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For people who have never had dark green stool before, seeing it for the first time can be disconcerting. So what does green poop mean? Well, typically, a green stool means that your body is doing its job correctly. But, that said, if your poop is dark green and something doesn’t seem “right,” be sure to consult your physician to get checked out.

Poop should be light-to-medium brown in color, but even light green stool is on the spectrum of “normal” poop. There are a lot of other reasons and factors that influence the color of your stool … but first …

Setting the Baseline: What is Poop, exactly?

Once food and drink enter your stomach, bile and the rest of your digestive system gets to work, breaking down your food and extracting essential nutrients. Then, your digestive system moves what is left into your large and small intestines. Once there, the small intestine’s walls go to work, absorbing water, and the rest of the digested nutrients, into the bloodstream. The next stop is your large intestine, where the remaining undigested food is changed into a stool. Finally, the stool moves into the bowel, where it stays until you have a bowel movement.2

That’s how poop is made … but what is poop made of?

Simply put, poop is a combination of bile – that yellow-green fluid produced by your liver to digest fats – and what you eat.

Strictly speaking, poop is composed of inorganic material, like calcium phosphate and iron phosphate, as well as organic material, such as cellulose, protein, bile and fats, and water.3

Your stool also contains dead bacteria and cholesterol. Its characteristic brown color occurs during digestion. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow substance formed in the liver which contains old red blood cells. When the bilirubin mixes with bile and other substances in your waste, the resulting color is usually a shade of brown.

And the smell? Well, you can thank a host of chemicals produced by bacteria (including hydrogen sulfide) for the odor.4

You Are What You Eat …

Green stool doesn’t just happen because of specific actions of your digestive system, or from the work of your intestines. What you give your body as fuel and sustenance has a direct impact on the waste you produce when you go to the bathroom. So, if you’re finding that you’re regularly producing green or dark green stool, what you’re eating, and how much of it, may be influencing the color of your stool.

Leafy Greens

Green Poop Mean | Gundry MDGreen foods (surprise!) can make your stool appear greener in color. Green leafy vegetables are high in chlorophyll. And chlorophyll is central to the photosynthesis process in plants, but it is also responsible for the green coloration in leaves.5

It stands to reason, then, that the more green leafy vegetables you consume, the more likely it is that your poop will be green. Chlorophyll-heavy plants include kale, spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard, to name a few. And while leafy greens that are heavy in chlorophyll are linked to blocking potentially dangerous ailments, they may cause your stool to be a darker green color.6

So, if you’re on a leaf-heavy diet, chances are that you don’t need to worry about what your dark green poop means.

Food Dyes

Food dyes are prevalent in many everyday foods and drinks, and they may also be responsible for your greenish stool. Some are obvious, but some may be less obvious. It probably comes as no surprise that sodas, sugary drinks, and candy are chock-full of dyes. But other foods, like farmed salmon, have dyes added to make them look more “natural” or appetizing. Even pickles and yogurt may have dyes added to them.

Many of the dyes used in American food and drink are manufactured, as opposed to extracts from plants, fruits, or vegetables. They aren’t readily absorbed by your body. When you eat foods containing these dyes, they move through your digestive system without being absorbed, and they wind up in your stool, possibly turning it green.7

Coffee and Alcohol

It isn’t just soda and sugary drinks with dye that can impact the color of your stool. Drinks like alcohol and coffee can also affect how your body is digesting your food and how it is processed.8,9

Coffee and alcohol are laxatives.They speed up your digestion, meaning the digestive process isn’t always complete. When this happens, your stool doesn’t have time to change from its small intestine green color to its more “normal” brown.10 The result is that your stool may not only be loose, but it may be green, too.


