The holiday season can bring joy, giving and celebration but it can also bring more foods you don’t usually eat, more alcohol, sugar, late nights and stress – all of which can upset your beautiful gut microbiome. And since you don’t want to be dealing with gut issues during the holidays, here are 5 easy ways to help support it and keep it healthy and happy this season.
Try not to veer too far from your regular routine and healthy eating during the holiday season. If most of your holiday meals are dinners, then enjoy the heck out of them, but stick with your usual healthy breakfasts and lunches. If you have a couple late nights out, have a ton of fun, but follow them up with a few quiet nights in. It’s easy to let one day of indulging lead into the next day and then the next but try not to let that spiral happen and instead get back to your usual routine, food and supplements as much as possible.
Add a few spoonfuls of unsweetened, coconut or oat yogurt to your smoothie or enjoy it with berries and seeds. Sugar and dairy aren’t great for your gut, thus the reason for the unsweetened, dairy free yogurt suggestion. Saurkrout and kimchi are also great probiotic foods if yogurt isn’t your thing. You can also add in a probiotic supplement.
The natural movements in the body while walking help boost your digestion. Be sure to let the arms swing naturally. This swinging motion encourages the torso to rotate or twist while walking which gives all the organs a good massage. Walking outside has been proven to relieve stress (which also wreaks havoc on your gut health), increase energy levels and your gut microbiome loves the diversity of nature. Plus going for a walk outside is a nice way to visit with family and friends during Covid.
Peppermint tea is very soothing for your belly and can help relieve bloating. Ginger tea is helpful for upper digestive issues like indigestion and nausea. Plus both of them are hydrating – herbal teas with no caffeine and no added sweetener are equally as hydrating as water. Staying hydrated is an easy way to improve your gut health since water helps move nutrients around the body, aids in natural detoxification and eases waste removal. Have a glass or mug of water first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything else and continue to sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day.
When’s the last time you thought about chewing? Do you often put another bite in your mouth when you already have food in your mouth? Do you eat quickly? Chewing isn’t usually top of mind, however it’s incredibly important for your digestion and gut health. Digestion begins in your mouth and the better you chew your food, the more nutrients are released and the easier it is for you to absorb and digest them. Even though you might be feeling rushed and busy during the holidays, the next time you sit down for a meal, relax and put your fork or spoon down between bites, take your time, and be mindful of chewing well.