Gut health during the holidays

The holiday season is filled with celebrations and family reunions. However, in addition to the joy of being with loved ones and friends, these gatherings are also usually filled with excessive amounts of food and drink. This can lead to overeating and harm your health, especially your gastrointestinal (GI) system.

Levi Teigen, assistant professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and a faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s Microbiotic Therapy Program, is available for comment on the impact of consuming excessive amounts of unhealthy food and drink. on your gut health this holiday season.

Levi Teigen, Ph.D, RD

On unhealthy foods:

“The holiday season is associated with overeating. The biggest negative impact on your gut health comes from the larger portions. The type of food doesn’t necessarily matter, it’s the aspect of overeating that matters most. It can produce a variety of symptoms such as gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. ”

“However, the types of foods you eat also make a difference. People are likely to eat more fatty foods or concentrated sweets. Higher fats can be difficult for our body to digest. Ditto for candies filled with sugar.

On liquid and food interactions:

“Foods high in fat, processed foods, and sweets or concentrated sugars can certainly cause bowel problems. Sugary drinks such as sodas, diet sodas, juices and alcohol are also responsible for gastrointestinal problems. The same goes for excessive amounts of caffeine.

“Besides gastrointestinal irritation, excess can potentially lead to brain fog, general discomfort and sleep problems. While bingeing is limited to the holiday season, there isn’t a major worry about the long-term effects on your body as long as you get back on track.

To stay in good health :

“The key is moderation, moderation, moderation. Too much of anything is never good. This certainly applies to eating and drinking while on vacation. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge yourself, just try to do it in moderation.

“Try to save certain foods high in soluble fiber such as oatmeal, fruits (bananas or berries), cooked vegetables (carrots, potatoes or squash), nuts or nut butters and yogurt with fruit or adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds or chia seeds to your diet.

“It is also very important to stay active. It can help burn calories and make regular bowel movements easier. Go to the gym, go for a walk, or go out with your family, friends and loved ones.

Levi Teigen, Ph.D., RD, has worked as a clinical dietitian at facilities across the United States. His current research efforts are aimed at optimizing patient care and outcomes through improved clinical nutrition care. Teigen’s current research is focused on the nutritional assessment and care of people with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and patient support after a gut microbiota transplant.

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