intolerances, unhappy gut microbes, or underlying health issues. 

So, if your poop isn’t quite up to par, aiming to improve it can be beneficial for your general health and wellbeing. We asked our resident nutritionist, Kirstin, how to improve your poop and maintain a happy, healthy gut:

“It’s important to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains because they contain fiber that helps to keep your poop moving,” she explained. “But make sure you drink plenty of water too, because all that fiber will be like sticky cement if there isn’t enough liquid to keep things moving."
“Exercise can also help encourage good digestion, so make sure you’re finding joyful ways to move your body on a regular basis. Most importantly, look before you flush! Keep a mental note of what is normal for you and your poop. Don't overanalyze things, but if anything changes dramatically, make sure to see a doctor.”

The scoop on poop

  • What your poop looks like depends on what you eat and the overall health of your digestive system
  • Poop varies from person to person, so it’s important to know what’s normal for you and watch out for unusual changes
  • A healthy lifestyle which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, water, and exercise can help promote good digestion and help you produce the perfect poop

So next time you answer the call of nature, take a peek in the pan and see if your poop has any urgent messages for you. If you're not happy with what you see, try implementing some of our tips for improving your poop. 

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