Life's Big Questions: What Should My Stool Look Like?
In ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system, one seeks to balance one's doshas, or basic life energies, to achieve physical and psychological health. A good way to determine whether those doshas -- known as vata, pitta and kapha -- are out of balance is to look carefully at what you leave in the potty.
Your stool says a lot not only about whether your diet needs adjusting but also about whether you're stressed, tired or otherwise out of whack. Here, according to Hilary Garivaltis, dean of the school of ayurveda at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass., is what to look for in a normal, healthy bowel movement:
Your feces should be shaped like a banana, tapered at both ends, and medium brown in color. It should be neither too dry nor too liquid.
It should come easily, without a lot of straining. You should experience a sense of completion when you're done.
Stool should float in the toilet water.
These traits, Garivaltis says, suggest that you're digesting food and absorbing nutrients properly. If your stool consists of small, hard, dry pellets, you may have too much vata, one of the three doshas; counter vata with moist, warm foods. If your stool is very loose, watery and unformed, you may need to balance your pitta with cold, dry foods.
Read more about ayurveda and nutrition in today's "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" column. In the meantime, take today's poll!
Jennifer LaRue Huget
May 19, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Alternative and Complementary Medicine , General Health , Life's Big Questions , Nutrition and Fitness
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