These are the weird things your garden products can do to your poo

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This story was originally published in July 2020.

Whatever you call it, the natural byproduct of human digestion – feces, feces, poo or poo – is a true indicator of internal health. For those who appreciate the bounty of their gardens or quantities of other fresh produce, this can also be affected by the natural pigments and chemicals in these vegetables.

Especially for new gardeners, finding out what consuming too much of their fresh produce can do to their digestive system can come as a surprise. A colorful one at that.

It’s also something that people are often shy to discuss or bring up in polite conversation. It’s a shame, according to Dr. Jean Larson, gastroenterologist at Northern Light Health in Bangor.

“We talk about poo all day every day,” Larsen said with a laugh. “We talk about poop not coming out, and we talk too much about poop coming out.”

Among the things Larsen said people often observe — when they take the time to look at their own stool — are sudden changes in color that can be directly linked to what they’ve eaten over the past 24 hours. previous.

“It’s the pigment in beets that makes your poop and urine red,” Larson said. “It may sound alarming, but there is no need to worry.”

Anyone who has woken up the day after a feast of fresh beets and wondered if they were bleeding inside from the redness of their stools knows this all too well.

However, if the stool or urine is red and you haven’t eaten beets or anything with a red coloring like gelatin, red hot dogs or Gatorade, this could be a symptom of a serious medical condition such as internal bleeding and should be checked out immediately. with a gastroenterologist, Larson said.

“It could mean you have lower gastrointestinal tract bleeding, diverticulitis, or hemorrhoids,” she said. “There’s absolutely no reason to feel embarrassed about having it checked out.”

See green in the toilet bowl after morning makeup? It’s completely normal the next day after eating fresh leafy greens like lettuce, spinach or kale, Larson said, all popular Maine garden crops.

“Leafy greens can also appear in partial or whole pieces if not properly digested and fast through the colon or eaten with a very fatty dressing,” Larson said. “If it continues, you should talk to a doctor about it.”

Certain nutritional supplements or herbal powders can also turn things dark green or even black.

Eat lots of black licorice or any of the black squid ink dyed pasta? What goes black will come out black, Larson said. Iron supplements can also darken stools. But black stools can also be a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract and should be checked out by a doctor if there is no diet-related explanation.

Turmeric is another supplement, often taken as an anti-inflammatory, that can turn stools yellow or take on a nice orange or darker to black hue.

Gorging on blueberries or drinking lots of anything colored with blue dye will lead to blue stools, Larson said.

The bottom line about poop, according to Larson, is that it can be a good health indicator of what’s going on in your body and act as an early warning system.

“There’s absolutely nothing embarrassing about asking your doctor,” Larson said. “Especially if you see red or black poo unrelated to food and you feel dizzy, weak or have other acute symptoms, it’s important to get it checked out.”

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