The winter season is approaching, and no matter where you are located, it is important to understand how to maintain your digestive health throughout the cold months. Winter is a time when we stay inside and enjoy a warm meal. However, some of the main ingredients of these traditional meals may cause issues and ruin your fun. Below are some ways you can manage your gut health throughout the season.
Watch your food intake
Some of the most common meals during the winter season include foods that can create high amounts of gas. Beans and lentils, broccoli, and onions are all foods that can create lots of gas buildup in the digestive tract according to Dr. Roy Patankar, leading Gastroenterologist and Director of Zen Hospital in Mumbai, India, on timesnownews.com. Sweet and fatty foods can also create digestive issues, including constipation and bloating. Artificial sweeteners added to drinks like your morning coffee, are known to effects your gut microbiome (the bacteria, yeast, and viruses located in your gut, also known as flora).
An article from Digestive Health Centers of Texas adds that hot teas’ are a wonderful alternative to hot chocolates and other high calorie drinks.
“Hot tea is just as cozy as those calorie bombs, but you don’t have to worry about all of the milk and sugar wreaking havoc on your digestion,” the article reads. “Peppermint and ginger teas are known to aid in digestion but be careful with peppermint if you have acid reflux.”
These foods can happily stay on your winter menu, but consume in moderation to ensure proper gut health.
Maintain your sleep schedule
During winter months the lack of light may make it easier to sleep more. Children out of school may also opt to stay up longer into the night. It is well known that sleep allows the body to “heal” itself. During a deep sleep cycle, the body recuperates, this includes the gut. Patankar explains that a regular sleep cycle improves memory, mood, and gut health. Adversely, an irregular schedule can increase the risk of gut inflammation.
Keep up your exercise routine
A study from The Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust in Sutton, Surrey, UK showed that subjects exposed to bacteria commonly found in dirt had a dramatically elevated mood. Information from the American Gut Project adds that adults who spend more time out in nature have a more diverse gut microbiome. It can also reduce stress levels that can cause buildups of bad bacteria in the gut. These cause inflammation and other digestive issues.
Stick to the schedule for doctor’s appointments
Poor weather can make it difficult to attend your doctor’s appointments, but to maintain a high standard of health for you and your family it is critical that you continue to schedule and complete your routine doctor’s appointments. If you remain hesitant of returning to in-person visits, speak with your doctor about the potential of telehealth visits.
With the increased risk of colds, the flu and other diseases and infections in the winter, creating and completing your visits is one of the best ways to maintain your health in the colder months.