This blog is sponsored by MegaFood®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
9 Tips for Good Gut Health During the Holidays
The holidays are a busy, busy time full of hustle, bustle and go go go. It’s also a time where we are certainly exposed to foods that are a bit more rich and indulgent than our usual fare. Our gut is often at the receiving end of the worst discomfort. For some of us it may be accidental exposure to gluten or maybe a bit more sugar than the rest of the year, or even a couple of cocktails – it happens! This time of year can feel particularly challenging to our vitality due to the added stress, travel and lack of sleep. All of this combined can be a bit rough on our bodies and particularly our digestion.
For many of us, especially those of us that struggle with autoimmune disease and other health imbalances, it certainly doesn’t take much for the symptoms to arise. Rather than managing the consequences and putting band aids on the list of resulting symptoms, I want to offer you some of my go-to tips for supporting your gut during the holidays to avoid the discomfort and so you can feel your very best and enjoy this magical time of year!!
A Healthy Gut is a Healthy Body*
We all know by now that a healthy gut is paramount to a healthy body.* From a properly functioning digestive system to a strong immune system and well functioning brain – our gut is foundational to our vitality*. During the holidays, there are many things you can do to protect your gut and support your health.*
Here are 9 Tips for Good Gut Health During the Holidays:
- Incorporate Healing Foods* – A well rounded diet abundant in nutrient-dense whole foods is crucial to delivering key healing nutrients to your gut and ensuring that it can properly do its job of delivering those nutrients throughout the body, as needed. Some of my favorite healthy gut supporting foods to prioritize especially during times of stress are bone broth (or try my healing bone broth latte), dark leafy greens and other fiber-rich vegetables, along with the usual clean quality proteins and healthy fats you should be including at every meal.
- Avoid/Limit Trigger Foods – Be aware of the foods that can trigger inflammation, discomfort or other responses. These foods are different for everybody, but the most common suspects are gluten and grains, dairy, processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, alcohol and refined vegetable oils. The levels at which each of these should be limited or avoided altogether will be dependent on the individual. Listen to your body, if a food doesn’t make you feel good, if it leaves you feeling zapped of energy or sick and bloated – probably best to remove or reduce it.
- Manage Stress (physical and emotional) – Do your best to limit stressful situations, especially those of the chronic variety. This can certainly be hard during the holidays so at the very least, make time and space for your self-care – take solo walks in the fresh air, implement your favorite self-care practices, make time for meditation, deep breathing, yoga or workouts. Dance in the living room. Diffuse your favorite essential oils. Everyone manages stress differently, find the stress relief activities that work for you and prioritize them.
- Make Time for Movement – By keeping your body moving, blood flowing and heart rate elevated – this will bring energy and a sense of wakefulness to your digestive tract. I personally love post-meal walks as an opportunity to keep things moving and flowing vs. plopping down on the couch.
- Slow down – Chewing your food adequately and eating mindfully in a calm and relaxed state offers your digestion the opportunity to do its work in its optimal state and encourages proper absorption and assimilation of the many nutrients you are consuming at every meal. Properly chewed food can also lessen the load on your stomach and help to reduce digestive discomfort, bloating and gas.
- Get Enough Sleep – The holidays are a very busy time; our immune systems can be compromised and we are likely eating a bit differently than we normally would. Sleep offers your body the opportunity to rest and repair. Insufficient sleep can contribute to systemic inflammation and can have serious effects on your gut. Try for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. If you need help, try this Sleep Meditation.
- Stay Hydrated – Hydration is so important to nearly every system in our body, but drinking plenty of water has been shown to be a very beneficial mucosal lining of the intestines. It’s recommended that you drink half your body weight in ounces of water, at least 60 – 80 ounces of water per day. Increase your hydration if you are sweating excessively or consuming a lot of diuretics like coffee, tea or alcohol.
- Avoid Overdoing It – I am not of the camp the believes you need to fully deprive yourself during the holidays, but it’s also best to try to remember how certain foods make you feel, it’s always helpful to ask yourself if it’s worth it? No one can answer that except for you – most of all just remember – don’t overdo it! There is absolutely no reason to binge, to eat like you’ll never get to eat that way again. Eating foods that cause systemic inflammation or are irritating to your digestion can affect your gut health far beyond the holiday season. Is it worth it?
- Get Daily Probiotics (and prebiotics, too) – Probiotics from fermented foods (like sauerkraut, beet kvass, fermented veggies) and/or a daily probiotic supplement are great ways to support a healthy gut. Probiotics help you rebuild the healthy bacteria so they are essential to good gut health.* The new MegaFood® shelf stable probiotics are a favorite of mine. I incorporate the product into my own supplement regimen and recommend it to my nutrition clients. I love that these broad spectrum, acid-resistant health-supporting probiotics are shelf-stable so you can take them on the go, making them are perfect for travel, something many of us are doing a lot of this time of year. And even better, there are different condition-specific fformulas that have been created for different areas of focus, from energy* and mood*, to digestive health* and immune defense* there is a formula specific for whatever your needs. Plus, because MegaFood products are made with whole foods you can count on them to deliver essential vitamins and minerals – and ultimately, clean nutrition – in a way that nature intended. All MegaFood products are also certified glyphosate-residue free, a harmful herbicide that some research shows to disrupt and negatively affect gut bacteria!! 1https://detoxproject.org/glyphosate/glyphosate-and-roundup-negatively-affect-gut-bacteria/ Recently, MegaFood, together with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and several additional food and nutrition brands has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of glyphosate as a desiccant before harvest. With this petition, MegaFood underscores its commitment to improving lives!Finally, don’t forget the prebiotic rich foods. Prebiotics are the foods that the probiotics feed on and they are also important for your gut health as they feed your friendly flora. Prebiotic rich foods include raw chicory root, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, chickpeas, raw garlic, onions, and scallions.
The holidays are a time to celebrate and be merry and by keeping these simple tips in mind, you will be on your way to great gut health throughout the holiday season…and a very happy gut as you head into the New Year!*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.