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Protect Your Gut During Festive Season

Prepared by Nutritionist Chen Yin


Feasting is one of the very common ways of celebration during the festive season. However, heavy meals or overeating might lead to some digestion problems such as indigestion, bloating stomach, constipation etc. Wish to enjoy a big feast during the festive season but worry about your gut health? Here are some tips for you to keep your gut healthy during the feasting season.

 

The big feast might lead to constipation mainly due to the imbalanced microbiome in your gut. Therefore, ingesting both probiotics and prebiotics will help to prevent constipation by keeping your gut microbiome balanced and regulating bowel movements, better digestion, and maintaining a healthy immune system.

 

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that serve as functional foods or nutraceuticals as they provide health benefits beyond their nutritional value when consumed in sufficient amounts. It is most commonly found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, natto, kimchi and kombucha. It is also available as a dietary supplement that contains a combination of various strains such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Acidophilus.

 

Prebiotics are food sources for probiotics that induce the activity of beneficial bacteria to support healthy microbial diversity in the gastrointestinal tract. They are usually fibre from plant foods such as asparagus, onions, apples, bananas, beans and many more, that are indigestible by body but used by the microbiome to induce fermentation and growth of beneficial bacteria. You can take prebiotics as a fibre supplement, or simply eat a diet full of healthy fibre.

Any fibre supplement must be taken with 250ml or more of water. Fibre works by attracting water into the colon forming stool. Without enough water, stool can’t move effectively through the colon and it gets stuck which leads to constipation. Keeping yourself hydrated each day is key to forming stool that’s the right consistency to move easily through your colon regularly. Set alarm on your phone or use water bottle that lights up to act as a reminder to keep yourself hydrated.

 

Another factor that contributes to a healthy gut is digestive enzymes. They are produced naturally in our body which help to break down the food we eat into smaller, absorbable forms and subsequently absorb vital nutrients that we need to stay healthy. They also can be obtained through the foods and plants we eat such as vegetables, fruit and herbs, and these enzymes play a different role. Supplementing with digestive enzymes which contain amylase, lipase, and protease can better your digestion and improve absorption of nutrients from food. Some digestive enzymes also contain hydrochloric acid or HCL, to further help with digestion.

 

A Healthy Gut, A Happy You. Feast while keeping your gut healthy!

 

Reference

  1. Islam SU. Clinical Uses of Probiotics. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(5).
  2. Priscilla Moura ROLIM. Development of Prebiotic Food Products and Health Benefits. Food Sci. Technol, Campinas, 35(1): 3-10, Jan.-Mar. 2015. DDOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-457X.6546
  3. Lawrence L., Taylor R., Jyoti K., Walter R. Chronic Constipation: An Evidence-Based Review. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine Jul 2011, 24 (4) 436-451; DOI:10.3122/jabfm.2011.04.100272
  4. Ianiro, Gianluca, et al. “Digestive Enzyme Supplementation in Gastrointestinal Diseases.” Current Drug Metabolism, vol. 17, no. 2, 2016, pp. 187–193., doi:10.2174/138920021702160114150137

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