When you start to overwhelm your body at Christmas, you're also going to be putting strain on your digestive system. And chances are, you've probably done some damage to your gut wall. Is that a big deal? In the short term, a little bit; in the long term, yes.
Your gut wall and your gut lining are one of the fastest repairing systems in the body. You actually shed the lining of your gut about every seven days, repair it, and make a new one.
But our body tends to work a bit like a photocopy machine. If we've done damage, then it starts to photocopy that damage. It becomes hard to repair the damage unless we're focusing on really repairing the gut wall and keeping our gut wall healthy.
Gluten and sugar can be harmful to the gut wall – and we tend to eat a lot of these at Christmas. If your gut wall is being broken down and there's an element of permeability, you could reach an early stage of leaky gut, which means there are macro particles getting into the bloodstream that shouldn't normally be there.
According to research, this is how autoimmune conditions begin. So, how do you repair the gut after doing damage to it?
The answer is by eating fermented foods and fermented beverages – things like yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefirs, kombucha and pickled vegetables. Even just fermented vegetables. Ideally, when you're having your Christmas lunch or Christmas dinner, add in some of these foods to make sure you're repairing your gut, ready for the year ahead.
Christmas is a time for us to connect with family – and that’s what is most important. Eat as consciously as you can, feel gratitude for the experience and take care of your body as you enter the New Year with a reinvigorated step.