The holiday season is coming, and indulging in your favorite annual treats may be the highlight of your winter. But if you have noticed that certain foods don’t make you feel as good as they used to, you may have a sensitivity in your gut. Gut health can have a huge impact on your overall well-being, and the doctors at Integrative Medicine, Laser and Aesthetics in West Carmel want to help you enjoy the holidays while also staying healthy.
A healthy gut is one that maintains a delicate balance of good versus bad bacteria. Explains Dr. CJ Pabla, MD, “Gut dysbiosis is the loss of number and diversity of healthy bacteria and the overgrowth of pathogenic organisms such as Candida, parasites and certain strains of bacteria.”
When your gut is in dysbiosis, you may notice problems with your immune system, heart health, brain health, mood disorders, sleep conditions, and obviously digestion. When we look for the root cause of a patient’s chronic illnesses, it often comes back to their gut health.
Any time of year, but especially during the holidays, you want to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut in order to keep it from moving into dysbiosis. You can do this with probiotic supplements, or by drinking kefir, which is also rich in probiotics.
Prebiotic fiber also feeds your healthy gut bacteria, and it can be found in the resistant starches of holiday favorites such as roasted potatoes, vegetables or cooked grains. Allow them to cool down for the resistant starch to form, and you can reheat if you wish and still receive gut benefits.
Although we all love a good post-meal nap during the holidays, it’s best to keep things moving both inside and outside your body. Taking a walk after your holiday meal will help your stomach move your food into your intestines quicker, and prevent reflux from occurring.
Drinking plenty of water will help keep your gut moving things along, especially if you are partaking in common dehydrating holiday treats like salty foods, caffeine or alcohol. And a bonus- staying hydrated works wonders for your skin and will keep you looking your best as we kiss 2020 goodbye.
The holidays can often be a free-for-all of sweets and treats, but you may feel the “holiday hangover” the next day. You can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods… but in moderation. Says Dr. Jason Amich, DHSc, MBA, “We approach all this with a dose of realism and common sense. Yes, dairy-free might be the best road for a patient, but we don’t want patients scared to death to have a slice of cheesecake.”
When it comes to your holiday meal, we recommend trying smaller portions and eating slower. Completely chewing your food will make digestion easier, and eating slowly will allow you to feel (and stop) when you are truly full.
If you have concerns about your gut health, reach out to our providers at Integrative Medicine, Laser and Aesthetics to learn more about our functional approach to your well-being. You can schedule your appointment online or by calling 800-538-5513.