The holidays can be a time of indulgence, stress, and changes to routine. None of that bodes well if you have a sensitive stomach. Be proactive and give yourself the gift of gut health for the festive season and beyond.
The problem: The holidays are hard on the gut
Festivities usually mean feasts, which often means decadent desserts, and drinks. And that can mean sugar, sugar, and more sugar, as well as more fat and less fibre than is good for the body.
As well as changes to your diet itself, you may also find that you eat more overall, eat at different times to usual, and drink more alcohol alongside your food. All of these things can upset bowel balance, disrupting microflora and creating symptoms such as:
- Festive flatulence
- Stomach aches and pains.
Beyond gut health – why a rum tummy can ruin your Christmas
As if it isn’t bad enough feeling the bloat or having to be near a bathroom at all times during the holidays, a dodgy tummy can also affect your mental health. This is because of the gut-brain axis.
- The gut-brain axis involves:
The vagus nerve – directly connecting your brain and gut;
- Neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine) – produced by the gut, affecting digestive function and mood;
- Hormones – also produced in the gut, affecting hunger, satiety, and blood sugar management (and, therefore, energy levels and mood);
- Microbiota – your gut microbiota produces neurotransmitters and bioactive compounds that affect inflammation and immune function as well as mood and behaviour.
The gut-brain axis is bidirectional too, meaning holidays stress can also upset your gut! That makes a regular routine of probiotics and fibre even more important to keep things on track and help prevent holiday burnout.
The solution: Probiotics and fibre
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support gut health and beyond. Increasing your probiotic intake is a great idea during the holidays as this is when digestive systems face additional stresses.
Some excellent probiotic rich foods include:
- Yoghurt (only some kinds though, so check labels carefully)
Incorporating more of these foods into your daily routine can help maintain bacterial balance. That said, it can be challenging to maintain any kind of dietary routine during the holidays.
This is where probiotic supplements come in.
High quality probiotic supplements provide a convenient, concentrated dose of beneficial bacteria to keep your gut in good shape. If things have gone off track, probiotics can help reset bowel regularity and get you back to enjoying the festivities faster.
Don’t forget fibre
In addition to probiotics, it’s often a good idea to add a fibre supplement to your daily routine during the holidays.
This is because festive feasting typically favours fat and sugar, rather than healthy wholefoods with a good dose of fibre.
Keep things regular, and help your body eliminate toxins more easily with a daily fibre supplement. Look for one that includes both soluble and insoluble fibre, so you also support probiotics with a prebiotic.
Two of the best: Probiotic gifts for your gut
Nature's Plus GI Nutra Total Digestive Wellness Powder is a top choice for a seasonal probiotic. This all-round formula goes beyond just beneficial bacteria and includes:
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- 4000 mg of L-glutamine (to help support intestinal health)
- Live digestive enzymes
- Turmeric and ginger
- An enzyme-rich wholefood blend.
Make this your bedtime beverage after a busy day by adding one scoop of the powder to warm water and mixing well. Drink it right away for best results.
If you’re looking more for a high potency probiotic, either in powder or capsule form, Natren is a great choice.
Natren’s Healthy Trinity remains very popular for year-round use, but we also know folks who swear by it to get them through the festive season with minimal gut distress.
This three-in-one supplement provides 30 billion colony forming units of three key bacterial strains. And the Natren process means those bacteria survive to reach the parts of the gut where they are most effective.
These bacteria can help restore and maintain microflora balance and may also help your gut digest all those fatty, sugary (maybe even lactose-heavy) foods you tend to forego the rest of the year.
Final thoughts on the gift of gut health
There’s nothing worse than missing the party of the season because you ate something that upset your system earlier in the day.
With smart supplement choices, you can weather the seasonal festivities with minimal disturbance and maximum indulgence. Gut health really is the gift that keeps on giving.