Holiday season is here, and you know what that means – plenty of tasty food, delicious hot cocoa, and quality time with family and friends! Social gatherings around this time are often centered around eating a wide variety of rich foods that we may not be used to eating. Although they’re delicious, sometimes these heavier foods can be harder for our digestive system to navigate.
But not to worry! There are a couple of different ways to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year and maintain your digestive health at the same time!
Ready to learn some tips for better digestion? Let’s dive in.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Did you know that around 60% of our bodies are made of water? This makes staying hydrated essential to our wellbeing! Drinking enough water has a long list of benefits for our bodies. From helping to flush out toxins and promoting regular bowel movements to preventing kidney stones and maintaining blood pressure, staying hydrated is what keeps bodies (and our digestive systems) running smoothly. Water helps to break down food so that your body can better absorb its nutrients, and helps us avoid constipation. It also helps transport essential nutrients to various parts of the body, ultimately keeping us healthy.
How much water should you drink? While this can vary from person to person, most adults need around 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, where a glass is 250 mL (8 fl oz). Sometimes you may need to drink more water than usual. For example, if you’re travelling to a hot climate during the holidays you may sweat more, causing you to become dehydrated faster. On top of that, eating too many salty foods increases your sodium levels, which can throw off your kidneys, ultimately dehydrating your body. Try to look out for signs like feeling really thirsty, having a dry mouth, or not feeling like you need to go pee as often. Listening to your body and staying hydrated can help you enjoy the holidays, while keeping everything running smoothly.
Increase your fibre intake
Fibre is one of the most beneficial nutrients when it comes to maintaining healthy digestion. It’s something we definitely need during the holidays to help keep your bowel movements regular and easy to pass. There are two main types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. While soluble fibre helps food move through the digestive tract at a slower pace, insoluble fibre is known to add bulk to the stool, moving it out of the body at a faster rate. In other words, soluble fibre reduces your chances of experiencing diarrhea and keeps you full for longer periods of time, and insoluble fibre helps prevent constipation.
When you’re preparing your holiday menu, try to incorporate a few foods that are rich in fibre. Some great sources include pears, strawberries, carrots, beets, and broccoli. And don’t forget about the kiddos! If they’re not reaching for broccoli at the dinner table, try supplementing with Orange Naturals’ Kids Organic Fibre. It’s a completely tasteless powder, which makes it the perfect addition to their favourite drink. It can even be sprinkled on top of food. Goodbye tummy troubles, hello regular bowel movements!
Eat gut-healthy foods
The various foods we’re surrounded by during the holidays, whether sweet, salty, or starchy foods, can sometimes offset your friendly gut bacteria. Our gut microbiome is filled with numerous different types of bacteria. And when there is an imbalance or too much of one type of bacteria, it can cause digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and more. Foods like cakes, cookies, pies, and soft drinks, are all high in sugar. Since harmful bacteria feed off sugar, eating too much of these types of foods can lead to an unhealthy gut, resulting in those uncomfortable symptoms. On top of helping maintain healthy digestion, a healthy gut microbiome can even help strengthen immunity. That’s because more than 70% of the immune system can be found in our gut. So, a healthy gut microbiome is not only a win for your gut health, but also your immune health!
In order to increase the amount of friendly bacteria and restore balance in our gut microbiomes, try adding fermented foods to your diet. Foods like kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut are all great examples–they contain many beneficial probiotic-like bacteria that greatly benefit our gut. But sometimes, we need that extra support. That’s where a quality probiotic supplement such as Orange Naturals’ Everyday Probiotics comes in. This formula contains 5 predominant probiotic species naturally found in the human gut flora and is guaranteed to have a minimum of 14 billion live, friendly bacteria per capsule, even at the date of expiry. It’s designed to help maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora, support digestion, and strengthen immunity (particularly important around the holidays!). For the kids, try our Kids Probiotic Powder or Chewables to encourage favourable gut flora to strengthen immunity, reduce flu-like symptoms, and build strong bones and teeth.
Limit foods that don’t make you feel so good
Everyone’s got favourite foods they look forward to every holiday season – mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, casserole, the list goes on! But maybe some of these foods simply don’t sit well with your stomach anymore. Is it worth all the pain, gas, and bloating?
As tempting as it might be to reach for an extra helping of turkey stuffing or another glass of eggnog, these types of treats in excess have the ability to make us feel not so great. So, for your gut’s sake, try to avoid or limit foods that can cause an upset stomach.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy to help relieve digestion troubles, try Orange Naturals’ Digestion tincture. A blend of bitter herbs like artichoke leaf, angelica, dandelion, Gentian root, chamomile and more, this formula is designed to help reduce mild digestive disturbances like bloating and gas, increase digestive juices secretions, and promote proper digestion. Take 2 ml, 3 times per day and be sure to take it around 15 to 60 minutes before a big meal, on an empty stomach!
Slowing down and chewing your food well before swallowing is a great (and surprising!) way to improve your digestion. Since we often see these foods once a year, excitement can take over and before we know it we’re gobbling it up as fast as we can! But it can leave us with stomach cramping, bloating, gas and pain that no one enjoys.
The more you chew your food, the easier it is on your stomach. This is because chewing helps break down the food into smaller particles, taking some of the load off your stomach when it needs to break it down further into proteins and nutrients the body can use. On top of that, pacing yourself helps to make sure you’re not swallowing too much air, which is what causes bloating and gas. Plus, eating slowly helps you savour that delicious dish in front of you and truly enjoy every bit of it!
Navigating digestive health during the holidays can seem like a daunting task. But with these tips, you can rest assured that your gut health doesn’t take a step back during this festive time.
Staying on Top of Your Gut Health During the Holidays
Drinking Enough Water
22 High Fiber Foods You Should Eat
Beat the bloat: 11 traditional Christmas foods that give you gas
6 Expert Tips for Digestive Health Through the Holidays