Now that the winter holiday season has passed, it’s time to begin to settle into the new year.
Naturally, there’s often a period of transition that occurs after the hustle and bustle that comes at the end of the previous year.
Within this transition, we have wonderful new memories of spending time with family and friends, new gifts to put to use, and New Year resolutions at the forefront of our minds.
On the other hand, our bodies may be feeling a little out of whack from the rich and fatty meals, increased consumption of sugar and alcohol, and general added stress and busyness of the holiday season.
For many of us, these changes can take a toll on our digestive systems.
Here are four ways to clean out and jumpstart your digestive system in the new year…
#1: Eat More Fiber.
You know that uncomfortable feeling–the one where you need to “go,” but can’t.
Feeling constipated holds us back from being fully relaxed and at peace in our bodies.
Fortunately, there’s one particularly effective ingredient that you can include in your diet if you want to avoid the issue.
Dietary fiber–found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes–softens and increases the weight and size of stool, which makes it easier to pass.
Incorporating more fiber in your diet is one useful way to achieve more regularity in your bowel movements.
#2: Chew More Mindfully.
Often, we find ourselves in a rush to finish a meal.
Whether it be that we’re late for work or attempting to get our kids to soccer practice on time, we may not slow down to properly chew and digest our food.
Unfortunately, this means increased occurrences of indigestion, heartburn, constipation, headache, and low energy.
If you mindfully train yourself to slow down and fully chew your food before swallowing, your body will signal the release of digestive enzymes in your stomach that can break down the food and convert it into energy.
#3: Consume More Probiotics.
Probiotics can be found naturally in your body, in foods such as yogurt and kimchi, and in supplements.
Essentially, they serve as live “good” bacteria and yeasts that maintain optimal gut health.
Taking probiotics in supplement form can be used to provide relief for symptoms of diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, and promote better digestive health overall.
However, many over-the-counter probiotics sold at drugstores don’t specifically support gut health in humans and can generally be low-quality.
Fortunately, my office carries strains of probiotics that do support healthy gut flora and are high-quality brands.
Feel free to give us a call at (704) 708-4404 to learn more or purchase these probiotics.
#4: Avoid Alcohol, Sugar, and Processed Foods.
There will always be those foods that we crave, even if we know our bodies will suffer later.
With the start of the new year, make an intention to limit or eliminate the following foods and beverages from your diet, especially if you want to avoid uncomfortable digestive system issue flare-ups:
- Alcohol: Alcohol can be a trigger for leaky gut syndrome and gut inflammation.
- Sugar: Sugar can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut, creating an imbalance that negatively affects the body’s metabolism and immune responses.
- Processed Foods: Processed foods are foods that have been chemically processed and made from refined ingredients and artificial substances. They’re usually high in sugar, which can increase the likelihood of developing insulin resistance, high triglycerides, high cholesterol levels, and increased fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity.
It can be difficult to try to eliminate all of the above at once–so try to phase them out or cut down on consumption of them slowly but surely.
Sugar negatively affects your body in more ways than one–learn about 5 ways sugar harms your health in this post.