Gut Healthy Holidays
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Gut Healthy Holidays

Kara Jacobson

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5 Simple ways to keep your gut happy during the holidays

1. Heap on the veggies

Aim to eat a wide variety of plants each week. One study found that people who ate around 30 types of variable plant-based foods had the most diverse gut flora.

How? It's easy! If we think about plants as everything from wheat to broccoli herbs, fruits and nuts, the possibilities are endless! So when you pull up a chair to the holiday dinner table, do a little tally. You can do it, put your gut into it!

2. Drink plenty of water (and eat water-rich foods!)

Since H20 is key for moving things along, it should come as no surprise that staying hydrated helps to keep digestion on track.

Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb important nutrients. Water also (eh hem) softens stool, which helps prevent constipation -to keep you feeling light & comfortable!

How? Drink water with or after meals. Enjoy hydrating foods like juicy fruits, green leafy vegetables, and warming soups and stews. Liquids like coffee, tea, sparkling water, and kombucha count for hydration as well – just make sure that you're also getting enough regular water in addition to the other more flavorful bevs you enjoy.

3. Ease up on the alcohol

Enjoying a craft beer or a holiday cocktail can be a fun and delicious way to celebrate the season. But keeping that consumption moderate is important for maintaining a happy, healthy gut.

Excessive alcohol consumption tends to increase inflammation in the gut, which affects your “good” gut bacterial balance and may make your intestinal lining more permeable to unwanted intruders.

How to limit? Incorporate creative mocktails and tasty booze-free bevs into your holiday party routine! Sometimes, just having a glass of anything in your hand as you socialize with friends or sit by a cozy fire is enough to satisfy the celebratory spirit - so explore swapping booze some nights for kombucha, sparkling water, or gut-healthy mocktails.

4. Prioritize Sleep

We know, we know. Sometimes you just can't sleep with Santa on the way. But try to curb your anticipation and set a consistent sleep schedule around the holidays.

Like any system, your gut needs its beauty rest! When you're asleep, your digestive and sympathetic nervous systems go into low power mode, which allows them to regenerate and prepare for the work they'll do the next day (think: processing that holiday meal and keeping your Flight or Fight mechanism in check). Being well-rested doesn't just make you feel more energetic, it makes your systems more efficient too!

How? Do your best to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day (within a 30-60 minute range is ideal). Develop a before-bed routine that inspires relaxation-whether it's a hot bath, an essential oil with a calming scent, or reading a great book. Being consistent not only encourages a healthy sleep routine-it also helps your digestion stay consistent as well.

5. Seek out joy!

It's no secret that the holidays can be stressful, and when you're stressed your insides feel it too.

But these winter days are also a notoriously joyous time. And lucky for us humans, our sense of joy & belonging comes from the release of the hormone oxytocin. Also known as the love hormone, oxytocin is famous for bonding among loved ones.

How? A few ways to boost oxytocin include, exercising, hugging a loved one, singing or listening to music as a group (get ready for those holiday carols!) and even petting a furry family pet.

So ensure you're getting quality time with the ones you love, nurture your microbiome, and soak up all the good gut vibes this holiday season!

Cheers to a happy & healthy new year.

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