By Kate Save, CEO and Founder of Be Fit Food
It’s normal for people to put their health goals on hold until the new year so they can really enjoy the holiday season. However, we often forget that all of the eating, drinking and overindulging in the sun can slow our digestive system down in the moment, and lead to a number of digestive problems down the track.
Whilst it may not sound like a lot of fun, it’s very important that we consider taking steps to keep our digestive system running smoothly to avoid bloating and any other digestive issues – like irritable bowel syndrome – from creeping up on us and ruining our summer fun.
This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves. Instead, there are a number of simple things you can do to keep your digestive system healthy this summer.
- Stay Hydrated
For good digestive health it’s essential to stay hydrated. Approximately 80 percent of hydration comes from liquids, while 20 percent comes from foods. With that, aim to drink between 2 to 2.5 litres of water a day to keep you hydrated. Also, reach for water dense foods like watermelon, celery, cucumbers and strawberries if you’re looking for a snack.
- Choose your fats carefully
It won’t come as surprise that foods that contain high levels of fat can be more difficult to digest, leading to a more sluggish digestive system. Despite this, we do need to eat healthy fat to maintain a balanced diet. This can be done by increasing your intake of healthy, protein rich fats including fish and chicken, and reducing saturated fats like butter, cheese and processed foods.
Remember that any fats consumed in excess can cause weight gain (even the healthy ones) , so you should still eat them sparingly and pair these healthy fats with fibre-rich vegetables to help you digest them properly.
- Reduce Snacking
Whilst eating small snacks such as fruit and nuts can help to reduce hunger and keep you fuller in between meals, it can be advantageous for those suffering from digestive difficulties to skip the snacking for a while, especially during the holiday period when we tend to eat larger, richer portions of food. Not only can snacking help to lower calorie intake associated with weight gain, but it can also help in the lowering of saturated fat consumption, which can leave many feeling lethargic and unwell.
- Exercise Regularly
Given the whirlwind of a year we have experienced, it can be very tempting to avoid exercise and regularly moving our bodies in favour of social interaction. However, regular exercise (even gentle walking) can help to promote optimum gut health by encouraging blood flow and allowing for food to move along the digestive tract with more ease.
- Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can be tricky for those having to navigate digestive issues, especially when they increase their intake during the summer period. However tempting it might be to manage, it’s worth remembering that alcohol can put a strain on your digestive tract. Instead of giving it up altogether, you could try to alternate with non-alcoholic beverages such as infused water or iced tea.
For those who suffer regularly with digestive problems, these tips might not be enough to sooth the discomfort and in which case it may need to be addressed through other means. There are a number of great products available in pharmacy to aid indigestion and provide relief. A good example is Chemists’ Own’s IBS Support Digestive Drops. Speak to your health professional to see if this product is right for you.
Our digestive system plays a major role not only in our gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of our entire body – so it’s imperative that we all take steps to look after ourselves so we don’t experience the pain and discomfort associated with digestive problems. With that said, it’s inevitable that our routines will be affected in some way over the holidays and this is perfectly fine. After all, this is a time for enjoying the company of family and friends so most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself.
This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist talk to your health professional.
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