The holiday season can be hard on your waistline and other areas of your body, like your gut. Carbohydrate-dense foods, sugary sweets and festive holiday cocktails can not only disrupt a diet, but it can throw off the delicate bacteria biome in your gut. When this happens, you can face a number of different gastrointestinal issues, like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea or indigestion, and that can make the holidays an uncomfortable time for many.
Instead of fearing the holiday season, thrive during it by being smart about what you put in your body this time of year. In today’s blog, we share five tips for helping to support your gut health around the holidays.
How To Keep Your Gut Biome Healthy During The Holidays
It can be a little tougher to avoid dietary temptations during the holidays, but if you take just a few simple steps, we’re confident that you’ll be putting yourself in a great position to support your gut biome. Here’s a look at five ways to support your gut health around Christmas.
- Pick Gut-Supporting Foods – The easiest way to support your gut health during the holidays is to consciously choose foods that help to nurture our gut biome. Foods that are dense in fiber are often great for your gut biome, so opt for options like carrots, brussels sprouts and nuts. Always make sure some vegetables and other fiber-dense foods that support your gut health make it onto your plate during the holidays.
- Choose Water Over Seasonal Drinks – Now, we’re not saying that you can never indulge in a seasonal drink from Starbucks or an eggnog after work, but don’t make a habit out of it. These seasonal drinks are typically high in sugar, which can throw off the healthy balance of bacteria in your stomach and lead to intestinal inflammation. The same can be said for alcohol. Both of these are fine in moderation, but you’ll want to ensure that water is your drink of choice this season. Always have a glass or tumbler nearby to help you stay hydrated and curb cravings for unhealthy drink options.
- Slow Down – Life can get busy during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you need to rush through mealtime as well. Slowing down while you eat can help your stomach in a number of ways. Eating slower can prevent excess air intake that can lead to gas and bloating, it can help ensure food is in smaller pieces which makes it easier to digest once it reaches your stomach, and it can give your body more time to realize it’s full, helping to prevent overeating that can cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Get Restful Sleep – Did you know that your gut and your brain have a two-way communication system known as the gut-brain axis? This connection also impacts many of your body’s cognitive and emotional functions. In other words, your gut health can affect things like your mood and your circadian rhythm, and vice versa. If you’re not getting restful sleep, it can disrupt your gut biome and lead to gastrointestinal issues. Strive to head to bed and wake up around the same time each day, and get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. We know it’s not easy, but it will be helpful for your gut health.
- De-stress – Similarly, stress can also negatively affect your gut biome, and the holidays can certainly be a stressful time. We’re not going to say that you just need to eliminate stress from your life, because that’s likely impossible. Instead, you need to find healthy ways for you to deal with this stress. Go for a walk, nestle up with a book, jump on the elliptical, take a power nap, talk about what’s causing stress, etc. Find what works for you, and dive into those activities to healthily manage stress, because this will help keep stress from messing with your gut.
And if you want personalized advice or assistance managing a gastrointestinal issue over the holidays or at any point in the year, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants today.