The holiday season can be a wonderful time to enjoy the festivities, have fun, and share an opportunity to spend time with loved ones. But for some, they can be a source of dread in the form of unrelenting digestive problems. The good news is that you don’t have to be a humbug to prevent holiday digestive woes from holding you back. Try these health expert strategies this year to transform your tummy from ‘naughty’ to ‘nice’ and enjoy the season again.
Master Your Water Intake
Good gut health practices begin long before that scheduled holiday party, and one of the key things you can do is to drink a glass or two of lukewarm water with a squirt of lemon first thing in the morning. Staying well hydrated is also important for the digestive system to function at its best. Be careful not to drink too much water while you’re eating, though. Bogging your system down with water while it’s breaking down food can dilute digestive juices and serve more as a hindrance than a help.
Keep Things Moving
The muscles in your digestive tract are always moving along, so it makes sense that they benefit from exercise. A regular exercise routine can assist in the prevention and relief of constipation, gas, bloating, weight gain, and feelings of heaviness. Gentle forms of exercise like walking and yoga are particularly good at ‘opening up more real estate’ if you’ve eaten a large meal, and they help prime digestive juices for the next buffet you’re going to. You don’t have to wait until January to establish a healthy exercise routine, either. Prime Wellness offers several exercise programs to help your GI tract stay ahead of the game and become a calorie burning machine.
Support a Healthy Population
Prebiotics and probiotics, of course, play an important part in your digestive and immune systems during the holidays and any other time of the year. That’s why you must take care to keep your food combinations as balanced as possible so the healthy bacteria population in your GI tract doesn’t become an endangered species! Consider taking a high-quality probiotic supplement for extra support through all of those holiday foods with high carb, fat, and sugar content. Prebiotics are certain enzymes that feed your good bacteria to keep them strong.
Go with Your Gut Feeling
Believe it or not, there really is such a thing as a ‘gut feeling’ with your digestive health. Over 100 million neurons that send information to your nervous system reside in the stomach and intestines, and it’s for this reason your GI tract is fondly referred to as the ‘second brain.’ In short, this means your stomach basically decides for itself whether your body will work with the food you ingest or not. And sometimes, your stomach is a tough judge.
With this in mind, try to be aware of what your body is telling you when you eat. Do certain food combinations make you feel better or worse? Do you get more energy eating certain foods, or do you feel gross inside? It’s also important to eat slowly so you give your stomach a chance to tell you when it is full and prevent overeating. Mindless grazing and stuffing yourself taxes your GI tract to work harder than it really needs to. It’s best to eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you feel comfortably full.
Have a Backup Plan
Even when we’re diligent in keeping our GI tracts happy slipups happen, especially during the holidays. If you’re suffering on the couch after two helpings of turkey dinner (and mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, and cookies, and who knows what else), don’t panic! There are a number of naturally sourced remedies to help rescue you from your misery, including the following:
Digestive enzymes – Most gastrointestinal issues arise from problems with breaking down the food in the first place. Taking digestive enzymes can help alleviate the ‘logjam’ and get you back on track. SpectraZyme Metagest provides enzymes that complement digestive agent production.
Zinc Carnosine – This powerful mineral is an excellent rescue for mild tummy troubles when others fall short. It helps alleviate heartburn, nausea, and upset stomach by restoring the GI tract environment to its prior healthy state. Zinlori 75 from Metagenics is a good complex to use.
Probiotics – Look for formulas designed to relieve acute symptoms such as bloating, abdominal discomfort, cramping, and elimination distress. Metagenic’s UltraFlora IB and UltraFlora Acute Care are particularly helpful in these situations.
For more expert health tips and tricks, contact Dr. Austin and the Prime Wellness staff for details. We hope you have a healthy and happy holiday season!