Do you put up decor and sing carols as soon as the ‘ber months kick in? Do you also brave the seasonal gridlock to go to one potluck get-together after another? If yes, like most Pinoys, you go all-out to celebrate the season.
Indulging in some sinful treats on your noche buena table, usually in tandem with a few other party traditions is bad for your diet. Not only that, it can also adversely affect overall health.
If you are experiencing gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea, or even feeling anxious or depressed, it might be more than the post-holiday crash. These are likely symptoms of gut (digestive) imbalance.
Here are top holiday habits that harm the gut, earning a spot on our ‘naughty’ list:
- Drinking too merry (and many) (Alcohol)
- Estimated calories: Five ounces of wine and 12 ounces of beer may have over 100 calories, according to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) which offers a calorie calculator on its website based on almost every item on that bar list.
- Effect on your body: Alcohol has acetaldehyde which harms the brain, liver, and pancreas, and robs your body of essential nutrients. A single alcohol binge can cause bacteria to leak from the gut and increase levels of bacterial toxins in the blood, according to a study funded by the NIH. “Increased levels of these bacterial toxins, called endotoxins, were shown to affect the immune system, with the body producing more immune cells involved in fever, inflammation, and tissue destruction,” they found.
- How to balance back your body: Since your body will need to double its efforts on detoxification, increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods, especially those that contain Alpha Lipoic Acid or ALA (spinach, broccoli and tomato), Vitamin C (most citrus fruits especially guava, kiwi and papaya), and Turmeric (spice up your rice, soup, eggs, even smoothies and teas). Your road to recovery of lost nutrients should be paved with B Vitamins as well as good bacteria through Probiotics.
- Spreading cheer with ham and cheese (Meat, cold cuts, and cheese)
- Estimated calories: A 100-gram serving of ham and cheese spread has 245 calories, based on the Food Calorie Calculator of the USDA National Nutrient Database, which lets you choose from thousands of foods and brands, and check nutrition facts.
- Effect on your body: Both items are high on saturated fat and salt while cheese also contains yeast. Feasting regularly on meat and cheese changes the microbes living in the gut, according to a study published in the journal Nature, causing uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
- How to balance back your body: Aside from stepping away from the traditional cheese and tapas platter, opt for those that can aid repair of your intestinal lining. Natural foods as well as supplements containing L-Glutamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, and antioxidants (in the form of Vitamins A, C, and E) found in fresh fruits and vegetables are less threatening and can be just as filling.
- Smiling with a sweet tooth (Cakes, pastries and ice cream)
- Estimated calories: Most types and flavors of cakes, pastries and ice cream have over 200 calories.
- Effect on your body: Weight gain happened, for sure! Also, a surge in sugar alters the balance in your body, leading to more cravings and an insulin spike, making you anxious. It also strains the pancreas.
- How to balance back your body: Cut down on sugar in your diet and replace with high-fiber options such as chia seeds and prebiotics, or adding fruits such as berries and avocado in your breakfast oats. Nutrients like Chromium, ALA, and B-Vitamins are also said to help break down the sugar in your system.
- Christmas with carbs (Bread, rice and pasta)
- Estimated calories: Cooked white, long-grained rice has 130 grams, while both white bread and pasta have 100 grams according to the USDA.
- Effect on your body: These carb-rich refined grains (white flour, pasta, white rice) cause spikes in blood sugar, because the body breaks them down quickly and easily. Gluten sensitivity can also compound the problem. It has the same effect on patients whose gut swells because of inflammation, according to Dr. Paulita “Pinky” Baclig, M.D., a Health Optimization Medicine Consultant at BioBalance. When the gut becomes inflamed, it becomes more porous and open to absorbing harmful things such as bacteria, fungi, and other toxic elements.
- How to balance back your body: Consult a doctor to design a meal plan that addresses your gluten sensitivity. Get expert advice on foods to eat, cut down, or completely avoid.
- All I want for Christmas is caffeine (Coffee)
- Estimated calories: If you take it black, just 300 kcal but adding milk and sugar raises it between 700 to over 5,000.
- Effect on your body: Coffee is a diuretic and consequently, robs you of key minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron since it contains tannins.
- How to balance back your body: Consider switching to herbal tea. Another option is to take trace minerals for supplements but first see a doctor for testing.
Bingeing beyond that Christmas eve buffet may have messed with your gut health, which results to digestive upsets, low immunity, allergy attacks, and altered metabolism. Give your gut a fresh start through the BioBalance Optimal Gut C.A.R.E Program. [Click Here]