Holiday Celebrations and GI Health
The holiday season often means more time with family and friends, which also means more germs. With all the parties come the rich foods and decadent desserts, which are hard on your gastrointestinal system. An occasional holiday cocktail can also contribute to gut distress.
It’s no wonder, despite our best intentions, we occasionally wake up feeling a little sluggish during the holiday season.
But if you add these foods to your breakfast plate, you’ll feel better, faster.
After a party of indulgent foods, you’re processing lots of salt and sugars, and that can lead to dehydration. An 8-ounce glass of tomato juice provides many of the same electrolytes as sports drinks, and it can help rehydrate without any added or artificial sweeteners. Tomato juice can also be a good source of vitamin C for a little immune system boost.
This important source of antioxidants can give your immune system its best fighting chance against a little over-doing it at a celebration or gala. Fruits also contain prebiotics which can help restore health to an inflamed GI tract.
Although a serving of any fruit would be a good idea, a few stand out:
- If your stomach is hurting stick to bananas, which can help with nausea.
- If dehydration is the problem, choose watermelon because of its high water content.
- Cherries, although hard to track down during the holiday season, can actually provide melatonin which can help ensure good rest for your recuperating body.
- Animal studies suggest mangos might speed up alcohol metabolism, all while giving you an excellent dose of antioxidants.
While all nuts offer some healthy fat and good fiber, a single serving of Brazil nuts (6-8 nuts) has 1,000% of your daily selenium needs. Selenium is a mineral needed by the immune system. Some research shows that rich foods, high in sugar or salt, as well as alcohol can deplete certain minerals including selenium. Having a serving of Brazil nuts can help ensure your body has the selenium needed to help fight infection.
Quick Protein from Eggs
Food and drinks we associate with merry-making can also make managing blood sugar more challenging. Incorporating a quick protein like a hard-boiled or scrambled egg can help stabilize blood sugar.
Ginger is a Natural Remedy
High-fat and sugary foods found at parties can irritate your stomach, causing nausea. Ginger can aid in digestion, reduce inflammation and help fight the feeling of nausea. Try using real ginger to make a tea or as a flavoring in a soup or stir fry. You can also get the benefits in your diet through ginger candies, which often have less sugar, too.
Lauren Cornay is a registered dietitian with Avera Heart Hospital. Get more expert nutrition information from her.