The holidays are easily one of my favorite times of the year. I love the extra time with loved ones, the tradition, the decor, the gift-giving, and the overall feel of joy! But let’s be honest, the holidays can take a toll on your health, especially your gut health.
Some of the most common complaints around the holidays are problems with indigestion, gas and bloating. These problems can be made worse by the types of foods eaten at this time of the year. Many sugary foods like cakes, cookies, and cobblers contain certain sugars and carbohydrates that are not easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, making people feel bloated and miserable.
Moderation is vital in these situations. We tend to eat more than what we usually do during the holidays, and our stomach is not used to being overloaded. Being moderate in your intake of food will make gas and bloating better. To help with that, try drinking more water to help fill up your stomach. Drinking water will make you feel full quicker, thereby minimizing the amount of food in your stomach.
Reflux, regurgitation, Gerd, and heartburn affect millions of people daily and tend to worsen around the holidays. Certain trigger foods such as spicy foods, tomato-based sauces, and carbonated drinks can worsen reflux symptoms, so avoid these “trigger” foods that you know will make your heartburn worse.
Constipation is another problem that goes along with the holiday season. Changes in your diet from the usual routine wreaks havoc on your colon. Even slight alterations from what you are used to eating and doing can make you more constipated. This can worsen during the holidays as we travel to visit family members or go out to eat.
Foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates served during this season will worsen constipation. In contrast, foods high in fiber and vegetables will help move your bowels, so don’t skip the salads or vegetables. Hot drinks or even going for a short walk outside will help move things along and make it easier to use the restroom. Additionally, when eating and enjoying the holiday drinks and eggnog, we forget to drink enough water to keep ourselves hydrated, thereby worsening bowel problems. Try skipping the sweet beverages, drinking excess alcohol, and drink more water instead.
Your gut health is central to your entire body’s health because it impacts your mood, your ability to digest and absorb nutrients, your autoimmune function, and more.
Here are 5 easy ways to keep your gut healthy during the holidays while still enjoying yourself!
- Continue To Incorporate Healing Foods Daily
The holidays don’t have to be non-stop cookies, pies, and gingerbread. There are still plenty of opportunities for you to keep up with a healthy, healing diet during the following weeks.
The misconception is that if you slip up by eating too many treats, there is no point in even bothering to eat healing foods. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you have a day or two of overindulging at a party, you can still turn it around by eating healthy and making healthy choices.
2. Bring Healthy Food With You To Share At Holiday Gatherings
One of the most common places that trip us up is parties, dinners, and family gatherings. It can be hard to say no to a plate filled with Christmas cookies, warm mugs of hot chocolate, yummy cakes, and pies.
However, it’s a lot easier to stick with healthy foods at parties and gatherings when you bring your own not only to eat yourself but share with others. Not only does it keep you guilt-free and happy, but other party goers are always delighted with the healthy treats and appetizers that you brought with you.
3. Use Supplements That Restore Your Digestive System Naturally
As we age, we produce fewer and fewer digestive enzymes, so digestive enzymes for the stomach and probiotics for the intestines are good ideas. Doing digestive cleanses and liver and gall bladder cleanses can also help restore better digestion to help normalize digestive health. The following supplements are some of the best overall digestive enzymes available.
All-Zyme is one of the most comprehensive digestive enzyme supplements available today. All-Zyme is a broad-spectrum multiple enzyme formulation that contains seven digestive enzymes along with ox bile, pancreas substance, and betaine hydrochloride.
Heartburn Essentials is designed to maintain healthy gastric secretion under occasionally stressful conditions. Heartburn Essentials supports digestion and soothes the digestive tract, offering potential relief for occasional heartburn and indigestion.
G.I. Essentials is the most advanced formula on the market today for optimal gastrointestinal health. It has been designed to support gut health, soothe and heal the digestive tract lining, promote regularity, microbial balance, and support proper immune function.
4. Manage Your Stress
The holidays can be incredibly stressful. There’s travel to coordinate, dinners, and parties to plan, gifts to shop for, and more. Regardless of your particular situation, there’s going to be some associated stress.
Stress can be just as damaging to our gut health and health in general as eating inflammatory foods. The stress hormone cortisol keeps our body in a sympathetic state that interferes with our digestion, our ability to heal, and even our gut lining’s health.
It is imperative to manage your stress and mindset during the holidays, so how do you do it?
First, remember that the holidays are only temporary. They won’t last forever and will be over in just a number of a few weeks.
Next, remember to make time for self-care, relaxation, and fun. I can’t think of anything more relaxing than curling up with a good book on your couch near the tree, or watching a movie like It’s A Wonderful Life, or taking a walk in a neighborhood looking at all the Christmas lights. Find moments that bring you joy and focus on them during the holidays.
Finally, remember the real reason for the season. Shift your mindset around the holiday parties and celebration and focus on gratitude for what you have and giving. There’s always something to be stressed about, but there’s also something always to be grateful for. When we focus on what we are thankful for and give back to those that are less fortunate, we dwell on our stress less.
5. Make Both Exercise And Rest A Priority During The Holidays
Make time for both extra rest and exercise. Movements are so crucial for the overall health of your body. You need to regularly move your body to keep your joints healthy, regulate your sleep, and improve your digestion.
It’s harder to get moving in the winter. Walks become colder, and it’s harder to get to the gym when it gets dark so early. So, you need to get creative and exercise throughout the day or develop a workout you can do at home. You can use a stationary bike, a treadmill, or elastic exercise bands to fill the bill.
No matter what you decide to do, make time for movement daily during the holidays to keep your body healthy and your spirits high.