(BPT) - The holiday season is a time when we all tend to overindulge on our favorite family recipes and holiday treats. While our bodies may excuse the extra calories, our digestive system isn’t always as forgiving, so it’s important that we find ways to help maintain our digestive health throughout the season.
In fact, a recent survey from The Dannon Company shows that 93 percent of Americans agree that digestive health is closely linked to our overall well-being.(1) However, while many understand the importance of good digestive health, some may not always know the simple steps to keep their digestive system on track.
“The holiday season can be a stressful and indulgent time of year for many people,” says nutrition expert Keri Glassman, founder and president of Nutritious Life and author of the new book “The New You and Improved Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever.” “Luckily there are easy steps one can take to improve their digestive health, including foods like certain probiotic yogurts.”
To ensure you don’t miss out on any of the holiday festivities this year, Glassman suggests these simple steps to help improve your digestive health:
* Have a “happy hour” snack! Before heading out to a holiday party, enjoy a nutrient-dense snack about a half hour before you go. Snacks like low-fat or non-fat yogurt can offer probiotics, protein, and Vitamin D, plus it’s convenient and easy to eat on the run.
* Incorporate healthy bacteria into your diet: by seeking out products with specific benefits, such as certain yogurts containing probiotics, which can help to regulate the digestive system. Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics, illness, aging, and poor diet choices can often lead to an imbalance of your digestive tract bacteria.
* Work from the inside. The digestive system is where vitamins, nutrients and minerals are absorbed, so it’s important to take good care of it. Eat a variety of produce, stay hydrated and add probiotics (found in foods like certain yogurts) to your diet for your digestive health and overall wellbeing.
* Hydration, hydration, hydration: After overindulging, it is absolutely crucial to keep your body full of fluids. Water is one of those essential elements for a healthy digestive system. Adequate hydration gives your digestive system the proper moisture it needs to properly function.
* Stay active: Exercise can help create a healthy digestive environment by allowing food to move through the large intestine much quicker, which also decreases the amount of water lost in the stool. Intestinal muscles that contract during exercise also contribute to more efficient movement of stools.
To learn more about the benefits of probiotics and yogurt, consult with your health care provider or nutritionist.
(1) Edelman Berland Dannon Consumer Omnibus Survey, October 2012. Survey conducted by Edelman among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted from October 3, 2012 through October 13, 2012 using the field services of Opinionology.