It’s that time of year again. You might be up for a hectic few weeks of new year parties, family gatherings and social lunches when routines get a little more relaxed. Indulgent food, excessive alcohol and non-existent exercise is synonymous with the holiday period, but it can also come with some unpleasant consequences, especially for the gut. The good news is, there are a few simple tweaks you can make to keep your gut health on track over the holidays and help you feel better in the new year, without giving up on your favourite foods and traditions.
How you can prepare and protect the gut
- Incorporate gut-friendly foods – The holiday season might be a time for treats and indulgence, but you can still be mindful about including gut-friendly foods. Yoghurt, kefir and kombucha are great sources of beneficial bacteria and onions, garlic, bananas and oats contain prebiotic fibre that help feed and nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Before you head off for social lunches you could consider making a banana smoothie with yoghurt or kefir and oats and swap a fizzy soft drink or alcoholic beverage for kombucha at an event.
- Stress relief– It can be a stressful time for many people thanks to jam-packed social calendars, financial pressures and family interactions. The problem is regular stress can upset the balance of the gut microbiome1 and can also contribute to unpleasant digestive symptoms such as bloating, stomach discomfort and loose bowel motions. Try incorporating yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, a walk around the block or a relaxing bath into your holiday routine. A good laugh also does wonders for stress.
- Keep moving – Exercise might fall by the wayside at this time of year but finding time to move the body can have many benefits for your gut health and overall wellbeing. Exercise can keep everything moving, including the bowels, and can also induce positive changes to the gut microbiome.2
- Stay hydrated – Keeping up your water intake is crucial for healthy digestive function. Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re drinking alcohol, which has a diuretic effect.
- Consider supplementation – Taking one capsule daily of Inner Health Digestive Defence can support healthy digestion and the balance of good gut bacteria and might be good to have on hand over these months.
What you can do if you’ve already overindulged
If you’ve already got an unhappy tummy and feel bloated and uncomfortable, there are things you can do to help your digestive system recover.
Taking two capsules of Inner Health Digestive Defence helps relieve boating and wind, reduces digestive discomfort and maintains normal bowel function.
You could also take an after-dinner stroll or try some basic yoga positions to gently massage the digestive system and make you feel more comfortable. Try lying on your back and drawing your knees to your chest for 4-5 breaths. Then straighten and lower one leg and draw your bent knee to the other side towards the ground in a supine twist position. Hold for 4-5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
If the silly season festivities have wreaked havoc on your (medically diagnosed) IBS, make sure you have Inner Health IBS Control on hand for extra strength symptom relief of gut pain, discomfort, intestinal gas and bloating.
How long can it take to restore gut health after the festive season?
The time it takes to restore gut health and reset and recharge after all the festivities are over is highly individual. However, you can increase the gut restoration process by getting back to your normal routine with balanced healthy meals, incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, good sources of protein and carbohydrates and adequate water, prioritising sleep and using relaxation techniques, getting back to regular exercise and taking a quality probiotic supplement to rebuild the diversity of your gut bacteria.
- Madison A et al, 2019, ‘Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human–bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition’, Curr Opin Behav Sci, vol 28, pp 105-110
- Clauss M et al, 2021, ‘Interplay Between Exercise and Gut Microbiome in the Context of Human Health and Performance’. Nutr. Vol 8, doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.637010