The holiday season is perhaps the most amazing time of the year but it is not really that great for your gut health. You eat without thinking, drink to your heart’s content, sleep at late hours and miss on exercise as well. And there is much more than your gut bacteria may not really like about the holiday season. But how can you expect to keep the festivities at the back of your mind and think only about your microbiome? The good news is that you need not spoil your festive mood and indulge too much in taking care of your gut’s health. Just a few simple and easy to follow holiday season diet and lifestyle tips can help you have a great time while keeping your gut healthy. Here is the list revealed for you!
You cannot imagine skipping the Thanksgiving Dinner, the Christmas gathering or the New Year Party. But loading up on goodies through the holiday season may put your microbiome out of balance. The smartest thing to do is to indulge intelligently. Stick to the healthiest dishes on the menu and focus on foods high in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Pay attention to cooking techniques as well; choose roasted dishes instead of fried ones. Also, control your portion sizes because larger portions will obviously be tougher to digest.
Incorporate healing foods
Festive meals are often difficult to digest because they are high in processed and sugar-laden foods. Incorporating healing foods into your diet is a good idea because they give the gut bacteria time off. At the same time, they deliver the much-needed nutrients that you miss out on processed foods. Eat light during the day and stick to comfort foods such as bone broth and fiber-rich veggies. While these foods are easy to digest, they also provide the much-needed supply of healthy fats and proteins respectively.
Limit trigger foods
Limiting trigger foods is as important as eating healing foods during the festivities. The first thing to do in this context is to know your trigger food. Essentially, these are the ones that cause inflammation, discomfort and other digestion-related issues for you. Every person has different trigger foods though processed foods, gluten and grain, sugar and dairy are some of the common culprits. Avoid anything that pressurizes your gut and you can surely have gut-safe holidays.
Have probiotics and prebiotics
When it comes to keeping your gut healthy (holidays or no holidays), probiotics and prebiotics play a vital role. These are the nutrients that strengthen the good bacteria naturally. Probiotic foods include fermented foods such as Greek yogurt, kimchi, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods include raw garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus, and dandelion greens. If you cannot get enough of these nutrients from food sources, you can rely on their supplements.
Watch your drinks as well
Another factor that can spoil your gut’s holidays is excessive drinking. Alcohol is not really a great friend for the good bacteria in there, which is the reason why you should watch your drinks. Additionally, alcoholic drinks dehydrate you and can put your microbiome out of balance. They slow down the digestion process and put extra pressure on the gut bacteria. Avoid them completely if you can or stick to the smallest sizes.
Be watchful about parasites
Whether you are cooking at home, eating out or traveling during the holidays, you may be at high risk of parasitic infections. It is easy to overlook the ingredients because everyone cooks in a hurry during the festive period. Be sure to wash the meats and vegetables while cooking. If you are eating out, choose only a place you can trust for practicing good hygiene. Being aware and watchful about parasite symptoms is equally important. Get immediate help if you suspect an infection. Just a few precautions can help you have a safer and healthier festive season.
Even if you are the busiest during this time of the year, make sure that you have the quintessential 7-8 glasses of water every day. Hydration is the key to maintaining your gut’s health and you must not miss out on it during the holidays as well. Avoid consuming a lot of diuretics such as alcohol, tea, and coffee because they can lower your hydration levels. Instead, make conscious efforts to drink more water.
Make time for exercise
Another concern during the holiday season is the lack of time for exercise. But you must not miss out on the routine if you want to maintain your gut health despite the binging and boozing. If you cannot hit the gym, walk to work and take stairs instead of the lift. A good workout routine will also save you from piling up pounds during the festive days.
Get enough sleep
Lack of enough sleep is another common problem that almost everyone comes across at this time of the year. But this is something that you need all the more because of the hectic days and long nights of festivities. Inadequate sleep can cause inflammation of the gut and toxic buildup in the body. Make sure that you have at least 6-7 hours of sound sleep every night. A little shut-eye in the middle of the day is also a good idea to give your system some rest.
With the gifts to buy and parties to plan, holidays can be pretty taxing physically and emotionally. Obviously, the stress factor runs high which may not be really great news for your microbiome. Having a holiday stress management strategy is a great idea. Invest in self-care and take time out for meditation, workout and deep breathing. Pamper yourself as much as you would want to pamper your loved ones.
Rather than making the holiday season a hectic time, take it as an opportunity to slow down and relax. Enjoy everything you do and make efforts to eat healthily and maintain a healthy routine. You will probably have a great time and be your healthy self after the festivities are over!