Top tips to survive Christmans when you have gut trouble.
If you have IBS, bloating, heartburn, or are prone to indigestion then these five tips should help you avoid gut trouble at Christmas, without feeling like you’re missing out.
And best of all?
You definitely won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself at all.
Tip #1 – How to avoid gut trouble at Christmas – keep anxiety under control
Accept that you probably are anxious and stressed, even if you don’t feel like you are in the moment. It’s usual not to feel like you’re stressed while you’re stressed, but you may well recognise it as such afterwards.
Anxiety, worry and digestive symptoms such as IBS unfortunately often go hand in hand. Your gut and brain are always talking to each other so it’s very important to avoid anxiety as far as you can.
Unfortunately Christmas and all the running around shopping, wrapping and cooking can cause even the most laid back people to become stressed – so make sure you ask for help when you need it, if you want to avoid aggravating those IBS symptoms.
When we experience stress (and it doesn’t have to be excessive) we tend to produce less stomach acid and digestive enzymes, and it also has a negative impact on our friendly gut bacteria. This can result in uncomfortable digestion and excessive bloating and gas.
If you don’t already, a crucial part in overcoming gut symptoms is learning to manage stress with techniques such as meditation and yoga. If you’re already in the habit of practicing these, then remember to fit them in over the festive season too.
Christmas survival tip #2 Eat mindfully
This leads us nicely into tip number two – eat mindfully.
You need to get your body into the right mode for eating, especially if you’re sitting down to a large meal, larger than you usually eat. You need to smell your food and relax to get those digestive juices flowing nicely.
A good way to do this is to take some time before eating to do some simple breathing exercises.
Here’s a good one –
Breathe in for a count of six
Hold for a count of six
Breathe out for a count of six
Repeat this several times until you feel yourself begin to relax.
If you’re feeling stressed and eating lots more than you usually would, you may not be producing sufficient levels of digestive enzymes to properly digest your food. This is where apple cider vinegar may help you – add a tablespoon of ACV to a glass of warm water before meals to help stimulate your digestive system.
Avoid gut trouble at Christmas tip #3 Avoid overeating
Although it might seem easier said than done over Christmas, a few simple tweaks to your diet will really help here. Overeating may strain your already sensitive digestive system and lead to discomfort.
A great way to avoid overindulging is to focus on high protein foods. These foods take much longer to digest than high carb foods, so help you feel not only full, but avoid your blood sugar levels soaring and plunging – which is what gives you cravings.
Focus on these types of foods which are loaded with protein –
Smoked salmon and other fish
On the other hand, examples of high carb foods – which tend to keep you craving – are things like roast potatoes, pastries, cakes, and canapés.
#5 – How to avoid digestive symptoms over Christmas – try probiotics
You could try a good quality probiotic. Some people find these really help, but unfortunately other people find they make their symptoms worse.
Because, for example if you have a condition called SIBO, which is essentially bacteria growing in the wrong place, you may make your symptoms worse. This is why testing your gut to see what your underlying problem is, is important.
Tip 4 – keep hydrated (vital to avoid gut trouble at Christmas)
Water is vital for your digestive system, it really does keep everything lubricated and moving along nicely. It also helps you avoid constipation.
The temptation is always there over christmas to consume too much alcohol – this is very dehydrating and the dehydration will wreak havoc with your digestive system.
You need plenty of water on board to ensure your gut can make all the digestive enzymes and acids it needs to.
Keeping hydrated will also help your liver to detoxify if it is getting over burdened.
When you do drink alcohol, make sure it’s a good quality wine and drink less of it – avoid anything too sugary. Aim to alternate an alcoholic drink water to keep things moving along nicely.
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