How to keep your gut off the “naughty list” this holiday season

How to keep your gut off the “naughty list” this holiday season

Holidays are supposed to be filled with joy and good cheer, but that can be difficult if you struggle with irritable bowel syndrome* (IBS) or other digestive health concerns. A bulging to-do list and seasonal foods may result in painful gas, bloating and bathroom visits only suitable for the Grinch. This year, be nice to your gut by following these simple steps.

  1. Stick to your gut-friendly routine. Your gut may overreact if you change your habits or overindulge. If you usually eat small meals throughout the day, don’t skip a meal so you can over-indulge later at a holiday party.
  2. Consume more fiber. A high-fiber diet supports good digestive health. Experts suggest 25-38 grams a day for adults, but most of us get just 10 to 15. Get in the habit of adding Sunfiber to your morning water, coffee, smoothie or juice. Sunfiber promotes a healthy digestive balance without causing the excess gas or bloating associated with some other fibers.
  3. Take steps to de-stress. Meditation and yoga are great ways to unwind so find time to add or keep these in your schedule. Getting enough sleep may also help you manage your stress levels. Needs vary, but most adults need seven to nine hours of shut-eye per night.
  4. Choose low-FODMAP food choices. The term FODMAP is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress. If you’re FODMAP-sensitive, soothing your tummy troubles may be as easy as getting some of these potential troublemakers out of your diet. Many holiday favorites contain high-FODMAP ingredients such as honey, pears, apples, garlic, onions and milk.  This guide from Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Derek Timm provides tips to help you address the fiber deficiency when starting this dietary program.
  5. Get enough fluids. Staying hydrated may help minimize occasional constipation as well as keep your heart, brain and muscles working at their best. Drink water throughout the day and choose water-rich foods such as oranges, grapes and soups.

* According to the American College of Gastroenterology, IBS affects up to 15 percent of Americans, yet only 5 to 7 percent are actually diagnosed with the disease. That means there’s a good chance someone with tummy troubles will be celebrating the holidays with you.