Improve your bowel and gut health

Natasha Ingram—Movement Matters
Improve your bowel and gut health

Your bowel and gut health are often related to your overall health. Gut health refers to a healthy gut microbiome – which are microorganisms in your intestine that prevent disease-causing bacteria from sticking to your intestinal walls. Bowel health is your ability to pass stool easily and fully with no straining. Frequency of bowel movements (BM) varies from person to person but you should have between 3 BM per week to 3 BM per day depending on the person. You can have a look at what your stool should look like with The Bristol Stool Chart. If you experience some of the following symptoms, you should consider improving your bowel and gut health: heartburn, upset stomach, fatigue, skin irritations, mood fluctuations, autoimmune challenges, weight gain, inflammation, brain fog, allergies, bloating.

Here are strategies to improve your bowel health:

– Increase your water intake (2-3L daily)

– Improve the function of your pelvic floor and core muscles (consult with a pelvic floor physiotherapist)

– Practice 360 breathing (on your inhale, expand your belly and open lower rib cage out like an umbrella, then on your exhale relax the belly and rib cage inward)

– Give your intestines space to move (place yourself on your hands and knees on the floor. Fully relax your belly so gravity pulls it down towards the floor. Breathe slowly and fully in this position for 1-2mins)

– “I Love You” (ILU) abdominal massage (type this in google for details).

Here are strategies to improve your gut health:

– Improve your gut microbiome (collagen-boosting foods like bone broth and salmon skin; fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt and kefir; garlic; and high fiber foods like black beans, quinoa, asparagus, pistachios)

– Reduce intake of sugars and processed foods (they reduce the amount of good bacteria and diversity in your gut)

– Lower your stress levels (meditate, walk, massage, diffuse essential oils, limit alcohol, laugh, spend time with pets, friends and family)

– Get enough sleep (7-8 hours)

– Take a prebiotic and/or probiotic (speak with your healthcare professional)

– Eat slower

This information does not replace medical advice from a professional working with you.

For more information and strategies on improving your bowel health, please contact our pelvic floor physiotherapists at For more information on improving your gut health, please consult your family physician, naturopathic doctor, or gastroenterologist.

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