We asked Dr Anthony Hobson, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Clinical Director of the Functional Gut Clinic, to give us his top tips on how to keep your gut working properly this Christmas. Read Dr Hobson's tips below...
The Expert Guide to Combating Over-Indulgence This Christmas
The expert guide to combating over-indulgence this Christmas...
Choose your mixers wisely
“Alcohol can have many undesirable effects on the gut - from causing acid reflux as it relaxes the muscles, to severe bloating due to high levels of sugars such as fructose - but Christmas usually involves lots of it!
If you are a spirit drinker then just opt for normal mixers instead of low calorie ones to avoid too many artificial sweeteners. You may think you’re being healthy by going low cal, but in fact artificial sweeteners used in these mixers contain difficult to digest carbohydrates that can leave you feeling unpleasant.”
Make your drinks last longer
“The amount we drink is also very important, as over indulgence in any form is also bad for the gut.
If I had to recommend a tipple to drink then I would suggest a good quality Italian dry white wine, as less additives are found in Italian wine, but made into a longer and less potent drink by mixing it with some good quality sparkling mineral water.”
Swap traditional sprouts for Asian vegetables and make proper gravy
“It's hard to avoid food at Christmas – it’s everywhere, especially on the big day itself. Replacing some of the more traditional vegetables, such as cauliflower, sprouts and leeks, with Asian vegetables like Bok Choi can help to reduce gas and bloating.
I’d also advise that you take the time to make proper gravy and don’t use packet powders, which contain ‘bloatagenic’ ingredients like dried onion or garlic.”
Replace Christmas cake with chocolate
“For dessert, maybe skip the dried fruit that is found in Christmas puddings, cake and mince pies and instead make a light chocolate cake nicely decorated with some healthy fruits such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.”
Go for a swim
“My favourite exercise to do when I feel a bit bloated is to go for a swim, not too vigorously, but long, stretching breaststrokes, elongating your body as much as possible as you do the strokes.
Start slowly to get your muscles warmed up and relaxed, then pick up the pace to get your heart pounding. 32 lengths should do the trick and help ease the bloat.”
Drink bone broth to reduce bloating in time for NYE
“If you have bloating issues and want to look good in a special dress or outfit then this can be tricky after a splurge at Christmas.
The Plain Diet we recommend, which comprises of chicken, fish, white rice, the inside of potatoes, water and no fruits or vegetables, can reduce gas and bloating and is manageable for a day or too. Longer term you can try a low FODMAP approach, or even a few days of bone broth which gives the bowel a bit of a rest.”
And last but definitely not least…take a high dose probiotic
“There are many types of bacteria in the gut that perform different functions, but an overindulgence of rich foods can upset the levels of bacteria.
Some types of bacteria help us to breakdown undigested foods in a controlled manner to promote gut health and to reduce unpleasant feelings such as bloating.
In the run up to an event or occasion like Christmas, I recommend taking a probiotic product, such as ProVen Probiotics Adult Acidophilus & Bifidus – 25 Billion to help keep the gut healthy and the levels of good and bad bacteria under control.”