The festive season is upon us again and for many of us that usually means endless plates of Christmas ham and pudding, along with one too many glasses of wine. Unfortunately, this can have serious consequences for our gut health. So how can we keep our gut bacteria balanced without missing out on all of those delicious treats that we deserve after a tough year?
Limit your alcohol intake
A few glasses of wine or a couple of beers over Christmas is okay, but drinking excessively over this short period can disrupt your gut bacteria. Our gastrointestinal tract (mouth, stomach and intestines) is the first part of the body that alcohol comes into contact with, so it’s no surprise to know that it can greatly affect it. In fact, studies show that alcohol promotes bacterial overgrowth. This can lead to an increase in the release of endotoxins, which causes inflammation in the body.
Alcohol can also kill some good gut bacteria and damage the cells on the lining of our intestine, which may lead to leaky gut. Reduce the number of alcoholic drinks that you consume, increase your water intake and swap the champagne for red wine. One study in the United Kingdom found that people who drank red wine had healthier levels of bacteria in their gut than people who drank other types of alcohol.
Minimise processed and sugary foods
Highly processed and sugary foods are a mainstay for many families over Christmas. Chocolate rum balls, pudding, trifle, cookies and white Christmas slice, the list goes on…
A diet high in sugar can decrease the amount of good bacteria in our gut, leading to an imbalance. Sugar contributes to inflammation and many may feel bloated, lethargic and uncomfortable.
Incorporate prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are a form of dietary fibre that help feed the good bacteria in our gut. Eating prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, bananas, onions, barley, asparagus, oats and leeks can help restore a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
To our Living Naturally community, thank you for you support throughout the year. We’re excited for 2022 and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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