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7 Ways to Look After Your Gut Health at Christmas

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Christmas is a great time for partying and enjoying the company of friends, family and colleagues. Although it's a time of good spirit and cheer, it's also a time of over-indulging in food and alcohol. I don't want to be a killjoy but we do need to be mindful of the amount we are eating and drinking over the festive period as it can wreck havoc with our health, especially our gut health. Being mindful about our gut can help reduce and alleviate chronic gut issues that so many of us face in Scotland and the UK as a whole. To help you through the Christmas Season I have devised seven tips to maintaining good gut health.

Here they are:

  1. Drink plenty of water: It can help you stay hydrated if you're consuming alcohol. Water also helps to flush out toxins and keep your digestive system functioning properly. Aim to drink around 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid per day. This can include hot herbal drinks, water with fruit, kombucha and water kefir. Try not to drink too much tea or coffee as caffeine is a mild diuretic. If you fancy a wee healthier tipple at Christmas time why not check out my cocktail recipes, delicious!

  2. Practice mindful eating: Take your time to enjoy your meals, chew your food thoroughly, and pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. This can help support healthy digestion. One of the most common triggers for poor gut health with my clients is not being relaxed and taking the time to chew their food. This compromises the production of stomach acid. When we don't produce enough stomach acid then we cannot fully digest our food. This means the food stays in the stomach for too long and can push up toward the oesophagus resulting in a feeling of indigestion or acid reflux. So breathe and chew well is my advice.

  3. Include fibre in your meals: Foods high in fibre, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, can help keep your digestive system regular and prevent constipation. Rather than fill your plate with carbs such as potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, and bread sauce, fill it with vegetable. Yes those awful sprouts are good for you too lol!!

  4. Limit your intake of processed and sugary foods: These types of foods can be hard on your digestive system and can lead to bloating and discomfort. I'm not saying don't eat the delightful, scrumptious desserts but make your portion small. Eat it slowly and relish every mouthful and enjoy the experience.

  5. Stay active: Exercise can help stimulate your digestive system and promote healthy bowel movements. One thing we like to do on Christmas Day is go for a stroll around a nice park in Glasgow. If we don't want to drive we'll go to Ross Hall Park at Crookston, but if we fancy a wee drive, we'll jump in the car over to the West End, or towards Shawlands and go for a stroll there. We love Pollok Park for a nice stroll and those Highland Coos are a must. They're generally friendly and love a wee stroke. So therapeutic for the mind, body and soul:)

  6. Stock up on pre and probiotic foods: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and can help promote a healthy balance of microorganisms. Prebiotic foods are the foods that feed your probiotics. You can find pre and probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut. Prebiotics fibres are found in abundance in vegetable. Try onion, garlic, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

  7. Manage stress: Stress can have a negative impact on your gut health, so it's important to try to relax and manage your stress levels over the holidays. Get outside and go for a morning stroll. A green space is great, but even a stroll by the River Clyde if you work in town can boost your serotonin known as our happy hormone.

By following these tips, you can help maintain good gut health and avoid common digestive issues during the holiday season.

If you are struggling with your gut health,like diarrhoea, constipation, acid reflux, bloating, and are looking to either manage or overcome them, then feel free to book a free 15 pre-consultation session (3rd option on Service page) with me in the New Year. This is a phone call so can be done from anywhere in the UK. We will discuss what is going on with your gut health and I will give you a couple of tips that might help. We will then discuss how I can further help you going forward.

Marie Jarvis is a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist.

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