Tips for a gut-friendly holiday season (without spoiling the fun!)

Tips for a gut-friendly holiday season (without spoiling the fun!)

Ah holiday! Food, drinks, precious time with family and friends... As we fill up our social calendars, our minds fill with anticipation, and our bodies, well, they're just for the (bumpy) journey. 

Let's face it. Your gut health is probably the last thing you want to think about right now. Who has time to worry about gut microbes when you have gifts to buy and meals to plan? ! 

We get it. When you're having fun, health tends to lose its place at the top of the priority list. "But it's a holiday!" question. The way is that everything is fine until our health is back in our minds and everyday life is really good. 

Whether it's trying a new recipe or indulging in an old dish, changing your eating habits is a big part of the holidays. Add the stress of running around and you have the perfect solution to your tummy problems. 

The good news is that there is a way to make your cake edible, so to speak. As a gift to you, our team at Life-Space has found some sneaky ways to keep the holidays fun without sacrificing your gut health. 

Here’s how:

  1. A little goes a long way:You'll be happy to know that you don't need to sacrifice that weird glass of wine to take care of your gut. In fact, the polyphenols in red wine are not only antioxidants, but also serve as a prebiotic food source for beneficial bacteria. The trick - usually - is moderation. So if you choose to go with a pretty red meal, don't go over a 250ml glass. Unfortunately, the same evidence does not apply to other alcoholic beverages, although white wine has been associated with some modest benefits.[1] Fermented beverages like kombucha or kefir are good options for non-alcoholics. 
  2. Resistant starch is gentler on the tummy: Those with sensitive stomachs are probably all too familiar with the difficulty of navigating bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, and more on a carb-rich holiday menu. Thankfully, some carbohydrates are easier to digest than others. One such carbohydrate is called "resistant starch." Unlike fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (AKA FODMAPS), which ferment rapidly in the gut, resistant starch ferments slowly. This helps limit gas production, which can lead to bowel distention and discomfort. Resistant starch can be found in a mix of grains, vegetables, and beans. Even baked potatoes are on the menu, just make sure to let them cool before serving to increase the resistant starch content.[2]

 

  1. Relax, have a laugh: The holidays are an opportunity to reset and recharge. It's easy to get caught up in a rush and forget to sit back and take a moment to appreciate the finer things in life. The problem with stress is that both the brain and the gut are affected, thanks to the so-called gut-brain axis. Studies have shown that stress can negatively impact gut ecology and function.[3] Taking the time to take care of your mental health may be just what your gut needs! 
  2. Probioticsfor gut health – Ever wondered which probiotics are considered best for gut health? Well, of course you are not alone, but unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Best Probiotics for Gut Health = Best Probiotics for Gut Health. Everyone has their own needs when it comes to maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which can be influenced by factors such as diet, life stage, health status, and medications. That's why Life-Space offers a wide range of probiotic formulas to suit different life stages and deliver targeted benefits. * 
  3. Take an after-dinner stroll – While it may be tempting to take a nap after a large meal, it can increase the likelihood of developing gastric reflux.[4]Instead, doing moderate exercise, like walking around the block when you see your neighbor's Christmas lights, can help reduce the chance of reflux! 

At the end of the day, it's all about balance. Making a few simple tweaks can help you (and your gut) survive and thrive on vacation. 

Life-Space Team

*For individual health advice, please speak to your health professional.

[1] Le Roy CI, Wells PM, Si J, Raes J, Bell JT, Spector TD. Red wine consumption associated with increased gut microbiota α-diversity in 3 independent cohorts. Gastroenterology. 2020 Jan 1;158(1):270-

[2] Fuentes‐Zaragoza E, Sánchez‐Zapata E, Sendra E, Sayas E, Navarro C, Fernández‐López J, Pérez‐Alvarez JA. Resistant starch as prebiotic: A review. Starch‐Stärke. 2011 Jul;63(7):406-15.

[3] Foster JA, Rinaman L, Cryan JF. Stress & the gut-brain axis: regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiology of stress. 2017 Dec 1;7:124-36.

[4] Karim S, Jafri W, Faryal A, Majid S, Salih M, Jafri F, Hamid S, Shah HA, Nawaz Z, Tariq U. Regular post dinner walk; can be a useful lifestyle modification for gastroesophageal reflux. Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 2011;61(6):526.


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