There are countless blogs about how exercise, eating well, sleep, sex, and having a good social network are important for healthy aging. But there’s one aspect to good health that people rarely mention: pooping.
Yes, pooping. Maybe as a physician, I should be medically correct and say “defecating.” Whatever the term, a proper poop is essential for feeling good. I didn’t realize how important it was until I started asking our customers, “Why do you like eating the Omega Cookie®?”
More often than not, customers would reply, “I love the way the cookies taste – and well, they keep me regular.”
That’s code for, “They help me produce good bowel movements.”
It’s true, though: Omega Cookies are effective regulators because they contain a high dose of two essential ingredients that help speed things along in the bathroom: omega-3 fish oil and oat fiber. What is it about fish oil and oat fiber that do the trick? Let’s examine both of them closer.
Americans spend $750 million dollars a year on over 7000 different types of laxatives to help them activate their intestinal tract. In other words, defecating is big business. However, before you run to the pharmacy to buy bulking agents or stool softeners, you should consider taking a high dose of omega-3 fish oil instead.
Consuming most types of oils will help get the ball rolling in the bathroom since oils act as natural lubricants. Omega-3 fish oil, however, provides added benefits. The anti-inflammatory properties of the fish oil help reduce inflammation in the intestines and colon while the fish oil itself works as a great lubricant for smooth and gentle elimination.
Fish oil works so well in fact, that several customers – including my mother-in-law – confide in me that one of the main reasons they use Omega Cure® is that it keeps them regular.
One of the other main stool-facilitating ingredients in our Omega Cookies and Omega Passion chocolates is oat fiber, which is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. As I explained in “Carbo-Confusion Unraveled,” these two types of dietary fibers play an important role in the digestive system.
While rarely present in the typical American diet, soluble fibers are crucial for the body’s well-being. The good bacteria in the colon feed on soluble fiber. It is important to keep these good bacteria well fed, since they help clean up the toxins in our intestinal tract. Without soluble fiber, the body isn’t able to flush out the build up of toxins.
Insoluble fibers, which do not dissolve in water, play a bigger role in actually pushing food through the intestinal tract. They help promote regularity and prevent constipation. When these two types of fiber work in tandem, you produce the healthiest stools.
Oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibers.
Besides fish oil and fiber, there is another important aspect to defecating that has nothing to do with nutrition. It has to do with listening to the ‘precious signal.’
What signal am I talking about? It’s that urge telling you to leave everything you’re doing – be it talking on the phone, making breakfast, or waiting for the plane to take off. It’s the need to head for the nearest toilet without delay.
If you ignore the signal, you’ve blown the whole show. Truly.
Say the urge comes at a moment when you are driving down the highway, and there is no available bathroom for another 15 miles. If that happens too many times, your body, like a jilted lover, closes down the communication channels and says, “Sorry. You don’t listen, so why should I make the effort to talk to you?”
Like anything else that’s worth doing, you have to make time for bathroom breaks, and you have to respect your body’s needs. When the urge comes, take a break and go to the restroom. Just don’t strain or push too hard, since increased pressure over time can cause the rich network of veins in your anus and rectum to swell – eventually resulting in hemorrhoids. Trust me. You don’t want hemorrhoids. Instead, combat hemorrhoids by also staying hydrated and exercising regularly.
If you take fish oil, enjoy a high fiber diet, drink lots of liquids and exercise, chances are you have mastered the art of producing a proper poop. Still, what exactly does it mean to be ‘regular’?
While most people defecate once a day, the so-called ‘normal’ interval between defecations varies greatly. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per seven days. However, some people are prolific, producing two to three stools a day. That is still considered within the normal range. Given such a wide definition for ‘regularity,’ the most important thing to remember is that consistency is key.
Regular bowel movements are necessary to remove the waste from our bodies. So on a day when you feel like you’ve accomplished very little, you can at least feel proud that by consuming oat fiber, water, and fish oil, you are able to create a good bowel movement and get rid of some of the toxins in your body. That’s a job well done and a job worth doing!