If you had to pick between mediocre sex and a fantastic poop, you'd probably pick fantastic poop. Hands down. A perfect poop is one of life's (not-so-secret) great pleasures, and one that is never taken for granted.
Unfortunately, not all poops are created equal. In fact, sometimes your daily poop is frustrating, or even nonexistent. But guess what? It doesn't HAVE to be that way. In fact, it's entirely possible to have a insanely good poop LITERALLY every time. How, you ask? Gastroenterologist Dr. Elena Ivanina gives you her professional pointers on maximizing your full pooping potential.
The No. 1 way to keep everyone moving and grooving at a regular pace is to increase fiber in your diet. Dr. Ivanina recommends adding a bulk-forming supplement and drinking more water, plus eating the right fiber-rich foods. "Citrus fruits and legumes -- beans, peas, lentils -- stimulate the growth of colonic flora and increase poop mass," she says. "Apples, peaches, pears, cherries, raisins, grapes, and nuts are also good. Just remember to increase fiber intake gradually to avoid getting bloated and gassy."
Stick to a regular schedule
It's no secret that the bathroom at the office gets heavy foot traffic first thing in the morning. Keeping an open schedule is great for your social calendar, but when it comes to pooping there's nothing wrong with a standing date. Dr. Ivanina suggests setting aside a daily, unhurried time to poop. "Most people with healthy pooping habits usually empty at the same time every day, suggesting that pooping is in part a conditioned reflex. Your colon is most active in the morning and after a meal so make sure to schedule that post-breakfast poop time in your calendar."
Pop a squat
Remember that time you went to Thailand and were thoroughly horrified at the thought of squat pooping? That definitely happens to everyone, right? Well, joke's on you, because it turns out that's actually way better for your body. But until the day that the US approves squat toilets, consider placing a support 6in high under your feet when sitting on a toilet to flex your hips toward said squatting posture. "This straightens out your anorectal angle to help everything move out easier," says Dr. Ivanina. And a straight anorectal angle is something to which everyone should aspire.
Move. But also chill.
"Increasing physical activity has been shown to improve outcomes in constipation, which may be worsened by stress." So… yoga, anyone?
If things get terrible, see a doc
Constipation equals misery. There's no way around that. It affects everything, including your mood, and no one likes to be all wound up… in every sense of the word. "If you're constipated, make sure you see your doctor and get properly diagnosed," says Dr. Ivanina. "Most importantly, underlying diseases like hypothyroidism, or medications, may be contributing to your pooping woes."
Your doctor may also be able to diagnose any food allergies or sensitivities that have the potential to muck up the pipes, or you could do some self-experimentation -- if you notice you have particular difficulties after eating dairy, for example, you may want to try going without it for a few days and see if you have more luck.
Since we all like our doctor-prescribed regimens, here's what it takes to have a pretty perfect poop… every time:
"Wake up, do 30-60 minutes of yoga or another form of exercise, put a heaping tablespoon of Benefiber into your coffee with breakfast. Make breakfast an apple, peanut butter, and whole-grain toast like Ezekiel. Take a seat on the toilet and let the magic happen. Start every day happy… and empty."
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