Christmas isn’t always great for your gut health. We all want to enjoy festive food and drinks, we sleep less, exercise less, and worry more. All these things can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. They can also mess with your digestive routines and affect your gut health. It’s common to experience tummy bugs and other issues around Christmas and the fact that festive celebrations seem to last a few weeks nowadays only makes things worse.
If you want to enjoy the festive period without any stomach bugs or other digestive concerns, here are some of the things that you can do to boost and protect your gut health while enjoying the holidays.
Firstly, it’s important to know what’s normal. Bloating after a big meal, stomach aches after spicy food and reactions to specific things can be normal and expected. But sometimes gut problems are more than this. Sometimes we’re dealing with bigger issues and need to make more extreme changes to our diets, such as sticking to a low sulfur diet. The Ruscio Institute can offer help and advice if you are worried, and they may recommend a low sulfur diet if your symptoms include brain fog and excessive gas. They can also look at any other symptoms you might be experiencing. Don’t just assume that stomach issues are a result of festive overindulgence. If you are worried about your symptoms, get help straight away.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is so important. Drinking water keeps you hydrated and helps to flush toxins out of your body. If you do have any minor stomach issues, drinking water can be one of the best ways to flush out bacteria and stay hydrated.
Indulge in Moderation
There’s nothing wrong with indulging over Christmas. There are so many temptations when it comes to food and drink at this time of the year, and you don’t have to avoid them all to keep your gut healthy. However, you should avoid any that you have reactions to, and you should also make sure that you enjoy both alcohol and unhealthy food in moderation. If your diet is generally healthy, with plenty of fruit, veg and water, and you eat a balance of different foods, the occasional indulgence won’t hurt your gut.
Get Plenty of Fiber
It’s normal for your digestive rhythm to suffer when your diet and routine changes like they do at Christmas. You can make this easier on your gut by upping your fiber intake. The good news is, many of the foods on your Christmas dinner, such as carrots and sprouts, contain high levels of fiber.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that our guts like. They have plenty of benefits to your gut, not least of which is helping to aid healthy digestion. Adding a probiotic to your diet is a great way to manage the effects of Christmas. Enjoying a probiotic yogurt with breakfast is an easy way to do this.
Drink Alcohol Mindfully
There are lots of excuses to drink alcohol over the holidays. For most of us, the occasional night out is great. It boosts our mood, gives us a chance to relieve stress and to catch up with friends. But too much alcohol can really hurt your gut health. Try to drink in moderation, and drink water as well. And if you don’t want to drink at all, try to avoid situations where there’s temptation and invite friends to dry gatherings instead.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Our brains and guts work together in something called the gut-brain axis. This means that our gut health and what is going on in our stomach affects our ability to sleep and our mood, but it works the other way too. While you are asleep, your body resets, digests and gets ready for the next day. Try to stop eating a few hours before you go to bed, and stick to a sleep routine as much as possible.
Stress doesn’t just affect us emotionally; it also affects our bodies. When we’re stressed, we carry tension in our muscles, and our stomachs respond. Many people face constipation when they are stressed out and tense. Unfortunately, this can be a very stressful time of the year. Try to manage your stress by sharing your load, talking about your problems, and practicing self-care.
Walk After Large Meals
After a big meal, it’s tempting to lie down and rest. You might not feel like doing much more, but when it comes to digestion, this can be a mistake. Instead, try to go for a walk as soon as you can after a large meal. Even a short walk can aid digestion and keep your gut working well.
Listen to Your Body and Remember What it Tells You
Think back to last Christmas, or other special occasions. Has there been anything that you’ve eaten that has given you a stomach-ache or digestive issues? If so, make sure you avoid it this year. Problems with our guts are common at this time of the year. We eat and drink more, we exercise less, and our routines change. Taking steps to boost your gut health can reduce any problems that you might face.