How to Keep a Happy Gut during the Holiday Season

How to Keep a Happy Gut during the Holiday Season

Health-Ade Marketing

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I can’t believe I’m saying this…but the holiday season is here! No matter your feelings about this time of year, we can all agree that shorter days, cooler temperatures, and frequent social gatherings can make it challenging to find time for feel-good habits that support your gut health and overall well-being. But fear not! I’m here to share five things you can do this holiday season to be kind to your mind, body, and even your gut!

1. Be aware of stressors (and know how to manage them).

Odds are high that you’ll run into some stressful situations this time of year. From holiday travel to family gatherings to meeting end-of-the-year deadlines, there’s no doubt that this is a hectic season!

Your gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to stress and other strong emotions. Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach or needed to use the bathroom more frequently before a big test or presentation? If so, you’ve experienced the impact of acute stressors on your gut. Both acute and long-term stressors have the potential to shift the gut microbiota’s composition and function (1).

Eliminating all stressors isn’t necessary – or even realistic - but having several go-to stress management tools is a great idea during the holidays. Brainstorm a few activities that feel grounding for you and create time for them when you can! This could be taking time for yourself, reading a few pages in a book, listening to a podcast, calling a loved one… the list goes on!

2. Add IN gut-supporting food + beverages.

A restrictive approach to eating is so not the way to enjoy the holiday season. Not only does restrictive eating lead to more stress, guilt, and shame around food, but it also decreases your exposure to nutritional variety. When it comes to eating that supports gut health, variety is key.

Instead of focusing on foods to avoid this season, consider ways to enjoy your holiday favorite while also adding IN foods that make your gut happy. Think: fiber-containing foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains) and fermented foods (kefir, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and of course…kombucha)!

Fiber-containing foods offer prebiotics that serve as fuel for the health-promoting bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods can be a source of probiotics that help increase the number of good bacteria present in your gut! There’s also research to show that probiotics can be helpful in managing some GI discomforts like bloating (2).

3. Be mindful of alcohol consumption.

Here at Health-Ade, we stand by our you brew you mindset. This means that you get to celebrate the holidays with any food or beverage that’s enjoyable for you! If alcoholic drinks are part of your festivities, consider having them in moderation or maybe even swapping out your last cocktail of the evening for a mocktail. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, can promote intestinal inflammation, alter the kinds of bacteria present in the gut, and increase symptoms of bloating and acid reflux.

Our seasonal Holiday Cheers flavor makes a great base for gut-happy holiday mocktails. It also makes a fun hostess gift if you’re looking to show up to gatherings with a gift that will help everyone feel good from the inside out!

4. Find space for rest (and movement!)

Did you know that sleep plays an important role in regulating your hormones, immune system, cognitive function, and gut health? It’s true!
But with travel, holiday parties, and other curveballs this time of year may throw your way, it’s easy for your sleep patterns to be disrupted. Consider setting a realistic nightly sleep goal for the holiday season and think about the tools you need to make this happen (A travel-friendly noise machine? A simple nighttime routine that you can practice while at home or away?).

Although rest is important, we also can’t forget about the benefits of movement for both physical and mental health! Research suggests that exercise can increase the number of beneficial microbial species present in the gut (3). Movement can also be beneficial for digestion and helping to manage blood sugar after eating. Shorter days and busy social schedules may mean that your exercise routine looks a bit different now than at other points during the year but try to find time for some holiday season feel-good movement.

Here’s to having a holiday season packed with fun, togetherness, and a whole lot of Holiday Cheers!



This blog post was written by Claire Chewning, RDN & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

Claire Chewning

Claire is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who's not on board with restrictive diets. She’s the owner and founder of Yours Chewly Nutrition, a virtual private practice where she helps individuals heal from chronic dieting and disordered eating so that they can discover peace and trust in their relationships with food + body. She’s also Health-Ade’s Registered Dietitian Advisor and loves educating employees and consumers about all things gut health from a non-diet perspective! She even writes a few blogs from time to time. Cheers!

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