Are you feeling ready for Christmas? Have the parties and celebrations with friends and family started already?
And how do you feel about them?
For people with sensitive digestion, the Christmas period can be one of discomfort and anxiety. This can include conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), indigestion, constipation, bloating and many more symptoms.
Maybe you know that certain foods can trigger symptoms, or the sheer over-indulgence of the month causes problems for you. Either way, the increase in eating and drinking can mean you feel more bloated and uncomfortable than during the rest of the year.
Help support yourself to get through the festive season feeling as digestively well as possible by focusing on these five recommendations:
1. Eat your fill of vegetables with each meal – ideally covering 1/3-1/2 of your plate with them. By ensuring an abundant, and diverse variety of veg throughout December, you’ll be feeding your beneficial gut bacteria. Maybe now’s a good time to try some vegetables that you don’t normally buy. Brussels sprouts are great for supporting the gut and liver, while red cabbage and cranberries are rich in anthocyanin antioxidants. Adding them to your diet will give your bacteria something new to feast on!
2. Stay hydrated – aim for 1.5-2L of water or herbal teas each day. Many of us have the central heating on 24/7 to combat the cold which, combined with an increase in alcoholic drinks, can leave us dehydrated. Signs that you need to increase your water consumption include increased thirst, dark urine, headaches or feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Find out more here.
3. Keep an eye on portion sizes – roughly sticking to your normal daily amounts. Of course, Christmas dinner is a more sumptuous affair than normal meals, but aiming to consume no more than normal at other mealtimes can help feelings of discomfort and bloating that might be caused by overeating. Remember, you can always come back for second helpings if you want to.
4. Think about taking a break – try to leave four hours between meals. Taking time out between meals for your digestion to thoroughly break down and absorb one meal before you start the next can make a real difference to how you feel. Yes, this might mean saying ‘no’ to mince pies and a slice of Christmas cake mid-afternoon, but you could feel better in the long run. You could also add in an overnight break of 12 hours – pushing breakfast back slightly in the morning can often allow time for this.
5. Find time for some exercise – just a 30-minute walk is enough. An after-dinner walk can be a great way to help move foods through your digestive system, clear your head and have some fun. An early evening walk around the neighbourhood to take in Christmas lights could be a nice way to end the day (and build up an appetite for supper). Alternatively, wrap up warm and get everyone outside in the garden or local park for some games – adults too!
However you are spending the Christmas period, we hope you have a fun and restful time celebrating.
Read previous ProVen blog posts with more seasonal tips:
The festive season and gut health – December 2020
Getting back into healthy routines after Christmas – December 2019
Want to know more?
ProVen Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health and staying healthy please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth ProVen research.