How to Keep Your Bowels Healthy
Your bladder and bowel are key to your health and wellbeing. If they are not looked after properly then they may become a problem to you! Read on to find out how to maintain a healthy bowel.
To maintain or achieve a healthy bowel, it is important to eat meals regularly to boost metabolism, ideally three a day. Food choices are important in the maintenance of a healthy bowel.
A healthy metabolism will promote a healthy weight, overall health and wellbeing. Eating breakfast everyday will boost your metabolism and aid overall health of your digestive system.
The bowel needs fibre to assist with production of a healthy stool / poo and to stimulate a bowel movement.
Fibre rich foods include:
- Wholegrains including breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta and rice, wholegrain bread and oats
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
- Peas, beans and pulses such as lentils, kidney beans and butter beans
- Nuts and seeds – including almonds, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds
- Potatoes with skin on – boiled or baked
To increase your fibre intake you could:
- Choose a high fibre breakfast cereal e.g. wholegrain cereal like whole wheat biscuit cereal, bran flakes or porridge. Try adding some fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts
- Go for wholemeal or seeded wholegrain breads
- Choose wholegrains like whole wheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice
- Eat potatoes with skins on baked potato, wedges or boiled new potatoes
- For snacks try vegetable sticks, rye crackers, oatcakes, unsalted nuts or seeds
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals especially green leafy vegetables such as Kale and Spinach
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads
Recommended daily intake of dietary fibre for an adult is 30g per day (based on guidelines published in 2015 by Department of Health).
- It is important to include all food groups in all meals – protein, carbohydrates and fats
- Drink between 2-5 litres of fluid a day, water-based fluids are most healthy e.g. cordial, water
- It is also important not to defer the need to empty your bowels for too long as this can lead to constipation
- Exercise and keeping active contribute to a healthy bowel so maintaining or increase some daily activity will help prevent constipation
If you have any concerns about your bowels, including an altered bowel habit, please consult with your GP. If you want any more information, then please contact BBUK’s helpline today.
Written by Joanne Hoyle, Specialist Nurse.