BLOG BY Rhiannon Lambert

Maintaining A Healthy Gut Over Christmas

The festive period can be overwhelming. We are surrounded with an abundance of delicious food and alcohol, and our usual routine is often disrupted. Whilst this time of year should be cherished and enjoyed, the disruption can leave people with poor gut health and problems in the new year. In this blog we are sharing some tips and tricks that can help you maintain your healthy gut during this indulgent time of year!

Start the day with consistency

Breakfast is one of the easiest meals of the day to keep you in a routine, and it’s a great way to ensure you are feeding your gut right. High fibre breakfasts are important for effective gut functioning1,2, an example being oat-based porridges or cereals. This is because non-digestible fibre contributes to an increase in faecal bulk, aiding healthy digestion.1 GoodBelly cereal is high in oat fibre, offering 10g of fibre per 100g. With the recommended serving size providing over 10% of your daily recommendation, it is definitely a fibre-packed start to the day.1,2  

Try to reduce stress

Our brain and gut microbiota are linked, and this is called our ‘gut-brain-axis’.3 The stress we feel can not only slow down digestion, it can also cause pain, bloating and make you constipated.4 This is because the anxiety and worry we feel at times of stress, can disturb our digestive system, which in turn can disturb our gut microbiota.4 Eating regular, small meals can be one way to combat this problem. Rather than skipping your breakfast to compensate for the festive dinners, make sure you are nourishing your body throughout the day!

Live cultures can help maintain the balance of your gut bacteria

Whilst we often indulge during festive periods, we can choose to have more of foods that contain live cultures. These live cultures are naturally present in our gut, and are important for healthy digestion. You can find them in foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, yoghurts and they can even be added to cereals such as GoodBelly! There has also been some research showing that certain live cultures may help with bloating for people with IBS, which may help during this festive time.5 However, it is important to remember that everyone is unique and there is no strong evidence to suggest live cultures will definitely help improve IBS symptoms, its important to find out what works best for you.

Whilst you may feel pressure to keep healthy over the Christmas period, it is a time of year that is meant to be cherished. It is important to focus on the experiences you are making, rather than what you ‘should’ be eating. However, starting the day with food your gut enjoys may just help you stick to a routine, in what can be, a chaotic time of year for many!

References

1.https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/fibre

2.https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/

3.https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

4.https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/five-lifestyle-tips-for-a-healthy-tummy/

5.https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/probiotics.pdf

6. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/foodfacts/functional-foods.html?start=4

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