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How to get ready for the holidays and safeguard your gut health

How to get ready for the holidays and safeguard your gut health

Christmas parties, end-of-year get-togethers, and holiday catch-ups are all on the horizon for many of us — all COVID-safe, of course. All of that party food and takeout, on the other hand, can be harmful to your gut health. Gut health is important. Your gut is an important component of your immune system.

How to get ready for the holidays and safeguard your gut health

In fact, 70% of your immune system is centered on your gut, and the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which stores a variety of immune cells in your gut, is a key element of that.  Gut health includes not only your gut microbiome — the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other small creatures that reside inside you and help break down your food — but also your gastrointestinal system’s cells and function. Because of the gut-brain axis, we know that gut health can affect mood. However, there is a gut-lung axis and a gut-liver axis, which means that what happens in your stomach can have an impact on your respiratory system and liver. Here’s what you can do in the following weeks and months to help your gut microbiome.

What impact can holiday indulgences have on our gut health?

By modifying your diet, you can alter your gut microbiome in just a few days. And, over time, such as during the Christmas-New Year season, your eating habits might shift dramatically, frequently without your knowledge. That indicates the organisms that make up our microbiome may be altering during this time. Whatever you put in will favor specific bacteria over others in your microbiome. We already know that fatty, sugary diets promote microorganisms that aren’t good for intestinal health. And if you overindulge for days or weeks at a time, your microbiome will become unbalanced.

Is there anything I can do to prepare my gut for the impending attack?

Yes! It will take more to throw your gut out of whack if it is healthy to begin with. Make choices now that will feed the beneficial organisms in your gut microbiome and improve gut health.

What can I do to keep the harm to a minimum?

If you’re planning on eating more red meat or processed meat over the holidays, keep in mind that some studies have shown that high-red-meat diets can cause DNA damage in the colon, making you more susceptible to colorectal cancer. The good news is that additional study suggests that including a certain quantity of resistant starch in a diet strong in red meat can lessen or even eliminate this damage. So, along with a steak or sausage from the grill, try a serving of cold potato salad. Don’t forget to get some exercise over the holidays. Even a fast stroll will help move things along and keep your bowel movements regular, which is beneficial to your gut health.

Examine the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and keep in mind which foods belong in the “sometimes” category. Keep track of whether you’re eating these items “sometimes” or whether you’ve developed a habit of eating them much more regularly. The Bristol stool chart is the best and easiest way to check your gut health. You should be fine if you’re hitting about a 4. Keep in mind that there are no fast remedies. Your gut health is similar to that of a garden or ecosystem. You must tend to the good plants if you want them to grow; else, the weeds will take over. I know you’re weary of hearing the same old advice — eat fruits and veggies, exercise, and don’t overindulge in indulgences — but the truth is that good gut health is hard to achieve and easy to lose. It’s worthwhile to put out the effort. A proactive mindset is beneficial. Your gut health will be OK if you do the right thing most of the time and splurge once in a while.

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