The holidays are nearly upon us, and in a season filled with sugar, alcohol and comfort food, it’s important to find ways to support your health! Today we’re sharing simple ways to nourish your microbiome, so you can feel your best over the coming months.
10 tips to protect your immune system, support your gut health, and reduce inflammation during the holidays:
- Eat a healthy diet - One of the best ways to support your gut health is to start with the food you eat. By adding in plenty of organic, anti-inflammatory foods, you can provide the bacteria in your large intestine dietary fiber to nourish your microbiome. A few great options to try are yogurt, kefir, kimchi, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, and organic whole grains.
- Drink mindfully - When celebration’s in the air, there’s usually plenty of alcohol. And while enjoying a couple drinks might contribute to your holiday cheer, it can also come with inflammation, poor sleep and low energy. Why not try swapping gut-friendly kombucha for wine?
- Exercise - Depending on where you live, it can be tough to get outside as the weather gets colder. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy indoor movement at home! From yoga, to online fitness videos, to QiGong to light stretching throughout the day, there is plenty you can do to incorporate daily movement, which not only aids digestion and mood levels, but can also reduce stress and increase energy.
- Simplify your plans - Another way to keep stress at bay? Slow down and savor the season. By simplifying your schedule and saying “no” to plans when you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, you’ll be doing your immune system a big favor (and your gut will thank you). There’s always a long to-do list around this time of year, but make sure you give yourself permission to slow down, be present, and prioritize self-care as well.
- Get quality sleep - One of the most essential components of your health is getting enough quality sleep. It contributes to greater longevity, energy, and brain function, and reduces the risk for chronic disease and other health issues. Our gut bacteria have a circadian clock and they suffer when we don’t get enough sleep or we go to bed too late. With the potential for late nights and busy weekends this season, be sure to get enough shut-eye in order to feel your best!
- Hydrate - Another foundational element of your health? Staying hydrated! And this is particularly important to ensure throughout the holidays when you’re more likely to be drinking more than usual, as alcohol can lead to dehydration. Be careful about the source of your water: public tap water has a lot of chlorine that can affect your gut, and beware of plastic bottles. Most spring water comes in plastic bottles. Drinking enough spring water (which retains minerals, but chlorine is filtered out) helps your digestive tract do its job properly, which is also helpful when you’re eating foods that are richer and heavier than usual.
- Daily gratitude ritual - Studies have shown a distinct connection between positive thinking and physical and psychological health, and practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to cultivate positive thinking. Proactively fortifying a positive mindset is important all year long, but particularly during the holiday season which may bring a roller coaster of emotions, from joy and happiness to sorrow or stress. Having a daily grounding ritual to be in the present moment and journal or meditate on what you’re grateful for is a simple way to make positive thinking a habit.
- Get your vitamin D - As mentioned above, it can be tougher to get outside as the days get shorter and colder. However vitamin D is essential for avoiding extreme mood swings and keeping your energy levels up. Just a short stroll around the block can be a game-changer, and if you’re not able to get outside as much as you’d like, consider a vitamin D supplement.
- Don’t forget vitamin B - Another one to pay attention to is your vitamin B levels, particularly B1 and B2! Many symptoms of a thiamine (B1) deficiency are similar to the symptoms of Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, including fatigue, irritability, nausea, poor memory and muscle weakness. If you find yourself struggling with any of these symptoms in the upcoming months, try adding foods into your diet that are high in thiamine including wheat germ, macadamia nuts, and brown rice, or consider supplementing, in order to maintain immunity and homeostasis in the gut. B vitamins are made by gut bacteria, so probiotics can also be helpful.
- Take Sugar Shift: We would be remiss to skip this step! One of the easiest ways you can support your gut health, and thus your overall health, is by taking a daily probiotic. A targeted formula like Sugar Shift is ideal this time of year, since it might be difficult to completely avoid sugar. And by shifting the way your body metabolizes sugar, you can avoid many negative effects while reducing your cravings, improving your digestive health, and restoring bowel regularity.
As we move into the full swing of the coming season, we hope you feel as happy and healthy as possible. Keep these 10 tips handy, and above all be sure to listen to your body and honor your needs, even on the busiest of days. This is a great time to give yourself the gift of great health and focus on feeling your very best, and the microbiome is one of the simplest, most effective places to start. Click here to stock up on Sugar Shift for the holiday season!
Martha Carlin, is a “Citizen Scientist”, systems thinker, wife of Parkinson’s warrior, John Carlin, and founder of The BioCollective , a microbiome company expanding the reach of science and BiotiQuest, the first of it’s kind probiotic line. Since John’s diagnosis in 2002, Martha began learning the science of agriculture, nutrition, environment, infectious disease, Parkinson’s pathology and much more. In 2014, when the first research was published showing a connection between the gut bacteria and the two phenotypes of Parkinson’s, Martha quit her former career as a business turnaround expert and founded The BioCollective to accelerate the discovery of the impact of gut health on all human disease. Martha was a speaker at the White House 2016 Microbiome Initiative launch, challenging the scientific community to “think in a broader context”. Her systems thinking background and experience has led to collaborations across the scientific spectrum from neuroscience to engineering to infectious disease. She is a respected out of the box problem solver in the microbiome field and brings a unique perspective to helping others understand the connections from the soil to the food to our guts and our brains.
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