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Why take a probiotic this Christmas?
Posted 3 years ago by Jo
Christmas is a wonderful time of year when people allow themselves to relax over their food choices, catch up with family and friends over mealtimes and enjoy traditional festive fayre. Unfortunately the Christmas classics can pose problems for our digestive system, and we are often left feeling uncomfortable and bloated, only capable of collapsing on the sofa!
In order to help relieve your digestive discomfort, I would recommend adding probiotics to your Christmas list this year. Probiotics can be hugely helpful in the battle against the festive bloat, and you may find they keep you in better spirits and able to enjoy a bloat-free Christmas.
Many of us feel bloated, lethargic and uncomfortable after festive indulgences
What causes bloating at Christmas?
Our intake of unfamiliar foods and those that are harder to digest tends to soar around Christmas time, with an increased focus on refined carbohydrates and sugary foods such as mince pies, Christmas cake, sweets & chocolates.
Chocolate truffles, sugared almonds and mince pies and are all high on the agenda at Christmas time, but these types of foods are also packed full of sugar. Sugar can cause bloating, as well as provide a food source for the bad bacteria, exacerbating bloating and troublesome tummies.
Seasonal vegetables such as brussels sprouts have developed a reputation for some as gassy foods due to their high sulphur content. They can be helpful for supporting your liver at this time of year but can cause also potential problems with wind and bloating. If flatulence is a problem for you, you make like to read more here.
We all tend to indulge a bit more over the festive period, and are likely to drink more alcohol. Whether you enjoy drinking mulled wine, adding a scoop of brandy butter to your mince pie or treating yourself to glass of post-dinner port, alcohol can have a negative impact on your gut bacteria. Most of us are aware of the dehydrating effect of drinking too much alcohol, and this can further contribute to digestive troubles by slowing down motility.
Click here to read more information about causes of bloating.
Christmas food and alcohol can cause bloating & digestive problems
Tips to reduce bloating at Christmas
To help avoid digestive discomfort and bloating this festive period, perhaps try starting the day with a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon - this can help to stimulate digestive enzymes and improve digestion, particularly when consuming rich food. After meals, try drinking herbal teas such as peppermint and fennel which act to soothe the digestive system and act as a digestion aid, helping to reduce bloating.
If you are entertaining guests and serving canapes, try to avoid ones that may trigger bloating such as those in pastry cases. Pastry is usually made flour which can cause digestive problems and lead to bloating. If you are going out to eat, or to a party, it can be a good idea to have a generous snack of fruit with a handful of nuts, some oatcakes with houmous or half an avocado to help fill the gap and reduce your the temptation to snack on more unhealthy and difficult to digest foods.
During the festivities, try to make sure you enjoy plenty of vegetables as well as treating yourself to the sugary treats. Vegetables are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre to support your digestive system, reduce constipation and help to keep you regular.
You can read about other Natural Remedies for bloating here.
How can probiotics help to reduce bloating?
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that probiotics can provide benefits for our digestion. Taking a probiotic can positively support gut motility and help to maintain regularity. A combination of prebiotics and probiotics can be particularly effective as the prebiotics act as a food source for the good bacteria, encouraging their colonisation in the intestine.
Probiotics can help us to digest our food by increasing digestive enzymes, therefore improving the body’s digestion of more tricky to digest foods and those unfamiliar festive foods.
Probiotics may help to reduce bloating over the festive period
It is known that a good balance of probiotics over pathogens in the body is essential for health digestion. Topping up your system with good bacteria (probiotics) can help to correct this balance, helping to eliminate waste gases and reduce bloating naturally. There is increasing evidence to support the use of a probiotic to help with digestive symptoms. For example, a 2006 study reported that the use of a synbiotic supplement (a combined prebiotic and probiotic) can significantly reduce bloating and abdominal pain, as well as increase stool frequency.
So don’t let a bloated tummy ruin your celebrations this Christmas. Take control of your health and support your digestive system with good bacteria over the festive period.
You may like to try OptiBac Probiotics For every day EXTRA Strength and One week flat to help reduce bloating and improve digestion, both of which have clinical trials on the strains of bacteria they contain, with a proven health benefit. For a flat stomach was also featured in last year's Yoga magazine all about Christmas, which you can read about here.
Reference: Colecchia A, Vestito A et al. Effect of a symbiotic preparation on the clinical manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation-variant. Results of an open, uncontrolled multicenter study. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2006 Dec;52(4):349-58.
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