Digestive Tips for the Holidays
December’s here, and food wise, that means it’s temptation city. Everywhere you look, it seems like someone is trying to get you to go against your better instincts. That cookie platter in the break room. The chocolates at your hair salon. Those seasonal goodies lining the shelves of the grocery store. Not to mention all the rich and sweet foods you’re probably making at home. It’s enough to make anyone overindulge. Which means if you’re not careful, digestive troubles may be in your future.
Here are a few commonsense ways to enjoy a little indulgence, while making sure your tummy stays happy and healthy during the holidays.
- Watch Portions. Unless you have a serious bowel illness, you probably don’t have to forgo your favourite foods at holiday celebrations. Often all that’s needed is moderation. At a buffet, walk the whole length of the table first to see what you really want, rather than taking a big portion of the first thing that looks good.
- Eat Slowly. Did you know it takes 20 minutes to feel full after you start eating? That’s why gobbling your food can make you overeat — your brain hasn’t gotten the message from your stomach that it’s full yet. If you eat slowly and really savour your food, you may find you’re satisfied with less.
- Know Your Body. That said, some foods just don’t agree with some people. If you know fried food leaves you feeling queasy, step away from the latkes, or have a very small portion. A few minutes of pleasure is not worth the price you’ll pay for hours.
- Fill up on Fibre. A lot of holiday foods aren’t very high in fibre, which can cause a bout of constipation. To make your colon comfy, make sure you’re getting your fill of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains before you dig into the sugar cookies.
- A good way to prevent constipation is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Also remember that caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate you, so go easy on the peppermint mochas and boozy eggnog.
- Take Care of Yourself. We’ve all been guilty of eating our feelings at times. No judgment! The holidays bring joy, but they also bring stress, what with all the extra work of shopping, decorating, and baking, plus the hassle of travel. (Not to mention the new worry of catching a dread disease.) Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and exercising and doing whatever makes you feel centered (whether that’s yoga, meditation, time alone or in nature). You’ll be less frazzled and thus less tempted to overeat.
- Take Probiotics. One surefire way to protect your digestive health is to make sure you have a good balance of gut bacteria, with the helpful ones outnumbering the baddies. Eating foods with beneficial bacteria like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchi is one way to do this. You can also take a probiotic. Or both. (We’re in favour of the belt and suspenders approach when it comes to gut health.) And to keep the good bugs happy once they’re in your gut, send plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables their way because those are their favourite foods.
- Add Enzymes. Another factor that affects whether your GI tract makes you happy or sad is digestive enzymes, which help you digest all manner of food. There are loads of different kinds of digestive enzymes, each a specialist at breaking down a specific component of food (such as carbs, protein, fat, milk sugar, fibre, etc.) Some people don’t make enough digestive enzymes, or they may be missing one entirely. For example, lactose intolerance occurs in people who don’t make lactase.
Flora offers a wide range of probiotics and enzymes, including:
- Probiotics for every life stage, including toddlers, children, adults, and seniors
- Special probiotic formulas for women, travelers, oral health, yeast balance, and sensitive digestive systems.
- Three different blends of digestive enzymes, including an all-around digestive combination, a blend for diets high in protein and fibre, and a formula for adults aged 65+.
When it comes to digestion, we’ve got you covered. Happy, healthy holidays from everyone at Flora!