Gut feeling we need to look after ourselves this Christmas

The gut on the big guy in the red suit suggests he has not always been eating right this year.

When his big day comes on December 25, there is unlikely to be much improvement.

But his isn’t the only gut nutritionists are concerned about at this time of year.

December is upon us and festive parties have begun – with plenty more to come.

The Dietitians Association of Australia says it is a great time to consider five ways to help keep it healthy this festive season. 

Yep, we know point four is problematic ...

Snack on fruit and nuts

Summer fruits, like bananas and nectarines, and nuts contain prebiotics, which encourage ‘good’ bacteria to grow in the gut. Make these your ‘go to’ snacks, and give them a starring role on share platters for festive-season celebrations with family and friends.

Boost your vegetables

Adding more fibre-rich vegetables and legumes to your day (including your Christmas day!) will keep your good gut bacteria thriving over the festive season. Try in-season asparagus and cabbage, which contain prebiotics, and lentils and peas, for a healthy dose of resistant starch.

Tap into probiotics

Give probiotic foods a try over the festive season. These ‘good’ bacteria can improve the balance of the gut microbiome. Natural sources include everyday foods like yoghurt, milk drinks like kefir, and other fermented foods, like kombucha, kimchi, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and sourdough bread.

Make water your drink of choice

Drinking plenty of water, particularly over the warmer months, is crucial for a healthy digestive system and to ward off constipation. Try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or some festive berries, to plain water.

Slow down and … chew

By simply slowing down meals and chewing food well (aim for around 15 chews per mouthful), you’ll be a step closer to a healthier gut (aka banishing belly bloat!). Chewing slowly gives your brain a chance to register when you’re full, so helps prevent overeating – and the digestive discomfort that goes with it. Make chewing slowly your Christmas dinner goal!