We all know the month of December comes with Christmas parties and festivities with friends and family, and during this time, we often eat very differently and our daily routines are usually turned upside down. So, for those of you managing IBS or who generally have a more sensitive gut, we want to help you to find ways to manage your gut symptoms so that you can enjoy your holidays just a little bit more. This is why we have made a list of gut-loving tips for the festive season.
1. Avoid restricting or skipping meals
This is a number one rule for anyone to follow over the holiday period. We know that regular meals are so important for our gut and mental health for many different reasons. However, the main reason is that if we skip a meal, we are more likely to overindulge at the next meal, which can trigger symptoms of bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, which is not a very cheerful way to be spending your Christmas. You are much better off having 3 regular meals +/- snacks throughout the day, otherwise, 4-5 smaller meals can be beneficial for managing symptoms for those with diarrhoea predominant IBS.
2. Fancy a mocktail?
Although the festive time is great for winding down and relaxing with a nice cocktail, for those with sensitive guts or IBS, alcohol can be a major trigger for gastrointestinal symptoms. Alcohol is known to affect gastrointestinal tract motility, absorption, and permeability, which is why those with IBS can experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, "leaky gut" and diarrhoea as a result of drinking. However, if you are going to drink, the volume of drinks often does matter, as 4 or more drinks per day have been associated with increased risk of these symptoms, whilst moderate drinking of 2-3 drinks spread across the day or light drinking of 1 drink in a day is more likely to see fewer or no symptoms as a result. So our recommendation would be to drink lightly or in moderation and include other hydrating drinks throughout the day, such as soda water with fresh fruit slices and mint, a flavourful kombucha or you could try out a new mocktail recipe to share with your friends and family.