The Secrets Of Aloe: Not Just For Sunburn Chances are that you’ve heard of aloe vera, even if you’ve never used it before. Since antiquity, aloe’s been a key ingredient in many health and beauty products. And, as is common these days, what is old has become new again. This means there’s a renewed interest in aloe and its beneficial properties. The difference between today’s aloe and that of the days-of-old is that today’s aloe can be enhanced by scientific progress. So, plant applications like aloe are being reinvented and improved in many ways. Read on to learn about the different ways aloe can help your body and the different ways in which you might ingest or apply it. The Origin of Aloe Now, the first uses of aloe date back to one of history’s oldest civilizations — the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, the plant was actually buried with pharaohs. In those times, it was known as “the plant of immortality.” Later, Native Americans would refer to it as the “wand of heaven.” 1 And aloe was useful worldwide and commonly grown in subtropical climates like South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Now, if you see aloe on the shelf at your local pharmacy, you’re likely looking at aloe vera gel. This is the clear, thick gel found on the inner part of the leaf. You might also stumble across aloe vera latex — a yellow part of the plant found just under the plant’s skin. But what’s aloe good for? Well, in the 18th and 19th century, aloe became popular as a laxative and people would ingest aloe vera latex. Today though, you may want to be wary of taking this orally because of the potential for intestinal cramps and diarrhea.2 Other historical uses included treatment for hair loss and hemorrhoids.3 That’s not to say aloe vera gel and aloe vera latex aren’t safe to use orally. They are. But, in the modern era, aloe vera gel is most commonly used as a homemade wound remedy. Generally, aloe vera gel is applied to the skin to treat a variety of skin conditions. For instance: Burns Frostbite Psoriasis Cold sores Acne Wounds And while science has yet to determine exactly how aloe vera gel helps the skin, looking at its nutrients has pinpointed a few potential clues. The Nutrient Makeup of Aloe Vera Look: Aloe vera is 99% water but it happens to have over 200 biologically active compounds. These include: Polysaccharides Vitamins Minerals Enzymes Amino acids.4 Another important nutritional component of aloe vera is its antioxidant content. To date, aloe vera has been associated with therapeutic and curative properties, but there’s never been any formal explanation as to why.5 Now though, researchers have figured out that antioxidants are a potential key contributor. You see, antioxidants help mitigate cellular damage — a major precursor for many different conditions.6 Along with treating skin issues, there may be potential for aloe gel to help with the appearance of skin. In fact, one study showed that topical application of aloe gel increased collagen production and skin elasticity. It’s a big deal, because when combined these factors can potentially slow the aging of the skin. Turns out, antioxidants are often associated with helping to slow down the aging process.7 How To Use Aloe? Let’s Count the Ways... Aloe gel and aloe latex are the two original versions of aloe, but there are other preparations of aloe that are finding new ways to be useful. Aloe Vera Juice One such application is aloe vera juice. It’s kind of a different spin on aloe. You see, it’s technically a food product, extracted from the leaves of the aloe vera plant. Some brands also market it as aloe vera water, but it’s all the same. Now, brands may differ when it comes to what they put in your aloe vera juice. Some brands may contain small bits of aloe gel (called pulp). While others may include aloe latex and plant matter. No worries though — these natural substances are safe to consume in smaller quantities. And aloe juice can be consumed on its own, or added to smoothies, juice blends, and even cocktails.8 Here’s another great tip: Did you know a major contributor to tooth decay and gum disease is plaque buildup? Well, most people use mouthwash to complement brushing their teeth and flossing. However, aloe may be a great potential alternative. In one study, 100% pure aloe vera juice was compared to chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is a common mouthwash ingredient. Anyhow, the study showed that aloe vera juice was just as effective in reducing plaque.9 It does this by killing plaque-producing bacteria. And aloe vera could also help soothe canker sores.10 The Aloe Vera Plant Of course, most people associate herbal remedies with ingestion or topical application. But, the aloe vera plant might actually help filter the air in your home. Since plants can absorb carbon dioxide, they might also be able to absorb some of the chemicals used to clean your home.11 In fact, studies have shown that aloe vera can actually help absorb formaldehyde and benzene. Benzene, in particular, is a common component in paints and household cleaners.12 And, if you grow your own aloe, you’ll always have a source of gel on hand if you want to use it for other purposes. Aloe In Review In the end, aloe is one of the most popular plants being studied today. But it’s best to think of aloe as a complement to rather than a replacement for general medicine. This is especially true when talking about serious conditions. In addition, aloe products are also very common. Whether you want to ingest it, use an aloe-based beauty product, or extract aloe gel from the plant itself, the options are wide open. And though aloe is safe to use, you should chat to your healthcare professional about using it as a remedy. When you get this important advice, you’ll likely learn how exactly to make the most of the aloe plant in your life. Sources 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. If you’ve recently changed your diet, or if you’re on a specific type of diet, you increase your chances that your poop will be greener than you’re used to.

Similar to the leafy greens, if you’ve recently become vegetarian, you may notice that your poop is greener due to the increased consumption of plants high in chlorophyll. Additionally, high-fat diets such as keto produce more bile to break down the fatty foods, which may stay in your stool when it is time to go.11

In Summary

As you can see, a lot of variables can cause your body to produce green stool. By paying attention to what you’re eating – and how much, in some cases – you’ll have a better idea of whether or not the green color in your poop is perfectly normal, or something you may want to consult with your doctor about.

For more on healthy digestion and bodily functions, keep reading here:
What is Your Poop Trying to Tell You?
What Causes Bright Yellow Urine? (4 possible reasons)
How to Get Rid of Bloating Fast (3 natural remedies to try)

3. “Feces.” Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropedia. 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc, 1987. 710. Print