Why going number two is a number one priority
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking shit today! Can’t handle the yuck level of this post? Click on the red cross in the top corner of your screen. Intrigued to know how this is related to your health? Then please, read along!
This story starts in the spring of 2012, when I had my first urinary infection. I went to the doctor’s and got a prescription. The infection went away for quite a while, but made a comeback in the fall of 2014. Exactly two days before going on a study trip to Korea and it happened again a year after that. The trend here? All three times, prior to getting the urinary infection, I had laryngitis the week before, which was also treated with antibiotics. Long story short, I had send out wrecking balls to my guts by having six antibiotic treatments to not only kill the bad bacteria, but the good ones as well. And all of that took place in the timespan of only three years.
Why the fascination with going to the loo you might ask? Taking antibiotics wipes out all the good bacteria in your intestines, which results in an unbalanced gut flora. Just imagine (or not) what bombing your guts does for your numbers two? Right, so that brings us back to the subject of the gut. I was actually triggered to write about this after reading the book GUT by Giulia Enders. In her book, she emphasizes the importance of your gut and what its functioning besides digesting food. There are even illustrations of the different kinds of poops and what you should eat more of to improve it. Here, are some more fascinating facts Enders discusses about this six-meter long organ in your belly:
- About 80% of our body’s immune system is located in the gut. The immune system starts to develop from the time we are babies and continues to expand the number of different bacteria it is familiar with.
- The pigment in blood cells determines the colour of our faeces. When the colour is other than brown, it can indicate health deviations. Light brown to yellow colour could indicate the enzyme defect Gilbert’s syndrome, this is not harmful and is likely to only express in a reduced tolerance for paracetamol. Light brown to grey colour could indicate a kick (usually caused by pressure) in the connection between the liver and gut. Black to red colour should warn you to consult a doctor. Unless of course you’ve been eating a lot of beetroot, as that can taint the colour of your number two as well.
- Most people aren’t sitting properly on the toilet. The closure mechanism of our gut is not designed in such a way that it can open the hatch completely when we are seated. This is called the ‘kinky’ rectal-closure mechanism. The way to fix this is that to put your feet on a stool, whenever you’re sitting on the toilet, put your feet on the stool.
Here are the precautions I take to keep my gut health in check:
- Squatty potty is basically a stool that you put under the toilet bowl and the solution to the ‘kinky’ rectal-closure mechanism concept. This stool has been a real life-changer, bye bloated belly! Looking for a cheap alternative to the squatty potty? Buy the €5 FORSIKTIG stool from IKEA.
- Fermented food aids the promotion of healthy gut bacteria. The Asian kitchen is pro at pro-biotic fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, miso, and kombucha. Not in the mood for Asian food? Yoghurt and sauerkraut also contain a lot of good bacteria for the gut.
- If eating fermented food is not a regular on your weekly food plan, supplements like spirulina might do the trick. Spirulina is an algae that promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria in our intestines. It comes in loose powder and pill form, where I personally prefer the latter.
- In addition to supplements, one can also take prebiotics. Prebiotics promote the (good) bacterial environment in the gut. Prebiotics usually come in powder form. The one I take is PreBiotic+ by Natural Stacks.
- A remedy that has been working for me the last time I had the laryngitis and urinary infection combo is a mix of homemade remedies and supplements. I took zinc and vitamin C tablets, spoons full of Manuka honey, and garlic tea. Zinc and vitamin C are known for their positive effect on the immune system as does garlic. The Manuka honey has an antibacterial function, like with antibiotics but without killing the good bacteria as well. No more antibiotics for me (I hope).
How do you feel about gut health? What are your best tips to keep number two on priority number one? Let us know in the comment section below.