Since winter brings with it the continuous colder weather, we tend to become less active which can impact our immunity and gut health. So, how can we take care of our gut in winter?
Keep Yourself Warm
Our gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to temperature. A cold abdomen can upset our digestive function and cause adverse reactions such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Therefore, choosing warm drinks over cold ones and maintaining our core temperature by keeping our abdominal area warm may help reduce discomfort.
Get Yourself Moving
In winter although it is cold outside, we should keep ourselves active. Exercise is beneficial to enhance the function of digestive system. It can strengthen stomach muscle contractions that move food through digestive tract, promote the secretion of digestive juice, increase the depth and frequency of breathing, by improving the up and down movement of our diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Choosing from a variety of indoor sports or visiting a gym are good options.
Smoking harms the human body in many ways including the gastrointestinal tract. Smoking constricts the blood vessels in the stomach and reduces blood flow of the membrane layer of stomach, which may induce gastric disease. A moderate consumption of alcohol is also important as drinking large amounts can stimulate excessive secretion of gastric acid, which can erode and irritate our gastrointestinal lining causing pain and discomfort.
Choose What to Eat
Prioritise whole foods as fuel foods that will help keep your gut bacteria flourishing by including wholegrain bread, brown rice, oats, legumes, fruit and vegetable with skins on. In addition, a higher-fibre diet over a long period of time is a good way to help support a healthier digestive system. Individuals consuming high fibre diets are found less likely to suffer from constipation. To find out more about fibre and how it helps our digestive system, click here.
There are trillions of bacteria residing in our gastrointestinal tract. Together they help to maintain a balance in our intestinal tract. However, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, use of some antibiotics, smoking and drinking can reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in our gut and upset the balance. That’s why we need probiotics. Each bottle of Yakult contains 6.5 billion Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) strains that can reach our intestines alive, increase the number of beneficial bacteria there, to help maintain the balance in our digestive system. The LcS strain has also been shown to help improve stool consistency and encourage regular bowel movement.