Healthy Digestion/How To Keep Your Gut Healthy During "Eating Season"
How To Keep Your Gut Healthy During "Eating Season"Nath Richmond ● 18/01/2022 ● 4 min read
It’s that time of the year again!
While you’re busy with your Christmas list and Holiday shopping, we hope that you take time to focus on your gut health.
Because let’s face it, your gut can turn into a Grinch in a snap with all the creamy eggnog, decadent desserts, carb-heavy meals, and booze that will surely flood your table in the coming weeks.
So rather than concerning yourself with gut-related symptoms by January, it's much better to stay proactive by supporting your gut so you can be at your very best during this wonderful time of the year!
Load up on fiber-rich foods
Fiber serves as food for good bacteria so they can multiply and perform their jobs well.
As a result, your digestion flows smoothly, and the food passes through your body without a hassle.
You can never go wrong with cut-up vegetables, whole wheat crackers topped with low-fat cheeses, lentil chips with tomato salsa, squash soup, and brown rice.
Here are the creative ways to slide fiber into your holiday meals:
- Add a fruit salad as an option for dessert
- Put some chopped or grated nuts into casseroles, dressings, and breadcrumbs
- Choose whole-grain bread instead of regular bread/rolls
- Mix your flour with an almond meal when baking cookies, pies, and cakes
- Try nut or fruit pies instead of cream pies
- Go with high-fiber dips such as hummus and guacamole
Take a 10-minute walk after eating
During the Holidays, it’s tempting to sit on the couch or socialize with friends and family after a festive feast.
However, most studies suggest that taking a short walk after a meal offers a lot of benefits not only for your gut but also for your overall health.
For example, one small study revealed that just a 10-minute walk after a meal might help control blood sugar levels.
Walking can also speed digestion which can help reduce the symptoms of bloating, heartburn, and gas.
It may also reduce sugar cravings that we usually experience after a hearty meal.
Have you ever experienced frustration, lethargy, and mood swings after overeating?
Well, that’s a sugar crash for you.
The good news is that walking may help improve your mood because it makes your brain more sensitive to serotonin and endorphins.
The holiday season is flooded with cocktails, teas, caffeine, and salty treats that could dehydrate you faster than you ever imagined. Aside from leaving you thirsty, being dehydrated could cause multiple health problems that could derail your Holiday plans.
Here are a few more reasons why you should stay hydrated during the holiday season:
- Drinking water helps you bounce back from a Holiday Hangover
- It can help curb your appetite and control Holiday weight gain
- It keeps the digestive system moving
- It moisturizes your mouth and keeps your teeth clean
- Staying hydrated helps fight off seasonal bugs
- Drinking enough water can help you relax and fight the Holiday Blues
- It moisturizes your skin, so you look at your best in your Holiday photos and virtual parties
Include more healing foods into your Holiday recipes
A well-balanced holiday meal consisting of fresh veggies, lean proteins, healthy oils, and whole grains has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and provide nutrients for your gut to recover after the Holiday celebrations.
Spinach, kale, and mustard greens contain Vitamin C, folate, and magnesium, essential for a healthy immune system as we approach the coldest months of the year.
Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fats and selenium that may reduce inflammation.
Berries aren’t just delicious. They’re also brimming with antioxidants.
Chicken and turkey are lean protein sources packed with amino acids and collagen that protect against stress.
Take note of your trigger foods
Create a list of foods that can trigger inflammation, discomfort, or allergic response.
Yours can be different from everybody else, but you can boil it down to usual suspects such as grains, dairy, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.
Yes, Holiday Blues can be a real thing.
You may find yourself anxious, frustrated, and even depressed during this time of the year.
Unfortunately, these stressors could impact your gut health, leading to indigestion, constipation, and overeating.
So it's crucial to invest more time with yourself by taking solo walks, making time for relaxation exercises, talking to friends, watching comedy shows, or spending more time with your pet.
Find an activity that will help blow off your steam so you'll be more than happy to spend the holidays.
Move. Move. Move.
Being physically active helps promote the growth of bacteria responsible for repairing gut lining and reducing inflammation.
Additionally, maintaining holiday fitness gives you more energy, reduces your stress level, and helps you shave some of the extra calories from the delicious Holiday meals you're eating.
Simple tasks like walking your dog, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or skipping the elevator when Holiday shopping are effective workouts you can try without spending a dime on expensive equipment.
Get enough Holiday snooze
The months leading up to the holidays can be a hectic time for everyone.
So don't forget to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Enough sleep time will not only protect you from seasonal bugs but could also help your digestion rest for a while so it can perform better during the "eatingest" time of the year.
Give yourself permission to celebrate with your loved ones during the Holiday season.
Yes, you can eat and drink to your heart’s delight.
But more than anything else, the most significant gift you can give yourself is a healthy gut so you can accomplish more things and spend more Holidays with your loved ones in the next coming years!