Beat the bloat at Christmas: Top tips for a healthy gut during the festive season

With Minna Wood from MetaWell

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Top Tips for a Healthy Gut During the Festive Season from Registered Nutritionist – Part 2

In Part 1 in November, I talked about how stress impacts our digestion and causes uncomfortable symptoms, e.g. bloating, cramping, upset stomach and constipation – not at all uncommon during the festive period. 

Now that you’re prioritising stress management and following my three top tips for improved digestion, let’s talk about a gut-friendly diet. 

Don’t be boring beige!

Ditch processed beige foods, full of refined flour and sugar! Too much beige can compromise gut health and the delicate microbial balance in the gut. Refined carbs and sugars feed the bad bacteria, leading to digestive discomfort. Sadly, beige seems to be the main colour at most Christmas party buffets. If you can, eat a healthy meal before you go to a party so you won’t arrive ravenous and can resist temptation. If there’s a choice, choose naturally colourful foods from the buffet. 

When you host your own parties, resist buying everything ready-made. Do some easy prep in advance, so the day of the party doesn’t feel like a mad rush. 

Lay your buffet table with colourful fresh foods such as crudités and hummus, fragrant mini salmon patties*, lettuce cups topped with avocado and smoked salmon, or spicy roasted chickpeas or nuts. Swap shop-bought sugar-laden chocolates and cakes for fresh berries and fruit (with a melted dark chocolate dip), dates stuffed with almond butter, or these cacao raspberry truffles**.

It doesn’t need to be complicated!

Feed your gut bugs a rainbow!

Your friendly gut bacteria are key to optimal digestive health! Keep the good bugs in the gut happy and well fed with colour and variety in your diet. They love naturally colourful foods, full of fibre, prebiotics and phytonutrients, such as veggies, fruits, berries, pulses, nuts and seed. They convert these to vitamins and many crucial anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic molecules. This not only benefits our digestive health but also our mental and overall health! 

Hydrate your body!

Keep your body well hydrated by drinking 1.5-2 litres of filtered water daily. Water keeps your bowels moving daily and is particularly important if you are constipated. Add ginger and lemon or other fresh flavour ingredients if you don’t like the taste of plain water.

Swap fizzy sugary/diet drinks to sparkling water or kombucha (gut-healthy probiotic fizzy drink) or chilled/iced green or herbal teas that can support healthy digestion. Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.

Give your digestive system a well-earned rest!

Give our digestion a good rest between meals. Leave 4-5 hours between meals (no snacking!) during the day and at least 12 hours overnight. This stimulates an important housekeeping function that sweeps undigested material – that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms if not cleared – through the digestive tract for elimination.  This function gets activated only after a long enough break from eating, so stop grazing!

Now you know how to enjoy the run-up to Christmas stress- and bloat-free and emerge the New Year glowing and healthy.

Stay tuned for tips on natural detox in my next column early January. 

To chat about how to keep your gut healthy and get support with a healthy eating plan, book your free 30-minute mini consultation with Minna here: https://calendly.com/metawell/

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