December is here… the most exciting and indulgent month of the year for many of us!
Don’t worry – we’re here to tell you to go and enjoy the festivities. Leave the guilt behind! (We’ll be here for you in January, ready to help you boost your gut health and recharge your healthy batteries when all the fun is over ; )
In the meantime, we have put together a list of tips to help you feel your best over the Christmas and New Year period: 🎅🎄🌟
1 Add more veggies
When it comes to good gut (and overall) health, make it enjoyable by getting into the mindset of adding in, not taking away. Christmas dinner is a great opportunity to get your vegetables in and feed your good bugs some of the fibre they require. Fill half your plate with delicious Christmas veggies like carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.
Get a head start on your plant foods with some tasty starters like vegetable soup, roasted pear and walnut salad, or some honeydew or cantaloupe melon.
2 Slow down during meals
It’s easy to get excited and eat so fast that our hunger and satiety cues can’t keep up! Slow down and take time to enjoy each bite. Savour these moments of good food and loving company by eating mindfully. A main meal should take about 20 minutes to consume. Get into the habit of putting your knife and fork down between bites to slow yourself down and switch on more mindful eating. This will help with portion control and benefit your digestion.
In between all the fun, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration will likely cause you to feel sluggish, tired, and hungry when you’re not. Aim to have a glass of water with each meal or snack you consume. Having a water bottle within reach is an easy way to get into the habit of hydrating more!
4 Catch up on sleep
There’s no better time to catch up on sleep and have a few well-deserved lazy mornings. A lack of sleep can negatively impact the microbiome.1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779243/ Sleep deprivation also decreases your levels of the hormone leptin, thus leading to increased appetite, food cravings, reduced feelings of satiety, and also weight gain.2https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/sleep-digestion-and-weight-gain/#sleep-disturbances So getting sufficient sleep over the Christmas period will benefit both your gut microbiome and your decision-making around food choices.
The year is coming to an end, embrace this chance to relax and forget the everyday stresses of life! When you are in a relaxed and happy state, the gut-brain connection aids the production of anti-inflammatory substances in the gut and helps strengthen the gut lining.3https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/gut-health-self-care/#stress Take this time out to unwind, and your gut will thank you for it!
6 Go for a walk
Feeling a bit bloated after a festive meal? Take a walk! Going for a walk, doing some light exercise, or stretching can help to diffuse trapped gas and reduce bloating. A short walk after a meal can aid digestion and lower your blood sugar.4https://www.healthline.com/health-news/aging-walking-after-meals-to-control-blood-sugar-spikes-061213 It can also provide some “me time” if you need some time alone in between all the family fun 😉
Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays for bespoke advice on gut wellness.