Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide

Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide

‘Tis the season for tasty treats, hectic schedules, and irregular sleep patterns, often leading to digestive discomfort, indigestion, acid reflux, irregular bowel movements, and more.

As the holiday season ushers in a wave of festive treats, parties, alcohol, and big meals, navigating the fine line between participating in the fun and maintaining healthy habits can be tricky. 

As gut health experts, we’re flooded with questions like “How to handle holiday dinners if you have digestive issues?” and “What are your best tips for staying healthy over the holidays?” Amidst the joyous chaos, managing healthy food choices and the heightened stress of holiday preparations can wreak havoc on your gut and immune system. 

We want you to be as prepared, happy, and healthy as possible this season. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the ways the holiday season can impact your gut and discuss practical tips for navigating gut health challenges during social gatherings. 

6 Ways the Holidays Can Impact Gut Health

Understanding how and why the holidays can impact your gut is the first step in striking a balance and finding a balance throughout the season. 

1. Excessive Sugar & Processed Foods

While delicious, holiday treats like pumpkin pie and frosted sugar cookies are often full of sugar and processed ingredients. Too much sugar can lead to an overgrowth of harmful microbes and disturb the delicate balance of gut bacteria. 

2. Rich and Fatty Foods 

With all the meat, butter, cream, and other delicious ingredients, there’s no doubt holiday meals tend to be richer than our typical diets — and higher in fat. Consuming excess fatty foods can impact your gut microbiota and lead to feelings of heaviness and increase the risk of gastrointestinal diseases.

3. Alcohol Consumption

Increased alcohol intake is common during holiday celebrations. In addition to the normal risks associated with excessive drinking, alcohol can irritate the lining of the digestive tract and cause inflammation. This can disrupt the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal system and limit the immune system’s ability to fight off unwanted pathogens.

4. Caffeine Intake

Irregular schedules, extra travel, and the stress of the busy holiday season may lead to higher caffeine consumption. Caffeine can stimulate acid production in the stomach and potentially exacerbate acid reflux symptoms and other issues. Too much caffeine can also impact sleep schedules, which doesn’t allow our gut time to heal and work properly. 

5. Lack of Sleep

Irregular sleep patterns and insufficient sleep can affect the digestive system's circadian rhythm. This disruption may lead to slower digestion, poor dietary and health decisions, and increased susceptibility to digestive discomfort.

6. Emotional Eating

Stress and hectic schedules may contribute to emotional eating, where individuals turn to comfort foods. This type of eating can negatively impact gut health, as it often involves the consumption of less nutritious and more processed foods.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Gut Health Issues

Now, let’s look for ways to combat these common holiday issues and keep your gut as aligned as possible. 

Plan Ahead

Before heading out to a holiday social event, plan your meals and snacks. This is especially important for those that struggle with gluten or lactose intolerance or other health conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

If you’re going to a potluck or someone’s home, you may be wondering how to handle holiday dinners if you have digestive issues. Talk to the host and offer to bring a dish that aligns with your dietary needs. That ensures there's a gut-friendly option available for you and everyone else at the table. 

When possible, don’t go to a get-together starving. Fill up on some gut-healthy snacks first so that it’s easier to make healthy choices later.

Mindful Eating

It can be easy to just dive into all the delicious treats, but make it a point to savor every bite this holiday season. Slowing down and being mindful about your eating can help prevent overeating and reduce digestive discomfort. 

Be sure to sit down while you eat, chew slowly, and focus on your body's hunger and fullness cues. This will allow your digestive system to keep up. 

During social events, take breaks between courses. This allows your digestive system time to process the food and can prevent feelings of discomfort.

Opt for Gut-Friendly Foods

Choose foods that are gentle on the digestive system and build up your gut microbiome, focusing on vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins

Choose resistant starches that are easier on your stomach, like beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains.  These options can help maintain a balanced and nourishing diet during festive gatherings.

While indulging in holiday treats is tempting, be selective. Choose your indulgences wisely, and consider opting for smaller portions to satisfy cravings without overdoing it.

When possible, you can also incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha. These can contribute to a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

Take a Step Back & Manage Stress

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the packed schedules, endless gatherings, and the hustle and bustle of the season. Don’t forget to relax, soak up the good times, and protect your mental health. 

At Somaya Life, we believe in radical self care, which includes taking care of every aspect of your mind, body, and spirit. There’s a bidirectional brain-gut connection, with research showing that stress and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression are interlinked. 

Make it a point to calm your mind through journaling, meditation, and more throughout the holiday season. During social engagements, engage in activities you enjoy, and strike a balance between socializing and taking time for yourself.

Stay Hydrated

Stay well-hydrated by drinking water throughout the event. Hydration supports digestion and keeps your body operating at peak efficiency. 

When you’re on the go and eating extra salt and fatty foods, you may need even more water than normal. In addition to numerous benefits of water, it also helps you avoid overindulgence in less gut-friendly beverages that are full of sugar, like soda and alcohol.

The general recommendation is 6-8 cups of water per day, but you may need more of less depending on your body and overall health. 

Get Outdoors & Active

While it may be tempting to stay bundled up indoors, even a short walk around the block is helpful! 

Grab your family and friends if you’d like, or steal away for a bit of peace and quiet while you’re moving your body.

Exercise helps keep things moving properly through your system and has been shown to positively impact the good bacteria in your gut

Try Digestive Supplements

Sometimes we just need a little boost. Somaya Life anthrobiotics contain targeted Smart StrainsTM of good bacteria that your body needs to get real results. 

Somaya Life will help you naturally balance your microbiome this holiday season!

Our targeted strains improve digestion, immune communication, microbiome balance, and gut acid to help you avoid holiday gut health issues. And unlike many typical probiotic supplements, Somaya Life is allergy-friendly and has minimal added ingredients for the best possible results. 


Previous Article Next Article
Meander Pattern