4 things to avoid (and one to embrace) for a happy gut this silly season
Gut health is vital to your wellbeing, both physically and mentally. But it can get thrown out of whack, what with Christmas parties, excessive drinking, and copious amounts of food at this time of year. Here, The Beauty Chef Carla Oates shares her tricks to keep your microbiome happy these holidays.
While it’s certainly okay to indulge over the holidays, don’t be too hard on yourself and instead, strive for a balance rather than perfection.
As we head towards the holiday season, here are a few simple tried and tested techniques that I use to help me be more mindful and to ensure I am nourishing my gut while enjoying the festivities.
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Avoid sugar overload and eat fibre
Sugar feeds pathogenic bacteria in our gut, which can cause digestive upset and imbalance. It also alters the way our body handles sugar metabolism and in turn, impacts our stress and cortisol levels.
Focus on eating more fibere-rich foods. Not only does fibre slow down the absorption of sugars from your gut, but it helps to feed your gut microbiome. Your gut bugs feed on fibre to create short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which regulate your immune, brain, metabolic and skin health, which supports the way you look and feel.
Avoid dropping your daily rituals
Despite the joy that it brings, the holiday season can often feel a little chaotic. Simple and grounding rituals are the key to maintaining a healthy mind, glowing skin, and a happy gut.
Whether you’re a fan of morning meditation or you’re partial to a twilight stroll, it’s important to continue carving out time for the rituals that you enjoy and help you to feel balanced.
Avoid drinking alcohol every night of the week
Not only will your liver be happier, but your gut bugs will thank you too for committing to some alcohol-free nights each week.
Too much alcohol causes stress to your digestive system and potential imbalances in your gut microbiome. Try a dash of one of the Inner Beauty Boosts in sparkling water for a luxe mocktail. Make breakfast dates with friends, instead of dinner dates where you might feel more pressure to drink alcohol.
Avoid being sedentary
Understandably, the gym is probably the last thing on your mind during the holidays. Embrace incidental exercise and make a conscious effort to take the stairs, walk to the shops and do a few extra laps of the water when you’re at the beach.
Alternating between standing and sitting, carrying your groceries, and walking to meet up with friends (as opposed to meeting up for a drink) are all simple ways to incorporate more movement into your day.
During the holidays, it’s nice to loosen the reins a little and enjoy the opportunity to share delicious meals with family and friends. And for me, it’s important not to feel guilty about enjoying a good glass of red wine or chocolate.
Choose healthier indulgences where possible, like opting for dark chocolate over sugary milk chocolate, or bliss balls, instead of rum balls. I try to maintain an attitude of balance, and if I’m hosting, I always ensure there are as many gut-friendly options on offer as possible.
Carla Oates is a gut health guru, the founder of The Beauty Chef and author of The Beauty Chef Cookbook.