A Winter Guide to Maintaining Gut Health and Wellness

by Melissa Chichester

As the seasons change, we may find certain aspects of our health changing as well.

This includes gut health. In the winter season, post-holiday health, having fewer daylight hours, having less access to in-season foods, and staying indoors more throughout the day are all subtle factors that may impact digestion and gut health. 

Here are 11 actions you can take to support your gut throughout this season.

#1 Eat seasonal produce

Winter offers a rich variety of fruits and vegetables that can fortify your gut health. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets are not only delicious but also packed with fiber that promotes digestive well-being.

>>Nourish Your Body In Winter: A Guide to Finding and Choosing Fresh Produce 

#2 Consider probiotic foods and supplements

Probiotics are friendly microorganisms that help keep your digestive tract balanced.* Incorporate probiotic foods into your diet. Yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi provide beneficial bacteria that support your gut flora. 

>>3 Surprising Benefits of Taking Probiotics

#3 Warm up with herbal teas

Hydration is key to a healthy gut, and what better way to stay warm than with soothing herbal teas? Choose your favorite flavor or give ginger tea a try – ginger supports a healthy digestive system.

#4 Eat fiber-containing whole grains

Fiber supports a healthy gut.* Opt for whole grains like quinoa, barley, and oats to increase your fiber intake. These grains not only provide essential nutrients but also support regular bowel movements.

>>Four Questions and Answers About Fiber

#5 Stay hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration is crucial for optimal digestive function. Infuse your water with slices of citrus fruits, cucumber, and mint to add flavor while ensuring you meet your daily fluid intake.

#6 Consider digestive enzymes 

Digestive enzymes help break down the nutritional components of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to help support nutrient absorption.* Your body naturally makes digestive enzymes in the stomach, small intestines, and mouth. With age, the body may produce less of certain enzymes, which may affect the digestive process. 

>>Get to Know Three Digestive Enzymes: Papain, Bromelain, and Lactase

#7 Make homemade soups for nourishment

Craft wholesome soups with a variety of vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins. Soups not only provide warmth during the winter months but also deliver many nutrients that support gut health. 

#8 Exercise for digestive health

Don’t let the cold weather deter you from staying active. Engage in indoor exercises or bundle up for a brisk winter walk. Physical activity helps keep your gut moving. 

>>Shop probiotics

#9 Prioritize sleep 

Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being, including gut health. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a comfortable sleep environment to ensure your body has the time it needs for restoration.

#10 Don’t forget about prebiotics

Prebiotics are foods that assist with maintaining good gut bacteria.* Foods like garlic, onions, berries, leeks, and bananas contain prebiotic fibers that nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut. 

#11 Proactive stress management

Like any season, winter can bring about stress, which can impact gut health. Stresses that may occur in the winter include having less daylight, moving snow, and spending less time outdoors. Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, journaling, exercising, deep breathing, or yoga to minimize stress.

Incorporate these tips into your seasonal routine to not only support your digestive system but also foster a sense of well-being during the winter months.* 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.