Here at microbz we are huge advocates for a well-rounded approach to health and wellbeing. As well as all of the scientific and nutritional things we can do to look after our gut health, let us not forget the powerful role of what's going on inside our minds: our emotional state, relaxation and JOY!
The festive period is often a time of switching off, indulging and relaxing, and so it should be. We are definitely not going to advise you to avoid mince pies and go on a 5k every day. However there are a few mindful ways we can approach the holidays which will help the good bacteria in your system not get completely obliterated. Here's our round-up of 7 simple ways to not neglect your gut microbes this Christmas:
1 Don't hibernate!
As tempting as it is to snuggle down on the sofa, chocolates in hand in front of Home Alone, just make sure that you get plenty of fresh air throughout the holidays too! When you go outside, tiny microbes in the fresh air will colonise your system and contribute to the healthy variety of microbes in your digestive system. As well as the microbial additions, moving your body, exposure to vitamin D and sunlight are all proven to contribute enormously to your overall mental and physical wellbeing. Did you know that 'forward ambulation' aka walking can repress the amygdala in your brain, and help to lower stress and anxiety?
2 Enjoy a drink but don't go overboard on alcohol
A warming glass of mulled wine can be good for the soul at this time of year, but be wary of the Christmas time excuse. Alcohol causes toxic damage to all sorts of areas of your body, not least the gut microbes in your digestive system, and some studies show it negatively impacts the all important gut-brain connection. There are so many fantastic alcohol free alternatives available if you want to ease up this year. If you do end up having a lot of 'lemonade' this party season, you might benefit from some liver love with microbz detox (previously Bio Live Liver).
3 Take your daily probiotics
This is such an easy-win! Particularly this time of year when your gut health might be taking a bit of a dip, topping up the 'good guys' directly is a no-brainer! Every morning continue to take your probiotics and top your system up with live bacteria delivered directly into your system. Our probiotics range also comes with the added benefits of herbs and minerals to give you an extra little boost. We recommend our award-winning microbz revive (previously Bio Live Revive), your gut guardian. It is designed to soothe and treat inflammation anywhere along the digestive system.
Don't mistake relaxation for inactivity. You may well be taking some time away from intense workouts, and actually we would say that it's good to be aware of the seasons and perhaps take a more restful, slower pace to life during the winter months. Moving your body, even in a low-impact way such as yoga, pilates or nice wintery walks will help keep your system flowing, your joints lubricated, and your mind fresh. Check out Leigh Linton for some movement inspiration. Check out this blog exploring the ways in which you move can impact your gut health.
5 Relax and unwind
Now that we can do! One of the most overlooked aspects of gut health, and arguably one of the more challenging ones to address is stress. Ironically, the festive period can actually cause a lot of stress with all of the planning, expenses and family dynamics to navigate. However, if you can embrace this time of year, the colder slower season and take some time away from work and routines then it can do wonders for your mental health and, your gut health. High stress levels and stress hormones such as cortisol can cause inflammation in the body and according to this study 'high-stress lifestyles promote gut bacterial imbalances, called dysbiosis, as well as low diversity, referring to a smaller count and uneven distribution of bacterial species.' Try de-stressing by socialising with loved ones, enjoying festive events, watching your favourite films, cooking, walking and maybe even trying a new hobby like yoga, knitting or enjoying a new book. Oooh we can't wait!
6 Get some greens in
We know that healthy gut bacteria thrive on a variety of natural, fresh food. Often, the festive period can be when the processed foods start to make an appearance more than usual. We're looking at you, Pringles, chocolates and party food! This time of year is actually fantastic for all sorts of fruits and vegetables, and can be a great opportunity to get some different types of foods on your plate that you might not ordinarily. Some great seasonal foods include; brussel sprouts (do you love or hate them?), nuts, plums, carrots, parsnips, chestnuts, cranberries, clementines and dates. Sounds pretty good to us! Check out this delicious looking gut-healthy recipe: Parnsip, broccoli and goats cheese bake.
7 Join the Gut Health Reboot
And finally, once you've made it through the festive period, it can feel SO good to embrace the 'new year' feeling of getting reset and ready for the year ahead. We have put together a 90 day Gut Reboot to help you get back on track, and start the new year off on the right foot, restoring your gut health. By the end of 90 days you'll feel lighter, brighter, focused and ready to take on whatever the year has in store.