The festive season can be less cheery for those who struggle with Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. From bloating to excessive wind, diarrhoea to constipation, abdominal pain and reflux, gut issues can be extremely uncomfortable and cause some stress and anxiety at this time of the year.

As your social calendar is brimming with events that largely revolve around food and alcohol, consider these helpful strategies to keep your gut happy and healthy during the festivities!

  1. Include plenty of fibre

For many of us, we naturally reduce our intake of wholegrains, vegetables, and fruits during this time of the year. This Christmas, become conscious of your choices and try to ensure you’re hitting at least 25-30g of fibre per day. Try incorporating high fibre foods into your social events by contributing a delicious colourful salad, a tray of roast vegetables, piling on plenty of fruits on the pavlova, or including vegetable sticks with your festive dips. It can make the world of difference to your gut!

  1. Hydration is key

While alcohol may be the drink of choice over the holidays, make sure you’re prioritising H20, too. Alcohol significantly contributes to dehydration, which exacerbates GI symptoms to become worse. So, continue to aim to consume at least 2-3L per day over the festive period, and more if you’re drinking alcohol regularly, as well as in a hot climate. The colour of your urine is your best guide for hydration!

  1. Moderate Alcohol

While we celebrate everything in moderation, alcohol is a gut irritant, so it’s worth moderating when taking good care of your gut. There’s no doubt the holidays consist of plenty of festivities, so be mindful of your consumption and always alternate an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to maintain hydration. Also, non-alcoholic beverages (think fruit mocktails, fruit-infused soda water, and alike!) are always an option, too!

  1. Regular Exercise

Staying active during the Christmas period can seem like a chore, but it’s important for not only your gut health but your mental and physical health. Whether it’s a walk with loved ones (perhaps after Christmas lunch to avoid drifting into a food coma!), playing sport on the beach, or doing a family workout, your gut will thank you for it!

  1. Go Easy On Caffeine

Like alcohol, caffeine is a natural gut irritant, commonly triggering GI symptoms for some people – especially when consumed in excess. Over the Christmas break, ensure you limit your consumption to 1-3 cups of coffee or tea per day, and try to avoid caffeine after midday to ensure your sleep isn’t disrupted.

  1. Know Your Triggers

There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach, but foods that are common culprits for exacerbating GI symptoms include spicy foods, fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and large volumes of food. So, limiting your fat intake by choosing lean cuts of meat, reducing your consumption of creamy dishes, and not eating until you’re to the point of being ‘stuffed’ will all benefit your gut!

  1. Enjoy A Sleep In

Sleep is integral for gut health and can sometimes be lacking when there are recurrent Christmas and New Year activities. Ensure you’re still taking the time to prioritise sleep over the festive period by aiming for 7-9 hours per night.

Are you looking to take control and care of your gut health? CLICK the Get Started button to begin your nutrition journey.