Dealing With IBS This Holiday Season

Dealing With IBS This Holiday Season

Although the winter break brings lots of positives like good food and quality time with family, it also throws up some problems for those with IBS. Rich dinners, alcohol and stress at this time can all play havoc with digestion thus bringing on the likes of bloating, flatulence and stomach pains. However, to keep these issues at bay over the holiday period we’ve put together a few simple tips. 

 

Plan ahead

Although the holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation, at this time of year we actually tend to see our stress levels increase. After all, there’s often the expense of buying presents, the pressure of finding gifts and then all the added extras like decorating and food shopping that cause pressure to mount.

Although the exact cause of IBS  is unknown, it is thought that that stress could have an impact. This takes attention away from the digestive processes and as a result, symptoms are more likely to crop up.

In order to deal with stress over the holiday season it can be helpful to plan ahead. Now, I don’t mean you have to start stocking up on gifts in July however,  do ensure you take some time to plan the few weeks leading up to your time off. Make lots of ‘to do’ lists and take satisfaction in ticking them off each day!

Top tip: Although planning is a great way to minimize stress, it’s also important to incorporate some down time for yourself as well. So, put on your jammies, dig out a festive film (Elf anyone?) and curl up on the sofa for some well-needed relaxation.

 

Take time for a herbal tea

Herbal teas are one of the most beneficial drinks when you are suffering from IBS because they are gentle on the stomach. From raspberry leaf to lemon and ginger, there are lots of herbal tea options to choose from however, for me peppermint tea stands out. That’s because it soothes digestion thus reducing abdominal pain and gas, two common symptoms associated with IBS.  

 

If you’re watching any television specials as the snow falls outside, nursing a cup of this will keep you warm whilst allowing you to relax completely. Also, with the added benefits this drink brings to your digestion, peppermint tea should really be essential over the holiday season (and any other season for that matter!).

We have a wide verity of herbal teas here at Greenlife. 

 

 

 

Keep moving

We are all a little guilty of hibernating on the sofa over the winter break however, exercise is known to be beneficial for those with IBS so it’s important to keep moving at this time. 

How exactly does exercise help those with IBS? Well, exercise reduces stress and promotes a healthy lifestyle, both of which encourage a happy, healthy gut! 

Exercise classes and gyms are usually closed at this time of year but there’s nothing to stop you from going out for a walk, provided you’ve wrapped up in your winter layers first! Not only will this keep you active, it’s also a great way to spend time with family over the holidays.

Top tip: Stretching is another simple and relaxing activity that you can work around your holiday schedule! You can find lots of easy-to-follow exercise videos online, many of which focus just on stretching.

Take small portions

Alongside the Queen’s speech and chocolate, turkey dinners tend to feature prominently at this time of year. However, with a side of potatoes, vegetables, pigs in blankets and stuffing, these turkey dinners are notoriously large and so the digestive system finds them difficult to process. This makes it more likely that IBS symptoms will flare up thus causing you discomfort and, no doubt, frustration.

If you enjoy your turkey dinner then you don’t need to give it up completely however, to give your digestion a helping hand try to cut down your portion size. Also, eating small, regular portions is just another simple eating habit that can help keep your IBS in check!

Top tip: After this turkey dinner a box of chocolates usually starts to make its way around the living room however, for many IBS sufferers this is a no-go for more than one reason!  Not only does eating late at night upset digestion, the high sugar content of chocolate is also likely to contribute to an IBS flare up. As a an alternative, if you’re hosting why not put out some IBS-friendly snacks such as nuts, seeds and dried fruit?

Go easy on rich foods

I’ve mentioned that meals at this time of year are well-known for being quite large however, other winter foods such as mince pies and pastries also tend to be quite rich.  

If you know that these things will upset your digestion, it goes without saying that you should try to avoid them. However, fresh prawns, salmon and lean meat is all aplenty around about now and these may be a little gentler on the stomach.

Top tip: Brussels sprouts are a popular winter vegetable however, they are one of the worst offenders when it comes to bringing on IBS symptoms such as flatulence. Triggers differ from one person to the next but sweet potatoes or carrots may be kinder to your stomach.

Go easy on the alcohol

For those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy a break from work in December, alcohol often features prominently as we celebrate with friends and family however, yet again this is another thing that has the potential to cause an IBS flare up. 

 

Alcohol is harsh on the stomach whilst the bubbles in the likes of champagne and beer are likely to bring on gas problems. That’s not all though, alcohol can leave you feeling dehydrated which can increase the severity of issues like flatulence.

Top tip: Try alternating alcoholic drinks with a glass of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Try a probiotic

Probiotics can help those with IBS as they balance the levels of bacteria in the gut thus aiding the absorption of food. 

OptiBac’s Probiotics for every day contains 6 strains of bacteria which work together to improve gut health making it the perfect option for those with IBS. 

Keep Silicol gel nearby

IBS has a habit of popping up despite the individual taking steps such as those listed above. Therefore, it’s always handy to keep a treatment on hand should you suddenly find that your symptoms crop up whilst you’re opening presents and crackers!

Silicol gel is a great option here as it addresses a wide range of IBS symptoms including nausea, flatulence, stomach ache and diarrhoea. The product contains silicic acid which binds to harmful and toxic substances to facilitate their removal from the stomach.

Relax!

Finally, this time of year can be a troublesome for those with IBS symptoms but with the tips I’ve listed above, you should be able to manage the condition a little better. So, relax and enjoy all the good things that come at this time of year!

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