How to Show Yourself Extra Love This Valentine’s Day
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How to Show Yourself Extra Love This Valentine’s Day

Health-Ade Marketing

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February might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s definitely not short on opportunities to celebrate love. While Valentine’s Day is traditionally a holiday focused on expressing your love for others, it can also be a great reminder to focus on loving and caring for yourself, too.

Speaking of you—did you know that you’re made up of around 30 trillion human cells and 38 trillion bacteria? (1) The majority of these bacteria are found inside your digestive tract, which is one of the reasons why we’re on a mission to educate and empower you to care for your gut health!

We’re here with a few ideas to help you put a gut-happy spin on some of the most popular Valentine’s Day celebrations.

1. A bouquet of…fiber!

A beautiful bouquet of flowers is always a great gift for yourself or that special someone. But you know what your gut loves even more than a pretty vase of flowers to decorate the dinner table? Fiber.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. As a result, it passes through your GI tract until it reaches your large intestine where the bacteria present in your colon begin to metabolize it and release things like short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and enzymes. These are referred to as “postbiotics” and research indicates that they can play a role in managing blood sugar levels, strengthening your immune system, reducing digestive discomforts, and more (2). A regular fiber intake can also help manage cholesterol levels and keep things moving smoothly through your digestive system. Talk about a win-win!

If you’re stopping by the store to pick up some Valentine’s Day flowers, consider strolling by the produce aisle to build a “bouquet” of your favorite fruits and veggies, too!

Dark chocolate? Yes please!

February wouldn’t be the same without heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. But if you’re looking for a gut-health bonus in your chocolate traditions this year, consider trying out some dark chocolate!

Quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is packed with several micronutrients, including, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium. It’s also considered rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals that can cause cell damage in the body. Some research even suggests that the fiber found in dark chocolate can affect the growth of select gut microflora in humans, making it a food with potential prebiotic benefits (3,4). All this to say, dark chocolate is packed with nutrients that may help fuel and protect some of the good bacteria found in your gut!

If you’re hoping to select a chocolate that benefits more than just your tastebuds this Valentine’s Day, go for one with at least 70% cacao solids or more. The higher the percentage of cacao solids, the higher the antioxidant and nutrient content of the chocolate.

3. Pop the bubbly!

A party isn’t complete without a bottle of bubbly—but there are so many fun, bubbly beverages to enjoy beyond the expected champagne or sparkling wine. You may already know that alcohol can be a major disruptor to your gut microbiome, but did you know that many common swaps for alcoholic beverages (like kombucha or prebiotic sodas like SunSip) can support your gut health? You get the satisfaction of something bubbly, delicious, and full of flavor while supporting your gut… what’s not to love?

Whether you participated in Dry January and are hoping to keep it up, or you’re looking for a non-alcoholic option to toast on Valentine’s Day you’re in luck. Here are a few of our favorite Valentine-inspired kombucha mocktails:

  • Mix Guava Dragon Fruit Health-Ade Kombucha, a splash of lime juice and seltzer water in a sugar-rimmed glass
  • Pour Bubbly Rose Health-Ade Kombucha in a wine glass and garnish with a few frozen strawberries
  • Combine our seasonal Mango Lemonade Health-Ade Kombucha with Raspberry ice cubes (just ice cubes made out of raspberry juice). Try making the ice cubes in a heart-shaped tray for something extra fun and festive!

4. Take some you time and cheers to a self-care filled February!

Stress is a common aspect of daily life that can have a significant impact on your gut (and overall) health. Some research indicates that chronic stress can alter your gut bacteria’s composition through stress hormones and inflammation (5). Stress can also impact the movement of food through your digestive system, leading to an array of digestive discomforts. Not to mention that during high-stress times you may find it more challenging to maintain feel-good, gut-supporting habits like getting enough rest, moving your body, and eating a variety of foods.

While it’s unrealistic to avoid all stressors in life, it’s important to find simple and realistic ways to care for your mental health. Try to be kind to your mind during this love-focused month and take some time to slow down and recharge.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4991899/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332222005273
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21068351/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34530112/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7213601/#R12

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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