Leah Kaufman, RD, confirms it. “Whether you’re tempted by the office sweets, going to a holiday party, or contributing to the festivities by baking at home, this time of year is more difficult than any other to make gut-healthy food decisions," she says.
The first step toward balance is establishing a gut-support baseline with a high-quality probiotic like Renew Life's next-level formulas, which pack three times more good bacteria and strains than the leading probiotic you see in stores. "Probiotics should be a constant if you struggle with gastrointestinal disorders, but specifically they should be taken during the holidays when many of these inflammatory foods are more present in the diet," notes Kaufman.
From there, it's all about smart swaps and additions that will amp up your gut game without missing out on all the dishes you crave most.
Scroll down to find 6 ways to help boost your gut health during the holiday party craze.
In case you needed a reminder, it's still stuffing season—and that's still awesome. But for a gut-friendly tweak on your standard recipe, try making it with 100 percent whole wheat sourdough bread rather than the traditional white bread.
“Sourdough bread tends to be better for the GI tract as it is lower in Fructans—a sugar that creates gas and bloat,” says Kaufman. And TBH, sourdough bread packs more flavor than the standard stuff, so think of this as an upgrade.
Not that you need the reassurance, but to be crystal clear: This is absolutely not the time to forego dessert. But to make the whole affair a little easier on your digestive tract, Kaufman suggests using a small amount of organic maple syrup as sweetener rather than refined sugar, honey, or agave.
"Honey and agave are high in fructose, which acts the same as high fructose corn syrup by pulling water into the gut when consumed, and in turn causing gastrointestinal discomfort," she explains.
A spicy way to help improve your gut’s mood—without eliminating anything on your plate—is by adding turmeric. “Turmeric almond milk lattes are one of my favorite treats during the holidays,” says Kaufman. “Research shows that this spice can actually help prevent inflammation and has even shown signs of improvement for irritable bowel patients."
Just a word of warning: Skip the cow's milk, as this could promote more inflammation, says Kaufman. (As if you needed an excuse to stock up on all your favorite alt milks.)
There’s bound to be some killer cheese boards that are just calling your name this season—and the good news is, Kaufman says some dairy is shown to be okay for those with GI issues. *Cue happy dance.*
“I typically recommend as a rule of thumb to limit overall dairy if you have inflammatory symptoms, however cheeses such as Brie and mozzarella are lower in lactose and therefore easier on the stomach," she says.
When it comes to your protein, try and avoid red meats in excess. “Red meats can be very acidic and cause GI discomfort, such as reflux, if eaten too often,” Kaufman says.
So, why not incorporate some fish into your seasonal meals? “Aim to have proteins such as salmon or chilean sea bass that are higher in Omega-3s and have anti-inflammatory properties,” advises Kaufman.
You’re home for the holidays and that often means grabbing drinks with old friends—which is totally cool if you're selective about your beverage of choice (and refrain from texting that old flame from high school).
Kaufman suggests avoiding rum as it contains excess fructose that pulls water into the gut, and opting for wine or a vodka cocktail instead since they're both non-carbonated—AKA, won't give you mega bloat. Just avoid the sugary drinks, and it will be a sweet season indeed.
In partnership with Renew Life
Top Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio
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