Cheese, bread, cakes, desserts, alcohol and meat-loaded plates. There is no denying some of us overeat and overindulge during the holiday season.

While we tend to accept a little extra bloating and piling on a few extra kilos, diet changes over a long period can also impact our gut microbiome and lead to poor gut health.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help maintain a healthy gut during the food and booze onslaught that typically takes place over the Christmas-New Year period.

Below is some information about gut health, signs of an unhealthy gut and tips on how to help improve your gut health during the Christmas break.

Mitigate Bad Diet Habits With Healthy Choices

A diet high in fatty, sugary foods can promote bad bacteria forming inside the gut, which may cause shifts to your gut microbiome leading to poor gut health.

While it is hard to avoid the canapés, cheeses, cold meats and extra glass of wine, some conscious diet habits may help mitigate the less beneficial effects of the party season.

Eat A Healthy Breakfast

Don’t be tempted to skip meals, especially breakfast. Instead, start the day with a healthy breakfast such as avocado on wholegrain bread, a healthy bowl of porridge, whole grain cereal with a banana, a berry smoothie with greek yoghurt or an omelette with mushrooms, spinach and cheese

Foods rich in potassium such as bananas can help replenish electrolytes, while eggs provide choline and prebiotic foods such as yoghurt and whole grains are full of good bacteria. These foods may help support the immune system and promote digestive health.

Keep Hydrated At All Times

If you have had a big night out and had a few too many cocktails, the one thing your body will need is water to rehydrate. This is because dehydration causes the large intestine to soak up whatever water it can from the food you consumed. This causes the stool to harden resulting in pain and constipation.

It is important to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water at all times.

Staying Properly Hydrated Helps:

  • Digest foods
  • Regulate our bowel movements
  • Prevent constipation
  • Convert food and fuel to energy
  • Maintain a healthy blood level.
  • Balance electrolytes.

What Are The Key Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut

While an unhealthy diet high in processed foods, fats, alcohol and added sugars can lead to bad gut health, what are the signs of an unhealthy gut?

The most common signs of an unhealthy gut:

  1. Regular and persistent abdominal pain
  2. Sudden changes to your bowel movement (Sudden constipation or diarrhoea)
  3. Excessive flatulence (passing of gas)
  4. Bloating
  5. Unintentional weight loss or weight gain
  6. Fatigue, poor sleep or changes to your sleeping pattern
  7. Skin irritations such as eczema
  8. Heartburn
  9. Developing of food intolerances 

When To Get Your Gut Health Tested

Regardless of the time of the year, if you encounter any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you may benefit from getting your gut health tested. 

Gut health relates to the function and balance of bacteria that live inside various parts of our gastrointestinal tract. Gut microbiome testing is the process used to analyse the health of that bacteria and gut microbiota.

A recent report by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found more than half the nation experiences gut health problems. Additionally, the report said gut health is vital for keeping other body systems functioning optimally.

The right balance of bacteria is needed to break down the food we consume so nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Meaning maintaining your gut health during the holiday season is beneficial for your overall health.