A very full woman recovering from Christmas dinner in front of a Christmas tree

How to support gut health at Christmas

Health editor and qualified nutritionist, Tracey Raye offers her top tips for supporting your gut health over the Christmas period.

Did you know that about 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut? As such, whether you’re looking for ways to maintain your digestive health or simply support your immune system throughout the winter, these tips are for you.

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You don’t have to shy away from indulgence completely in order to feel good over the festive period. However, by putting some of these practices in place early on, you can provide some extra support for your gut health and hopefully avoid too much digestive discomfort.

Discover even more top tips for digestive health. Plus, check out our delicious gut-friendly recipes, including a range of plant-based options.

5 tips to support your gut health 

1. Hara hachi bu

Someone helping themselves to a big pile of green salad

This is one of my favourite health principles! It’s a Japanese saying that literally translates to ‘eat until you are 80% full’. Over-indulging can put stress on your system, so try to focus on enjoying the moment and the food, but eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. This allows your digestive system to work properly, so you’re less likely to feel uncomfortable.

Check out our Christmas portion planner to help you to manage your servings.

2. Eat your greens 

Green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are loaded with fibre – a food of choice for your beneficial gut bacteria. On top of this, broccoli contains a sulphur compound called sulforaphane, which supports balance in your gut and also your immune system – especially when there is inflammation present.

Discover our delicious vegan broccoli recipes collection.

3. Go easy on the alcohol

Someone refusing an alcoholic drink with the palm of their hand

Alcohol can affect the composition and diversity of the bacteria in your gut, which may contribute to inflammation, oxidative stress and imbalances of the gut microbiome. So, remember to pace yourself!

Why not try some low or alcohol-free drink options?

4. Don’t forget to exercise

Shot of a young woman wearing headphones and using a laptop while exercising at home

Exercise has actually been shown to improve microbial diversity and support immune and gut barrier function, so try to stay active, whether that means a quick walk around the park or trying an at-home workout.

Get inspired by our easy home workout ideas.

 5. Take time to relax 

A woman relaxes in a candle-lined bath tub with a glass of red wine.

Stress can not only trigger our ‘fight or flight’ response, which disrupts the gut microbiome, but it can also affect its ability to create anti-inflammatory short chain fatty acids. Make a habit of taking some time for you each day and utilise proven relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness.

Try some of our home mindfulness techniques.

Want to know more about gut health?

Top 10 probiotic foods to support your gut health
Does gut health affect weight?
How does diet affect gut health?
How to avoid indigestion
What to eat for… better digestion

How do you support your gut health? Comment below and let us know…


This article was published on 18 November 2020.

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