Good digestion vs. poor digestion

Published March 15, 2014

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A well‐functioning digestive system is generally a silent process that takes place without much trouble while we rest, eat, sleep and go about our daily lives. But when we experience certain symptoms, it may signal that our digestive system is out of balance.

Good digestion Poor digestion
When your digestive system is in working order you’ll experience:

  • Regularity – This is defined as having a bowel movement that isn’t too soft or hard between three times a week to three times a day.1 Bowel frequency can vary greatly between healthy people, so it’s important to work out what’s normal for you.
  • Stools – Healthy stools have a particular appearance; healthy stools will be medium to light brown in color, smooth and soft but formed. They should not appear in many small pieces, in an S shape, or have a particularly bad odour.
  • Normal amounts of gas – Most people produce 0.5‐1.5 litres and pass gas 14‐23 times a day. Gas can be produced during the normal breakdown of certain undigested foods by good bacteria in the
    large intestine.2
  • Good overall health – Bright eyes, clear skin, strong nails and good energy levels are signs that the absorption of nutrients from your food into your body is on track.
When your digestive system is out of balance you may experience any of the following:*

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort.
  • Regular bloating – a feeling of fullness and swelling of the abdomen.
  • Excessive gas – flatulence and burping.
  • Burning in the upper abdomen.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea – loose or watery stools.
  • Constipation – fewer than three bowel movements a week or stools that are hard or dry making them painful or difficult to pass1.
  • A feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete.
  • Stools that are dark or pale, contain undigested food or have a particularly bad odor.
  • Poor overall health – You may experience regular colds or low energy and your skin, hair and nails may be in poor condition.

*If you experience these symptoms regularly and they’re affecting your daily life, it’s important to consult your healthcare professional to rule out any underlying problems.

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