Follow your gut this festive season

An abundance of colour reflects a variety of nutrients.
A healthy gut is key in helping you feel great over the festive season. When our digestive system doesn’t operate optimally, it can lead to decreased energy, discomfort and a weak immune system.

Digestive issues are quite common, but since everyone’s mix of intestinal bacteria is different, some people may experience slight discomfort, while others have serious ailments that requires a visit to the doctor or specialist.

Meghan Werner, owner of kombucha brand, Theonista, struggled with digestive distress, poor stress management, and chronic immune system issues.
“I had digestive issues for many years and found that drinking kombucha really improved my symptoms dramatically,” says Meghan .

If your gut issues usually surface around the festive period, it’s most likely caused by your lifestyle and food choices during this time. While it may not be serious or painful, it can still cause discomfort and put a damper on your festive mood. To avoid this state, referred to as “jingle bowels”, here are some tips on how to keep your gut flora balanced.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

Although you might eat fruit and vegetables as part of your usual diet, South African festive season dishes usually includes more meat and sweet treats. Make sure you remember to include fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, apples and bananas to your festive food consumption as they aid digestion. You might even want to consider eating a plant-based meal for one or two days per week.

Add whole grains to your diet

Whole grains such as oats, whole rye and brown rice are great sources of fibre and helps to produce good bacteria for your gut. They also help to keep you full for longer, which can fight the urge to snack on  unhealthy treats during the festive period.

Start doing yoga as part of your exercise routine

Yoga can help alleviate symptoms of an unhealthy gut such as bloating, digestive pain and discomfort. It assists by eliminating toxins, increases oxygen flow and ultimately helps to make you feel lighter and calmer. It can also be done anywhere and at any time, which helps when you’re travelling during the summer months.

Drink plenty of water

We all know that staying hydrated is important for our overall health. While filtered water is healthy, it’s definitely not as delicious as cocktails. Try increasing your water consumption by pouring your water into a decanter and adding flavours such as mint or cucumber for a refreshing taste.

Fermented foods and beverages

Add fermented foods and beverages to your diet, such as kimchi or kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented beverage with a rich source of probiotics that is relatively easy to find in stores these days. It’s crucial to make sure that you select top quality brands as many kombucha and kefir brands have high sugar contents from incomplete fermentation or added fruit juice. Properly fermented kombucha without excessive sugar or fruit juice has many health benefits, including aiding digestion, assisting with cognitive function and boosting immunity.