A toxic digestive system has been implicated with multiple chronic diseases from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract to mental health issues (via the gut-brain connection). A toxic digestive system includes moving your bowels too frequently or not move your bowels enough. If you have to move your bowels 3 times before you get out of the door in the morning, that is a problem. Conversely, if you move your bowels every other day, that is a problem too.
The number of items classified as food has changed dramatically over the last 100 years with industrial revolution and creation of fast food, man made food like substances, highly processed, high sugar, high fat, low fibre, high preservative foods that has substantially altered the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract (also known as our microbiome). The change in microbiome has affected the ability of our bodies to burn fats, created problems with blood sugar balance and altered mood and brain function.
Increased use of antibiotics, acid blockers, medication, steroids, chronic stress, highly processed foods and lack of sleep all alter out gut microbiome and function and lead to chronic diseases. The disruption in our microbiome can change our bowel habits, although bowel habits can also be related to the balance of minerals in your nutritional intake, stress, hydration, lack of digestive energy and inappropriate fibre content of your food.
Most healthy adults have 2-3 main meals a day and it is normal that we have a bowel movement after a meal. That way, we do not keep rotting remnants of food in our gastrointestinal tract that can feed the bad bugs. Bad bugs in the gut cause gastrointestinal permeability which in turn can cause loose bowels or constipation, or alternating between the two, weight gain, brain fog and mood swings.
It is also important to minimise added sugar in our food. In this age of lots of processed foods, sugar can be hidden in many foods. We should only have sugar from fresh fruits and vegetables. (Note: dried fruits are very sugar dense). From clinical observation, I have also seen dairy and gluten sensitivity common for people with chronic symptoms particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. However, we are all unique and one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Identifying what causes your irregular bowel movement is important. The target is for a Type 4 bowel movement on the Bristol stool chart and that you get a movement every day at least once a day, which does not contain mucus or blood.